Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fiend Festival Review

Fiend Festival ran yesterday, and it was big! The Festival was a large event, and run by the team behind Fiend Magazine.

This was quite an ambitious event, and fairly large. With the demise of Under The Blue Moon, the concept of the large alt festival, covering various aspects of the alt community and subculture, has not been apparent. Fillin the gap, The Fiend Festival is the largest alt event run in Melbourne.

Attempts at running an alt festival, not just including bands, but art, fashion and culture have been made before (The Circa Nocturna/Carnivale Nocturna two day event in 2008 and the DV8 Bizarre Music Festival featured an event with bands, fashion and markets).
However, The Fiend Festival is probably the first alt festival in Melbourne to cover a number of aspects well, with a significant Fashion parade, a large market of 50 stalls, a big line up of bands including overseas acts, and a reasonable art exhibition (though probably a tad small in the context of the venue).

The Venue was Revolt Art Space at Kensington, an old factory with an amazing feel (I spoke to the artist in residence who does some of the interior deco, - he is a blacksmith who does Movie props and who was trained by the main armourer for Lord of the Rings!). It is a big venue, and has an amazing rustic Victorian feel to it.

The Markets were quite amazing. In the context of alt markets..this is as big as you get. The Black Market has been running for some years on personal property, this is the first time it has gone commercial. 50 stalls is as big as you will get (I think the record was 70 in the past), and there was some very interesting stuff. Lots of clothing, nick nacks, actually not much second hand, a lot of things made by local designers. The designers that were in the fashion show were grouped together, which was good. Kudos to the organiser, Tarley.

Carpe Noctum was pretty amazing, and will be the big alt fashion event for the year. It featured 10 designers, and some big names, including some interstaters and many designers who have been in Circa Nocturna and other shows. It ran for about 2 and a half hours, and was separated into three sections, which was great. Layout was effective, with a long runway and the seating was not deep so everyone got to see. A great opportunity to see some of Australia's best alt fashion designers, and one of the few oppotunities for alt designers to get their work up on the catwalk, unless they are prepared to pay the *enormous* amount of money that the main festivals charge. Brilliant job by the organiser, Susan Illingsworth. (Be on the lookout for my separate review for CN soon).

I'm no art critic....but the Art Exhibition was pretty good. It was effective in that they had a range of artists represented working with different media in different styles, and really just a taste of each. The work was generally pretty sophisticated, and wasn't bogged down in too much subcultural dwelling on the macabre or the predictable. Some great talent, I would have liked for it to be bigger, but given the venue size and the context of the event, it was probably proportional to what else was going on. Was right next to the market and the bar, so you could wander in with a drink and have a look.

Unfortunately, I didn't see the bands (including Hocico (Mex), Hanzel und Gretyl (NYC) andShiv-R (Syd) amongst others), so I can only review the other three aspects.

Overall, Fiend Festival was really a one of a kind event, and a great nexus for many creative people to have their performance seen, and for people to go along and see what a variety of creative output from the alt community, in an amazing venue. Well done to Gerry and his team for taking it on, and we hope to see another one next year.


adleerity said...
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