SUMMER GATHERING – START OFF YOUR YEAR RIGHT
December 22nd, 2019. The day the first major HSU/Hard Kandy event for the year 2020 for Melbourne was announced. The last day of the year that the internet would break due to the amount of posts, re-shares of posts and messages between friends of excitedness !! To be honest, even though Christmas and New years Eve were only days away, I must admit, this announcement was even BETTER than both of those combined !! Then came the long, few days of playing the waiting game. You see, while the event was announced on December 22nd, that was all. No artists, no mention of when tickets went on sale, just the event.
After what felt like a lifetime (but really was just a day or 2) the registering for tickets to obtain them through the pre-sale began. But, yes, there’s always a but, then there was the waiting for the actual DAY they went on sale on December 30th! Not to mention, the constant refreshing of the internet browser a few minutes before 11 am when the ticket sales opened to ensure you got through in time to obtain one, which was even worse! It goes without saying, they were sold out within minutes. General (for people that didn’t register for or manage to get a ticket through the pre-sale) tickets went on sale the next day, and within a few days, the entire event was sold out.
Throughout this though, is where the all teasing really began! Every few days after the initial event announcement, the international artists were revealed. December 26th was Tweekacore. December 27th was Minus The Crown. December 28th was Wasted Penguinz. Then, finally, the one everyone had been hoping and praying for, on December 29th, it was Sefa. Don’t get me wrong, every artist on the line up is absolutely amazing. But while Sefa had already played in Sydney a few times the last couple of years, we in Melbourne had been anxiously awaiting the man to come to play on our home turf as well.
The usual booking of hotels happened, the planning of outfits, who was going to meet who, where and at what time, who was having pre-party celebrations and the like. Everyone’s Facebook newsfeed was literally nothing BUT these sort of plans in the weeks leading up to the event. However in the world where we all meant to wait until January 26th for this event to finally happen? Well, magically, we all did as eventually, the days went past somehow !!
AND FINALLY ……. IT HAPPENED !! THE DAY HAD FINALLY ARRIVED !!
Myself and 2 friends arrived just before the doors opened at 10pm, took one look at the line of people waiting to get in and almost fell over, it was that long! Going from the front door, around the corner and just into the alleyway, if that was actually stretched out along one street, it would easily be the same length as a bit over half a block long. Thankfully, we didn’t have to line up in it, as speaking to people afterwards it was a really impatient wait. Security was fantastic and got people through the door rather quickly, don’t get me wrong, the impatientness came from everyone just wanting to be inside and hitting that dancefloor already. I believe that people at the front of the line had arrived at least half an hour before the doors were meant to open in anticipation!
Soon as I entered, I did the usual, grabbed a drink, went to say hello to any friends that were already inside and then hit the dancefloor. First set for the night was a versus set, featuring 2 of Melbourne’s favourite locals, Uforia and The Principal. Without sounding biased as I love both these guys, they were AWESOME (as usual) !! It has been a while since Uforia has graced our decks and it was great to see him playing again. These 2 guys together just gel so well, maybe because they’re such great friends on top of both being really amazing DJ's. As more and more people filtered in through the doors, the dancefloor became crowded pretty quickly, these guys definitely know how to get and keep the crowd rocking !!
Next up, the Melbourne favourites continued, with the next set being Scott Alert vs DJ Em. WOW. Always these guys are mind-blowing, whether they play together or on their own. Both are Melbourne institutions so to speak, meaning they’ve both been keeping feet on dancefloors for a number of years now and are loved by everyone that’s heard either of them play! By now, there were people everywhere and the place was ROCKING !! Everywhere you looked there was a smiling face looking back at you. Yes, it was definitely going to be a full-on, crazy, amazing night !!
Midnight came along and with it was the first of the international DJ's for the night, Minus The Crown. For those of you that may not know, Minus The Crown is a duo comprised of Joey Riot (Destructive Tendencies) and Dougal, and well, damn they play awesomely together! REALLY awesome guys and lovely to talk with also, completely full of energy and smiles all round! One of the best, happiest lot of tracks I’ve ever heard. The crowd went crazy!
1 am hit and so did Wasted Penguinz. Damn. I’ve had the good fortune to see these guys many times and get to chat with them before or after their sets. Anyone that has also done so will agree with me, they’re really great guys as well as fantastic on stage! I don’t know how much you know about them, but they have some pretty hard-hitting tracks lyrics wise and they’ve got me through some pretty hard places in life. I actually shed tears when they played ‘Make It One Day’ and ‘FML’. Yes, I cried. At an event, in public. Hearing these tracks live was incredible (go look them up!). Everyone went insane. If you took a look around the crowd, all you could see was people dancing, fist-pumping and jumping around.
All of this just hyped people up for the next set, Tweekacore. Now, while most people are familiar with Da Tweekaz and may have seen them a few times before here in Melbourne, this was the first time we have had a Tweekacore set here. For those who don’t know, Tweekacore is the other side (or alter ego for example) of Da Tweekaz.
Well. They almost tore the damn roof off! There was not a person that was not dancing out on that floor and no space out there unoccupied. Everyone was on their toes when they started, as it all went black as they came out and MC D introduced them. The lights went on and the place exploded! I myself was incredibly rapt that they played their track ‘Crash And Burn’. The lyrics and the beat of it, just makes you move!
Then, it happened. SEFA. The most anticipated set of the night. Majority of the crowd had been waiting to see him and he did not disappoint! Crazy Frenchcore, crazy energy and music that literally just blows your mind. From start to finish, he was pumping out the tracks, jumping around with a huge smile on his face, all looking like it took no effort at all (which we all know it does) !! I cannot explain how much this man’s music means to me. It picks me up when I am down, and I have many other friends that will attest to this fact, as I’m sure you all can too! Nobody stopped dancing and you could literally feel the energy in the air, this set was so worth waiting for the year or 2 it took for him to come to Melbourne, believe me! I must admit though, the best part of my night was getting to meet him and take a photo.
It was DEFINITELY a hard act to follow, but after Sefa, the last set of the night came another of Melbourne’s most loved, Horseplay. Damn, this kid is amazing! Everyone loves him and with good reason. A lot of the times at an event, you will see the crowd disperse after the international acts are over. Not tonight. When the lights came on at the end of the night, there was still a crowded dancefloor! Horseplay kept everyone going as hard as they had been throughout the course of the night till the powers that be closed the night down. Keep an eye on this one ladies and gents, Horseplay is bouncing from strength to strength and with every show he plays, he just shows how much talent he has.
Well, that was a rundown of the dj’s that played. But, I cannot end this without a HUGE shoutout to Australia’s one and only MC D. He’s awesome, hyper, loud and infectious. You cannot see his amazing smile without giving one back! I’ll never know how he still has a voice by the end of an event though. Half the time I don’t even have one!
Sadly, without sounding like a cliché, all good things have to come to an end. None of us wanted to leave when the lights came one, trust me, but we had to. A night none of us will ever forget. The end of the night DID bring about one massive problem though. A question that I cannot answer. HOW are we going to wait until Shadows of Wonderland ?
Watch below for real raw footage on what went down at the first Summer Gathering @ Billboard, Melbourne.
Written by Sarah Rugrat - a true veteran since the late 90's
Sarah has written articles and reviews on and off about the Melbourne Hard Dance Scene since 2002. While not a writer by trade, both writing and hard dance are her passions.
Photo Credit: Talia Lee Photography
Video Credit: Mercedes Mark