Described as an “experiential arts and music event”, the Factory Summer Festival series will transform the Brisbane Showgrounds into an outdoor live performance fairground from December 11 to 31.
For the West Australian-based organisers of the Factory Summer Festival series – which will feature performances from the likes of Confidence Man, The Presets, Illy, Ruel, Vera Blue and DJ sets from Hermitude and Peking Duk – it was a case of “go east” to ensure the show would go on this year.
Outdoor dancing is back in Queensland with organisers creating COVID safe, controlled areas. Organisers will also implement contact tracing measures to ensure all attendees can be contacted following the event.
Even so, it was touch and go in the weeks following the initial line-up announcement in August, as Factory Summer Festival co-director Chris Bausor told InQueensland.
“To give some perspective, we were five minutes away from a press release going out, postponing the Brisbane event in line with the Perth event – so pushing it back to March,” Bausor said.
“In between the five minutes when that press release was due to go out, the Queensland Premier announced that dancing was back, and there was a way that music festivals could go ahead, so we pulled the announcement.
“We waited another few days to see exactly how that would flesh out from a health perspective and then bang, it was back into full planning for us. For us, keeping the opportunity alive until there is no other option has been our mindset from the start.”
Spread over three weeks, the shows that make up the Factory Summer Festival will feature a headline artist at each of the events and include four stages, nine themed bars, a massive silent disco, carnival rides, games arcade, with more entertainment to be revealed.
This Brisbane season marks the first time the series – which has run on the west coast as the Ice Cream Factory Summer Festival for three years – has headed east, and Bausor said organisers planned to make it a regular fixture on the annual concert calendar.
“The whole idea of the festival is there is so much more to do than just watch that headline performance,” he said. “It’s going to take a big effort from us to deliver that and educate the Brisbane customers about it but we’re happy to invest in the event to go ahead for many years to come.”
When organisers first started planning for this year’s expansion, they had initially hoped to schedule a series of shows in both Perth and Melbourne.
“We thought the December window was going to be ripe for the picking and it’s pretty much gone right down to the wire and Brisbane is the one that we can get up in December.”
The COVID-safe event will ensure social distancing measures of two square metres per person are adhered to, and there will also be hand sanitisers and hand wash facilities, additional cleaning and sanitising of all areas and trained COVID-marshals in attendance.
“It’s not seated, it’s not the full pen situation but it is obviously modified, so there’ll be restrictions really close to the stage,” Bausor said.
“So, essentially, rather than operating in pens, we’ll be operating in sections, so we will give some people – not as many as what we usually do or what we’d like – the opportunity to be really right up close to the stage.
“We’re spending way more than we usually would on the stage and on the production, to make sure that the experience goes deep and it goes wide to give people that festival experience they’re really looking for … albeit not with five people per square metre like a normal dance floor.
“With venue availability and COVID restrictions, we made the decision to go 8500 capacity at Brisbane Showgrounds,” Bausor said.
“Not all nights will reach capacity, because we do run a series. So there are nine different shows you know with all sorts of performances mostly, you know, mostly again that sort of electronic producer/performer/DJ sort of realm but they do vary.
The opening night line-up on Friday December 11 will include a headline DJ set from electronic hip hop duo Hermitude in a Brisbane exclusive show alongside in-demand international DJ Anna Lunoe.
The Presets will perform the following night, with a triple-bill to kick off the second weekend with Peking Duk [DJ Set], Confidence Man and Benson dropping beats on Friday 18 December.
What So Not and ShockOne will perform on December 19, with with multiple acts planned for December 20, inclduing Vera Blue, Northeast Party House, GRAACE and Stace Cadet.
Hayden James and Illy will perform on Christmas Eve and there will be a Boxing Day line-up headlined by Brisbane-based UK rapper, musician and producer Example and also featuring Motez, Dirty South and Nina Las Vegas
Discovery Daft Punk, a tribute to the iconic French electronic duo, will follow on December 27, before the series wraps up with a New Year’ Eve event.
“Our intention is to give people the opportunity to come for a night out and not only experience some things that they might not have seen at a festival performance before but also watch a headline performance they haven’t been able to see for months and months,” Bausor said.
“Feel that bass, see those lights and hear that music … Despite all the virtual events going on and the advances in technology, at the end of the day, there’s no substitute for that feeling.”
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