From its origins in 2006 as a one-night Landcare music event, Earth Frequency Festival has grown over the past 12 years to be a highlight on the festival calendar. The 13th Earth Frequency Festival (EFF) returns to Ivory Rock this year with permanent planning granted by Ipswich City Council. Festival Director Paul Abad spoke with The Echo.
What are the challenges in running an event such as yours?
It’s a constant juggling act; the depth of the experience we can provide versus the ticket price people are willing to pay. Increasing scrutiny from authorities versus the freedom people want from a festival experience. An inclusive community event versus a functional business model. I love the process of making it happen but there’s always a lot to balance, mostly around expectations and perceptions. Also I guess the fact that we have a big team but it’s a once-a-year event, so we have to pull it all together again each year when everyone has spent most of the year doing other things.
What is the vision you have for people’s experience onsite?
Earth Frequency is a once-a-year meeting place where we hope people can take a break from the usual flow, bring their friends and family, and come together to share love and creative experiences. We have chosen a venue that is not super-remote like some festivals, so this means we have an easy situation and great amenities, so it’s a comfortable camp-out in a beautiful natural setting, but also a place where it’s important to be mindful and conscious of your actions.
It’s a very comprehensive and deep program. How do you feel it sits with past years?
Every year is a step forward and an evolution of the themes we’ve been working with. We’re all about bringing diversity together musically with all the local musical micro-communities, as well as reaching out overseas and into the future for the next vibes that are coming through. Our art and workshops lineup this year is top notch and we’re blessed to have such a great community of local artists and facilitators as well as some awesome international guests.
How important is it, do you think, for event directors to create sustainable events that focus on reducing rubbish etc; how has the way you’ve tackled this changed over the years?
This is a big priority for us. In terms of waste management, we have a leave-no-trace policy so we actively engage our audience and ask them to minimise what they bring to the site, and to take their rubbish home. All onsite waste is hand-sorted for maximum recycling and composting outcomes. We introduced a no-plastic-waterbottles policy last year and we’ll be maintaining this in future years, encouraging everyone to #bringyourown bottle. We encourage car pooling with a vehicle-pass system and we do internal audits and carbon offset usage. This year we have a tree planting happening with 1,000 natives going into the ground in the festival site, and a week-long permaculture retreat in the leadup to the festival. In my view, festivals themselves consume a lot of resources, so there should be a focus on modelling future possibilities. We actually have a long-term plan to go generator free on our stage production and use the venue’s underground power, and farm what we will use in the four days over a year, and use the grid as a battery over the year.
What act are you most excited about?
I’d have to say it’s either Beats Antique, who put on a great stage show that mashes up live elements and fat bass music, or Loud, who are an amazing live act who bring elements of psytrance, world music, progressive and techno together in to a unique live experience.
What should people expect for EFF?
Four days of music, art, workshops, markets, community, nature and love at one of the best set up festival venues in Australia!
For more information, program and tickets go to www.earthfrequency.com.au