Last week saw the long-awaited announcement of Harvest Festival 2012, featuring a stellar bill topped by the likes of Beck, Sigur Rós, Grizzly Bear and Ben Folds Five to bear on Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne in November.
A surprise late entry into an already crowded Australian festival market last year, Harvest was greeted with scepticism at first, but after bringing an all-star collection that included a long overdue return from Portishead to our shores along with The National, TV on the Radio and The Flaming Lips – Harvest cemented itself on the festival calendar.
It wasn’t without its teething problems however, particularly the Melbourne leg of the festival which was famously plagued by an obscure ticketing system for alcohol, understaffed food tents and severe queueing for toilets. A triumvirate of which caused our Tone Deaf reviewer to state of the Werribee Park-hosted event, “you probably ended up missing a set or two waiting in lines the length of a footy oval circumference.”
The festival’s own promoter, the outspoken AJ Maddah, was perhaps the biggest cynic of the festival, critiquing the queues and saying “the food and bev peoplre are fucking atrocious” before launching into a Twitter-abetted tirade that singled out staffers and organisers. Posting at the time:
LOSSES TODAY: Inept bar operators. Spent 2 hours with our volunteers & staff fixing their fuck-ups & selling coupons to get rid off lines
— AJ (@iamnotshouting) November 12, 2011
In short, Maddah took responsibility for the logistical problems, assuring that punters to the Melbourne leg of Harvest Festival 2012 will see no such problems. Again tweeting that he would be overseeing amenities to ensure that they run smoothly this year.
@marymarym As for amenities, I have taken control of these personally and will be micro-mamaging every aspect.
— AJ (@iamnotshouting) June 18, 2012
This morning, FasterLouder also spoke to Maddah’s co-promoter, Declan Forde, who declared, “There’s not a whole lot I can say other than to promise that it won’t happen again. It’s a source of deep embarrassment,” said Forde before adding “we’re very conscious that we’ll be forgiven once for mistakes but we won’t be forgiven again for something like that.”
Forde, Maddah and the entire Harvest Festival team have vowed to amend the mistakes of last year’s event, “each of the three legs we were very happy with barring some major cock-ups at the Melbourne leg which will be easily remedied. They will be remedied this year,” he said.
As a kind of communal collateral, Maddah has also been making noises about a ‘Foundation Member’ program for punters who attended Melbourne’s problematic turn last year, the program is designed as a member pre-sale that gives first dibs to ticket-holders from Harvest Festival 2011; with full details of the foundation member scheme being announced next week.