Some Very Weird Shit at Falls Festival – Legs Akimbo

Mandy Nolan

Legs Akimbo are partners in life and crime: Amy Bee Sting and Ben Scott. Born out of the UK festival scene, the two have developed some wacky interactive games and on-stage antics to engage large groups of willing festival-goers. They came to the notice of Falls Festival last year, and will be making the journey once more to entertain, harass and artistically humiliate hoi polloi.

‘One of the Falls Festival programmers saw us on the UK festival circuit and gave me his card. I thought nothing would happen, but we ended up playing there last year and we’re back again for this year’s festival.’

legs-akimboAn unconventional performance duo, the two have been working at cracking the festival scene, honing the particular performance needs of a large captured crowd.

‘Ben and I have been working at performing at festivals for more than three years and we found that it is great that it’s good to do something to make the audience the star of the show. You can have a 20-year-old who has never been before who’s really shy, get them on stage doing something like wrestling, and have thousands of people chanting their name, and for that night in a stupid way they become a bit of a hero.

‘It breaks down the normal barriers.’

Legs Akimbo have a pretty bizarre repertoire, and much of what they do is in response to the places they go.

‘In terms of the games we play,’ says Amy, ‘in the UK we do stuff that takes the piss out of ourselves, like if you do a festival in Yorkshire and it’s famous for pies and gravy then we are doing a gravy wrestling match.’

LegsAkimbo3I dare not tell her that Tasmania (one of the spots for Falls Fest) suffers unkind jokes about its small population, inferring that your husband is most likely your brother.

‘We took the mickey out of Australia,’ says Amy, ‘with a Steve Irwin-type game of crocodile wrestling and kangaroo boxing’.

Although the duo do get the audience to do some pretty extreme things, Amy is adamant that the dignity of the participants is mostly maintained.

‘After all, you are doing comedy – you don’t want to offend people!

So what is in store for Falls Fest crowds this year?

‘We are going to have a slot more like a game show where you have to sign up, and there’s an ultimate winner at the end. You can get people to do a lot of crazy stuff; it depends on what characters we take. Last year we took Klaus and Fanny – German and American ex-Olympic champions, but this year not sure; literally we finished festival season for the UK and we haven’t thought about it yet… but it’s ticking over.

‘Most of the characters we come up with happen organically – things or people that we find interesting and we mess about with them. That’s how Klaus and Fanny came about – we were hosting the sham Olympics and we wanted to do these ex-Olympic champions who were upset that they weren’t popular anymore.’

Character is integral to crowd manipulation!

‘I think the one thing for us when we started hosting this we weren’t doing it in character, and it didn’t work as well. When you do it in character you can get away with a lot more, I can get away with being a lot more aggressive – it makes the show a lot more theatrical!’

Legs Akimbo have some pretty twisted minds between them. ‘We have put people on circus trusses that are 30 or 40 feet up and put people on bungeys and made them do an aerial game show; two fat hairy blokes swinging in the air with someone trying to wax them… we have done high high jump where we build a high jump then we get them high before they jump… it’s like sports day, but weird. A great game we did at Falls last year was a big dance-off tournament. Every team gets to choose random props out of a bag, such as a cucumber and squirty cream, and as everyone is over 18 they can be debauched. It gets people out of their comfort zones. In Tasmania last year we had 6,000 people watching – where else in Tasmania would someone have the opportunity to have a crowd that size?!’

Expect some weird shit.

Tickets to The Falls Music & Arts Festival in Lorne, Victoria sold out in just half an hour after going on sale! Tickets to Marion Bay and Byron Bay are currently selling strongly with Byron Bay expected to sell out shortly. While the locals’ deals have mainly gone, there are still single NYE tickets available and of course general admission tickets are still available.

30 Dec–2 Jan


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Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

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