A procession of 5000 eager sleepy-eyed music fans made the two hour trip to Tarwin Lower on Saturday the 17th of January for the second annual UNIFY Gathering.
Set across two sold-out days, the BYO camping festival experience kicked-off with gates welcoming in the masses at around 11am. Rather than continue to bore you with slabs of text and analytically pulling apart the festival, heres my anecdotal account of my first (and certainly not my last) Unify.
Saturday the 17th
11:20 am: After making a pit stop in a near by ALDI for some knock-off brand beer, bourbon and coke, we are back on the final leg of the travel toward Tarwin Lower.
12.14pm: Finding our car tomorrow is going to be stupid hard and this line is crazy.
12.30pm: After hauling our entire camp worth of gear to the wrong site we have finally set up and I have incidentally smashed through an entire packet of honey soy chicken chips already.
2.14pm: Void Of Vision never seem to disappoint regardless of stage size.
2.18pm: Evidently, crutches are an effective moshing apparatus.
2.20pm: On par with how effective a wheelchair is apparently. The person in front of me is killing it.
3.30pm: I have returned to camp to find ourselves surrounded from every side, a Choomah from The Big Lez show, an Amity Affliction flag on the other, and a magnificently proud Australian flag courtesy of Matt Groening.
3.55pm: After a member receiving a mid-set bowl cut, they are absolutely slaying their set so far – Ocean Grove incited a crowd wide sing-a-long with ‘Back Bone’.
4.35pm: The iconic beachball appears above the crowds.
4.42pm: Apparently shortly followed by the equally as iconic dude in the spiderman costume.
4.50pm: After accompanying some poor guy with a broken nose to the medics tent, I return only to hear the song I have been waiting to hear live in so god damn long like ’Let Me In’. Make Them Suffer, hands down, are one of the best live acts I have ever played witness to and the keyboardist has the voice of an absolute angel.
5.50pm: The energy being emitted by Hellions evidently is not affected by the size of the stage – ‘The Penultimate Year’ will never stop being one of the most energetic I have ever seen performed live.
7.25pm: RIP Confession.
8.50pm: Stray From The Path are the reincarnation (even though all members are still alive and well) of Rage Against The Machine. Yet, somehow, they have managed to showcase even more anger; coming together to prove to be one of the most impressive live acts.
9.45pm: Finally my skin no longer feels like I am on fire. Sunsets are stupidly underrated.
10.00pm: I wonder how much I will have to scrub for my skin to no longer be completely coated in black dirt.
11.03pm: By the light of phones and lighters, Kyle Erich has never sounded more like absolute angel – and the singalong for ‘Wildflower’ is stupidly celestial.
11.50pm: Rubbing my sleepy eyes, I mindlessly I join the masses of piling to Main Stage to watch Parkway Drive.
11.55pm: Parkway throughout the years have consistently found ways to combine Tradies and the Emo kids of yesteryear together into one all mighty fan base.
11.57pm: Only seven minutes into a Parkway set and my boyfriend and I almost witnessed a Dad fight.
12.00am: CARRION IN A MOMENT I’M LOST, DYING FROM THE INSIIIIIDE.
12.33am: In a beautiful tribute for how far Michael Crafter had helped Parkway come, ‘Romance Is Dead’ rang aloud and was greeted with a thunderous singalong.
12.40am: a sea of jazz hands waved out the night of live bands handing it over to the DJs.
1.01am: A venture back to camp was soundtracked by Family Guy quotes echoing throughout each camp site.
1.10am: On the list of things I wanted to go to sleep, listening to people yelling ‘Butt Scratcher!’ weirdly was not in my top ten.
Sunday 17th January 2016
10.00am: People have began to depart before the Matinée begins, the smell of alcohol and a huge night lingers in the air. The line for a caffeinated beverage stretches across to the marquee tent, as attendees cling to the hope of caffeine reviving them in time for the second day of bands.
10.30am: That hope was lost for the person who left a human poop dollar nearby our camp.
11.00am: Camp grounds are riddled with abandoned inflatable couches.
11.40am: Finally after stupidly somehow always being interstate when they have come to Melbourne, I get to see Columbus.
11.56am: I am an absolute idiot for not seeing this band sooner; ‘Downside Of Being Honest’ is one of the best songs I have heard performed live in a very long time.
12.30pm: The trek back to Melbourne begins as my Unify experience for 2016 draws to a close.
Overall, Unify definitely lived up to all the hype – however, I am angry at myself for missing out on its inaugural year – I got to see friends I hadn’t seen in years and see bands I have been waiting to see for what feels like forever. All while stealing inspiration from other camps to create the camp to end all camps next year. From drunk people forcing me to high five them a million times, to that one intoxicated patron that asked my boyfriend to moon him as we entered the main stage; I am filled with huge levels of nostalgia, memories and simultaneous sadness that its all over. And of course, that I did not in actual fact get to witness a dad fight, soundtracked by Parkway Drive, in a tent where the bar was almost certainly being tended by Slattz from King Parrot.