The new Listen Out Festival held the last of its inaugural dates over the weekend at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne on Saturday and Brisbane’s Southbank on Sunday.
Thousands turned out to catch the new music festival addition (to replace the long-running Parklife) with a lineup featuring British rising stars Disclosure, AlunaGeorge, and producer-performers TNGHT, Just Blaze, and Touch Sensitive.
Following on from last weekend’s Sydney leg in which Police arrested 94 in drugs-related charges while Brooklyn rapper Azealia Banks stormed off stage just 15 minutes into her set, the Melbourne leg held a particular sense of deja vu.
Victorian police targeted punters with sniffer dog units and seized illicit drugs including ecstasy, amphetamines, cocaine, and prescription drugs, as well as $10,000 worth of MDMA, according to Police reports. Officers made just 13 arrests, including charging a 28-year-old Brighton man for trafficking a “drug of dependence.” He has been bailed and is to appear in court at a later date.
“It continues to concern us that, despite the dangers, young people risk their health by using illegal substances,” said Senior Sergeant Mark Pilkington. “These drugs are extremely dangerous. They are manufactured by criminals and users have no way of knowing what they’re actually ingesting or the real risks involved.”
Senior Sgt Pilkington noted that Victorian forces would continue enforcing a heavy presence at music events. “Police will continue to conduct these operations across the state to target drug traffickers and reduce the impact of drugs in the community,” he said.
Perhaps of greater controversy to festival attendees was Brooklyn rapper Azealia Banks cutting her set brutally short.
The 22-year-old was only just beginning her Saturday evening slot, with a performance of new track ‘ATM Jam’, when a punter threw a beer can in Banks’ direction. The femcee instantly threw her microphone to the stage floor and abandoned the set just minutes after arriving onstage, as the below fan footage demonstrates.
There was already a tense question mark hovering over Azealia Banks’ Melbourne appearance following a similar storm-off at the Sydney leg the previous weekend, walking off stage 15 minutes into her set in response to trash being thrown onstage, with the backlash reminiscent of her thrifty 25 minute performance at Splendour In The Grass 2012.
Listen Out promoters, Fuzzy Entertainment, issued a statement following the incident that read:
Azealia Banks was forced to cut her set short last night at the Listen Out Festival in Melbourne on 5th October 2013. This was as a result of a member of the audience throwing a full can on beer at her on stage. The incident made Azealia and her stage crew feel unsafe. Banks would like to apologise to those fans in the audience whose experience was affected by the behaviour of one individual.”
Meanwhile, audience reports from the festival note that Banks wasn’t the only victim of aggressive punters, with projectiles also thrown during other performances, including the set from Spanish electronic musician John Talabot.
Following the incident, Azealia Banks wrote on twitter: “Sorry to all the festival-goers in Melbourne !!!!! See ya tomorrow in Brisbane !!!!!”, before following up with: “Going for sushi ❤” and “had a wonderful night off in Melbourne!”
Banks’ set at the Brisbane leg on Sunday was free of airborne beer cans, and thus walk-offs, as the rapper herself tweeted:
K. Brisbane went smoothly. No one threw any cans at my head. I'm gonna read my Cat encyclopedia, have a wine and go to sleep.
— AZEALIA BANKS (@AZEALIABANKS) October 6, 2013
Check out our Listen Out 2013 coverage below.