Over the past few years, to varying degrees each time, Foreshore has worked at drawing two very distinct crowds. 2011 brought artists such as Gotye and Architecture In Helsinki together with the likes of Avicii and Afrojack, and to the surprise of many – it worked. Really well. Foreshore stepped out onto a tightrope, and over the course of the day, there was barely a wobble.

So it was bittersweet to see Foreshore 2012 put a few feet wrong. A host of general slip-ups and a lack of balance marred what should have been by all accounts an excellent event, with many talented acts gracing the stages.

Gates were set to open at 11am: the same time that both Bombaclat and SAFIA were to begin their sets. Unfortunately for those who lined up early, gates were delayed 10 to 15 minutes, almost halving their sets for those at the front of the line.

As a result, it was RÜFÜS that opened the Kicks stage for many of the early arrivers.

Their sweet, pulsing brand of withdrawn dance music gradually drew more and more listeners in, and compared to their brilliant Blue EP, they were true to form.

Single “This Summer” brought more curious people closer to the stage, leaving most either watching from under trees, or dancing in the sun.

US duo The Knocks were next to grace the stage, but unfortunately due to technical issues, their set was late to start, severely shortening yet another appearance. However, they were very apologetic, and their performance more than made up for it.

The duo, armed with some synths and a couple of portable percussion sets, brought their remixes to life, and were a joy to watch. The memorable “I got soul, but I’m not a soldier” refrain from The Killers’ “All These Things That I’ve Done” featured at one point, and their original song “Blackout” shone. Dancing around during the middle of the day never proved to be so much fun.Despite this, flat for Ball Park Music is almost double the party most other bands bring…

Renowned Australian indie-popsters Ball Park Music took to the stage next, but seemed a little flat on their feet. Frontman Sam Cromack shortly revealed it was because they were running on two hours sleep.

Despite this, flat for Ball Park Music is almost double the party most other bands bring, and much to the crowd’s explosive delight, they delivered a great (but disappointingly short) set in the mid-day sun with hits like “Surrender” and “All I Want Is You”.

Example leapt on stage next, and he exuded confidence. Mixing songs from his new album The Evolution of Man with well-established favourites like “Kickstarts” and “Stay Awake”, he managed to keep the crowd energetic in the ridiculous heat.

His set suffered only from what felt like an overreliance on crowd interaction, which almost began to feel forced.

Additionally, he would have been better suited to an evening slot, but with Stereosonic obligations that was not possible. Outside of that, his performance was outstanding, and everything you’d expect from such a talented musician.

Calvin Harris began his set with “I’m Not Alone”, removing the vocal refrain in lieu of more party-suitable beats, and followed it with “You Used To Hold Me”.

Harris himself stood atop a platform, with a light show that was entertaining, but would have looked much more impressive at night. Later in his 90 minute set, came “We’ll Be Coming Back”, Harris’ collaboration with Example, but the artist himself was nowhere to be found – a missed opportunity.

The man who has been single-handedly climbing up through the Australian electronic scene, Flume, took to the HiTop tent in the late afternoon, and brought things back a tiny notch.

His warped hooks shone as his dance music brought smiles to the completely packed tent. The Rubens continued this trend back at the Kicks stage, slowing things down a little after Tiësto’s set.

They sounded nice enough, with vocals carrying up the hill well, but overall they felt a little uninspired. It’s hard to not feel they would come into their own in a slightly more intimate setting, but they definitely provided more than enough excitement for their fans down at the front of the stage.

Illy began shortly after, bringing plenty of stage presence and talent with him. Playing hits like “Pictures” and “The Chase”, he jumped around the stage, and pulled everyone in to his performance.

His set was unfortunately cut off too early (as detailed in a Facebook post he made after the festival) so he couldn’t perform “Heard It All” – something he was vocally very disappointed about.

Daniel Merriweather was up next, and his excellent set only proved that he needs much more recognition than he’s currently receiving.

His soulful howl rang out to those listening, and a grinning Illy returned to the stage to drop a verse over “Change”. Merriweather and his band then covered “Where Did You Sleep Last Night”, before closing with a cover of Nine Inch Nails hit “Closer”. It was a shame that not many stuck around to watch, but those who did were well rewarded.

The daylight was fading as Van She began their set of bright, groove-filled pop. Nicholas Routledge’s vocals soared across the field, and their catchy, tropical hooks were more than enough to adequately warm up the growing crowd.

There were some issues with the visual display behind them, but the band carried on, hyping everyone up for the night’s last few acts.

Roars predictably erupted as 360 hit the stage. He seemed to have forgotten this year’s Groovin’ The Moo, stating that he hadn’t been here for years, but he performed well.

Singles like “Boys Like You” and “Child” went crazy, and with Bam Bam rapping alongside him, the set was more than entertaining.

Despite this, it’s hard not to feel like 360 can do better. He consistently appealed to the lowest common denominator (“alcohol, drugs, and safety’s third”), yet has songs like “Hope You Don’t Mind” (featuring N’fa) which deal with much more serious and affecting topics.

Such contradiction is not uncommon in hip-hop personalities, but 360 is now at the stage where he should be thinking more about the messages he sends, and the work he’ll leave in his wake.It’s a credit to the festival organisers that they took such a risk in organising something so logistically complex.

Bombs Away followed on from 360, working the crowd remarkably well, however their party music felt not only low-brow and dull (on tunes like “Big Booty Bitches”), but musically very repetitive.

Melodically uninteresting, some songs seemed to drag on forever, but Bombs Away were undoubtedly crowd-pleasers, and that’s something in itself.

So it was that Foreshore ended for 2012. Unfortunately, the venue itself brought with it a few major flaws. The first being that a large portion of it, between the stages, was dust or bark, making it difficult to find anywhere to relax away from the throbbing bass emanating, probably too loudly, from both stages.

People attend festivals to have fun, but opportunities for a break are necessary too. Add to this the oppressive heat, and there were times when Foreshore was far more uncomfortable than it should have been.

Luckily, the free Wi-Fi (courtesy of Red Bull) was more than useful, and despite the festival’s missteps, it provided a serious leap forward in providing festival-goers with uncongested communication and providing additional perks through the digital Wristband app.

On top of this, food at the festival was organised well, rarely having any lines. Water refilling stations were a definite plus, but banning water bottles – even emptied ones – on entry was a bit silly. It’s just one of those things that can just make everything that little bit more inconvenient for punters.

Being realistic, organising a festival like Foreshore is no mean feat. Balancing the desires of two audiences is difficult enough, let alone when you’ve got multiple artists also performing at Stereosonic on the same day (Van She, Calvin Harris, Example, Tiesto, Porter Robinson – the list goes on).

It’s a credit to the organisers that they took such a risk in organising something so logistically complex. But despite winning performances from some top artists, Foreshore 2012 had a few stumbles – and it could’ve been better. Let’s hope 2013 brings a new venue, better organisation, and the balanced event so many rightly love.

Be sure to check out our photo gallery of all the action from Foreshore 2012 here.

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