Australia is in the need of new EDM festivals following the discontinuation of Stereosonic, Future Music Festival and Creamfields over the past couple of years. Ultra Music Festival has successfully launched down under to help fill the void while FOMO and Listen Out have also tapped into the genre. But there’s a new festival on the block who is fusing EDM and hip-hop together for an exciting new summer festival.
Festival X is a collaborative project between Live Nation Australia, Onelove and Hardware, and for it’s inaugural year they have enlisted some huge name to kickstart their new experience. With Armin Van Burren, Calvin Harris, Alison Wonderland, Lil Pump, Steve Aoki and Trippie Redd topping the line up, they had festival goers ultimately very excited.
Launching in Brisbane on a sunny summer Friday afternoon, the crowd clocked off work early and started turning up to Brisbane Showgrounds ready to kickstart the weekend in style.
With the drinks flowing and the beats dropping, Trippie Redd energetically ran out onto the outdoor Pixel stage with two security guards awkwardly following him.
As he ran around the stage shirtless, climbed speakers and ecstatically jumped into the crowd, his two right hand men just intensely watched the crowd and him with a look of worry on their faces. It was a little off putting and I found myself intriguingly watching them more than Trippie Redd himself because it felt a little excessive.
In classic hip-hop style he started and stopped songs more times than you could remember as he would play bits and pieces of his tracks and collaborations and then immediately switched up the mood. With tracks like ‘Dark Knight Dummo’, ‘Topanga’, ‘1400/999 Freestyle’ and ‘Under Enemy Arms’ played throughout his set, he closed with ‘Love Scars’ before his sound was turned off as he ran over time and he acapalled the end.
After a quick switch over, Steve Aoki appeared behind the decks for a very strange 4pm slot. To me Steve Aoki is a huge name and deserved a set that was well into the night, but Aoki still knew how to deliver a killer mood and really transcended the afternoon vibes into party territory.
Even though the sun was still very much up, he had some killer visuals that really added to the energy he was creating through the music and his presence. Adding CO’2 bursts and confetti into the mix, he made sure his production didn’t disappoint.
His set was constant bangers followed by banger. With his original music like ’Waste It On Me’ feat BTS and ‘Crash Into Me’ feat Darren Criss making it into his set, he had the crowd dancing away.
Lil Pump exploded onto the Pixel stage with ‘I Shyne’ and a whole lot of bouncing energy which the crowd immediately resonated with and ran over to get hype with the Miami favourite.
His hyperactive personality is what has made him so popular and he didn’t disappoint as he got super loose and had fun with the crowd during the prime-time sunset set.
With ‘Drug Addicts’, ‘Gucci Gang’ and a dedication to XXXTentacion keeping the crowd hype he continually tried to “open the pitt up” and get some circle pitts occurring. But the crowd wasn’t really feeling it and he should’ve stopped trying and just let them bounce and have fun. But he kept pushing it and the majority female crowd didn’t want to do that as it can be quite dangerous sometimes.
His chaotic and colourful visuals and pulsating fire bursts added to the insane set and when he closed with ‘I Love It’, its safe to say it was one of the biggest singalong’s of the festival.
With a curtain covering the stage in between transitions, it finally dropped to reveal Calvin Harris and an innovative new stage design that look like a spaceship from Star Wars.
Harris’ set was hands down the best of the day. With a setlist compiled of bangers after bangers, I had kind of forgotten how many hits the Scottish producer actually has.
‘Under Control’, ‘Bounce’, ‘This is What You Came For’, ‘I Need Your Love’ and ‘Blame’ initiated the singalongs and the carefree vibes his set radiated while everyone danced and bounced up and down while fireworks, fire and co’2 cannons bursted across the stage.
His lighting started off very moody and gradually started to grow and get brighter and bolder as time went on. ‘Summer’, ‘Promises’, ‘We Found Love’, ‘Spectrum’ and ‘Feel So Close’ kept the vibes flowing as the sound and bass were turned up high.
Closing his set with ‘How Deep Is Your Love’, ‘One Kiss’ and ‘Sweet Nothing’, he took a moment to thank the crowd for having him back. “Brisbane, I just wanna say what a pleasure it is to be here. It’s been five years and I’m so excited to be back” he candidly confessed.
Over on the Flux stage, Alison Wonderland was delivering her signature world renowned live show with a whole lot lights, and hard drops while Armin Van Burren closed the Pixel Stage with a similar vibe.
Festival X was an entertaining day that celebrated the heart of summer with EDM and hip-hop music. Calvin Harris and Lil Pump delivered two of the most entertaining sets of the day, while the others acts still delivered a high level of entertainment.
Photos by Curdin