Earth Frequency Festival started as a tree planting doof on the Sunshine Coast for about 300 people. From those humble origins the event has taken root and evolved to be a four day gathering with live and electronic music, artists, healers, visionaries and intellectuals. This year’s event is expected to attract some 3,500 people.
Festival director Paul Abad says the festival has a specific intent: to capture the spirit of cosmic experience – to dance, share, gather, launch, love and educate through a positive gathering of different tribes.
“Every year it seems to grow a bit,” says Paul. “I guess a few years in I realised it had the potential to become something really special beyond its original concept, and so it’s been guided towards becoming the multi-faced festival that it is now.
And multi-faceted it is. With performance, visionary art, installations, multimedia, live art and harmonic spaces as well as live music from the likes of OKA, Dubmarine, Saritah, Kooii, Fyah Walk and live electronica from Freq Nasty, Birds of Paradise, Zen Mechanics and The Upbeats, the program is so extensive it’s nearly overwhelming. And that’s without even looking at the range of inspirational talks and workshop.
“The music we choose at Earth Frequency is pretty varied, a great combination of local, interstate and international talent covering everything from rootsy acoustic vibes right through to some of the most forward thinking electronic music around,” Paul explains.
“There’s something about the combination of inspiring talks and workshops, carefully curated, positive music and creative expression, a safe and friendly space for dancing and the beautiful Australian outdoors that seems to have this life changing effect on people!”
The festival this year moves to Ivory Rock, a well set-up venue in a beautiful location. Paul says Ivory Rock provides one of the most comfortable festival experiences Australia has to offer. “We’re hoping this will be our home for years to come,” he says. The new venue is one of several improvements to the festival for 2014.
“EFF2014 is a continuation but also a big step up for the festival,” Paul says. We’re adding a 3rd stage, expanding a whole range of things such as our workshops and talks program, family space, offering a range of camping options, offering supervised swimming for the first time and a heap more. For those who have been before it will be an evolved and expanded version of what they know.”
Paul also has some special tips for those who might not have experienced Earth Frequency before. “As hard as it might be, make sure you get a bit of sleep every day!”
“Experienced festival goers plan their fun times and sleep times around seeing the acts they want to see and having enough sleep at other times to keep in good form.”
When we asked Paul about the challenges of directing a festival like this, he admitted it was tricky. “Musically I think a festival needs to be a balance between what the crowd/community wants, and the vision of the team putting it on. Too much either way and it can go stale.
“Luckily I think EFF has a great community behind it and lots of tickets sell before we announce the first act … i think that’s what separates it from a commercial festival which is all about the music and doesn’t foster a sense of community so much.”
It’s obvious that Paul loves his job and the energy of the event he curates. “Straight up I wouldn’t be doing this festival if I couldn’t enjoy the experience of it, and I actually think it’s important that a festival organiser is not locked up in an office while its happening… you have to stay in touch with what’s happening.”
He is quick to acknowledge that Earth Frequency Festival is a team effort with around 60 workers, more than 200 volunteers and a bunch of awesome contractors, musicians and artists working together. “It’s a massive team that makes it happen,” Paul says.
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Earth Frequency Festival takes place in the majestic Scenic Rim from 14 – 17 February and tickets are an astoundingly cheap $270 on the gate (cheaper if you pre-book). Get all the juicy details, including the full (very full) lineup at www.earthfrequency.com.au.
What it sounds like
Born in Fiji, raised in New Zealand and forged in the dance music revolution of London in 90’s London, FreQ Nasty has released a slew of cutting-edge records, collaborating with and remixing a diverse range of artists including Fatboy Slim, Kelis, KRS One, Roots Manuva, Rodney P, Bassnectar, and Reggae legend Junior Delgado. He is one of Burning Man’s most loved DJs, where he brings his signature mix of drumstep, glitch-hop, dubstep, and all things Bass heavy every year.
A celebration of all that it is to be alive and free in the world today, OKA draws upon their indigenous connection to place and country through music. Their signature sound is an irresistible blend of influences spanning house, big beat, reggae-dub, Roots, Jazz and world music. A rhythm based sonic tapestry crossing cultural boundaries, embracing the future without losing sight of the past. At the creative heart of the music is Stu Boga Fergie (aka DidgeriSTU) who connects you to earth with the deep subsonic pulse and resonance of his Yidaki (didgeridoo).. The Collective includes Chris Lane on slide guitar, harmonica and woodwinds including bamboo, flute & sax and holding down the groove is Samoan-Australian Charlie Zappa.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, the country of her mother’s heritage, Saritah grew up by the Indian Ocean in the most isolated city in the world – Perth, Australia. A traveller from the time she was a few months old, however, she has always had a global perspective and has been exposed to and influenced by a diversity of music and culture from around the world. Inspiring, uplifting and playfully powerful, Saritah’s live shows are colourful celebrations of life. Lyrical affirmations, inspirations, and observations weave with sounds inspired by dancehall, reggae, soul, world and pop music. A festival favourite, Saritah loves to connect with the audience and her vocals are delivered with a captivating blend of attitude and grace.
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You should try to get to Earth Frequency – a celebration of life at its best. But if you can’t, OKA hits the coast with Declan Kelly at a special gig at Miami Marketta in February and Saritah joins Fyah Walk (another Earth Frequency Festival regular) for a special Soundlounge show, also in February. Check the gig guide for all the details.
Thanks to the generous crew at Earth Freq, we have one festival ticket to give away. To enter, simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading “Earth Freq Giveaway” with your name and mobile number in the body of the email. Winner will be drawn at random at midday on Saturday 8 February.