The great Harvest line-up. And we don’t mean the music
Dear Harvest Festival,
You have no idea how excited we were about you. What music fan wouldn’t be excited about a brand new musical festival, in the backyard of the Werribee mansion, with some of the best bands of the last 20 years? For weeks everyone was talking about your line up, but by the end of the night the only thing anyone was talking about was lining up.
We should have seen the warning signs early on, when one of our friends headed off to buy everyone a beer and then didn’t come back for two hours. It took her an hour to get the tokens to buy the beer the beer and then another hour to exchange the tickets for the actual drinks. Seriously, the Gillard government could not have created a system this bad.
Obviously queues are a part of any public event, but your queues were not normal. All across Werribee Park, lines of people stretched out longer than a Led Zeppelin guitar solo. At one stage the crowd outside the bar was bigger than the entire crowd waiting to watch Mogwai, who were one of the headline acts.
Okay, so people don’t have to drink, but they do have to eat, and I know your rules generously allowed people to bring a sandwich inside the venue, but over 12 hours people might need a bit more sustenance than a couple of vegemite sandwiches.
And the queues for food and drinks were nothing compared with the queue to the toilet. At any outdoor event you expect a lengthy line for the loo, but this one was so long it stretched into neighbouring suburbs. There is something genuinely disturbing about hundreds of adults all crossing their legs like a bunch of pre-school children trying not to wet their pants.
Many of them eventually gave up waiting and headed into the nearby bushes. I’m not sure the owners of Werribee Park would be happy that their grounds had been turned into a giant urinal.
When people go to outdoor festivals they realise it will be a little bit rough, but when they’re shelling out $160 for a ticket to your event, they deserve to be treated better than the animals across the road in the Werribee Zoo.
The whole thing would be almost amusing, if you hadn’t been so smug in your self-promotion. Your own website proudly pronounced that compared with other festivals Harvest would “ensure comfort while substantially increasing the quality and quantity of amenities, services, food outlets and the variety of food & beverage options provided.”
Of course there will be teething problems with a first time festival, but the least you could is take some responsibility. A few years back the Laneway Festival had overcrowding problems, but the organisers copped it on the chin and issued a full apology. But you just ploughed on as if nothing happened and by Sunday night you still hadn’t mentioned a thing on your Facebook page, even though there were hundreds of furious comments.
The really sad thing, Harvest, is that you did so much right. Werribee Park was an awesome venue, and it was genuinely one of the best festival line-ups for a long time. In fact, Portishead might have been one of the best gigs in the last ten years. But our mates who missed most of the set because they were waiting for the toilet will have to take our word for it.
Harvest, you’ve come along at a time when the music festival calendar in this country is more flooded than your Portaloos, and like the hordes of people who gave up waiting for the toilet, the public will simply just go somewhere else.
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