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Future Music Festival @ Brisbane Turf Club - 10.3.2007

Author: Patricia Escalon
Friday, 16 March 2007
Having a music festival at a racecourse is an unusual choice. There is usually so much space available. This time, however, the areas were contained in very cramped spaces, making for bottlenecks later in the day.

The clubhouse and the bleachers played host to the food stalls, and three distinct music spaces: FMF Local Heroes, Global Underground and AIR. The last two were in air-conditioned halls on the top floor of the clubhouse. Toilets were spread across the inside of the clubhouse, with port-a-loos to supplement their numbers.

Three stages were spread out on the turf: Future Main Stage, Famous and Ten Pound Crew. Main Stage was in a giant tent, full of blow-up creatures and giant speakers. The screens were large enough for every single member of the audience to enjoy. In the early part of the afternoon, the festival-goers sat outside the tent instead of dancing, due to the heat. One unusual touch was having the amusement park rides, which appealed to the young crowd on hand (there was, however, sprinkles of an older bunch of people).

From the dress codes, it was immediately evident who the real electro-heads were. Most of the festival-goers were not regular clubbers. Small clusters of friends wandered around, dressed in matching costumes, varying in their level of inventiveness.

Very few people arrived around lunchtime. The majority trickled in over the course of the afternoon. By sunset, it was almost impossible to walk a straight course in any direction. It became a full pedestrian jam of epic proportions and it was essential to plan which music space to seek out. As the evening wore on, alcohol had its predictable effect. The atmosphere became wantonly destructive. Three men climbed onto the plastic roof above the VIP area, breaking sections of it. The crowd at the dance space below pelted them with beer cans, forcing them to exit.

It appeared that the festival was about the crowd displaying their buffed, beautiful bodies as opposed to the music. Most of the DJs, such as Tom Novy, TV Rock and Nick Warren, noticed the audience's lack of interest, so they played everything on autopilot, loathe to try and win such a difficult crowd over. Even Carl Cox was in less-than-usual good form. He stuck to repetitive rhythms, keeping it mainstream.

Thankfully, Sander Van Doorn rose to the occasion, giving the performance of his lifetime. He dropped trance tracks layered with deep drums for the enjoyment of the punters. He constantly interacted with the crowd, lifting his arms in unison with the crowd's, particularly during moving moments. His act alone was like a beacon in a stormy sea.

Serge Santiago and Joachim Garraud on the other hand, were monotonous at best. They were both technically sound, but lacked mood.

Felix Da Housecat had stunning visuals of native Canadian art and psychedelic maps. His pole-dancing rhythms enveloped the dancers, throwing them into longer, deeper drums.

In the meantime, the Ten Pound Crew kept having sound problems. Transitions between acts took up to 30 minutes, but Princess Superstar saved the day for the stage with her retro mixes.

As the evening drew closer to the end, LTJ Bukem and MC Conrad lured dancers from the bleachers with their infectious, sweet drum 'n' bass-alternated sultry and frenetic rhythms. MC Conrad's vocal work personalised the experience as he made the attempt to make eye contact with each dancer. Their hip-shaking, arm-raising, hip-thrusting beats seduced everyone into contortions of pleasure. They were the perfect climax to a hot festival day.
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