The Five Best Things About FOMO Festival 2016

With barely any time to recover from a Godzilla-sized hangover courtesy of this year’s edition of Falls Festival, this Saturday just gone in Brisbane saw the very auspicious debut of FOMO Festival, showcasing some of the very best EDM and hip hop from both these shores and internationally. Howl got right in amongst it all and came out the other side incredibly happy because of:

5. Another summer festival in Brisbane!

Laneway aside, Brisbane is notoriously starved of good music festivals in the summertime. After the very embarrassing public RIP-ing of this year’s Soundwave festival, as well as the tragedy of last year’s Stereosonic, the status of summer festivals not just in Brisbane but around the country is kind of up in the air at the moment. It was incredibly refreshing then to see the very first FOMO not only step up to the plate to fill a bit of that hole, but to knock it out of the park.

Saturday at Riverstage may have been hotter than the Seventh Circle of Hell (probably), but everyone from Brisbane in attendance was more than happy to stew in their own sweat for an afternoon of ripper music that they didn’t have to travel two hours south to soak in. Fingers crossed FOMO gets the 2017 sequel we all want.

4. Dat crowd though

I’m the first to admit I’m not a huge fan of EDM by any means, and have never dared attend a festival like Future Music or the aforementioned Stereo before. I’ve also heard EDM crowds can be an um… interesting sort… to the usual rock and hip hop crowds I usually find myself jostling with.

That said though, 99.9% of the people in attendance at FOMO were actually really good people, pretty much par for the course at any Australian music festival. Even despite the sweltering heat and the subsequently huge increase in alcohol consumption as evidenced by the gigantic lines at the bar, not a shred of violence was seen all day, some small comfort after the tragic death of Cole Miller from a coward punch rocked the same city to the core not even a week ago.

Not only well-behaved, but as someone attending FOMO by themselves for a good portion of it, many of the fashion choices provided a hilarious way to pass the time alone between sets. Speed dealers were in abundance, as were legionnaire hats taking me all the way back to little lunch at primary school. Shouts out to the dude in the ‘Where’s Molly’ parody shirt and the two dudes riding around on inflatable dinosaurs. Not a single Native American headdress either! Something that greatly restored my faith in this city and its humans. Not to mention the crowd going from 0 to Judgement Day in about three seconds for RL Grime.

Pat yourselves on the back, FOMO crowd.

3. Tkay Maidza caps off a massive year with a bang

After a huge 2015 spent touring and breaking the bloody hell out, it looked like a nevertheless fresh as a daisy Adelaide MC Tkay Maidza taking to the stage early in the afternoon to spit a few rhymes our way.

Having caught her in full flight festival live mode at last year’s Splendour In The Grass, she didn’t disappoint for a second. Tkay used every inch of Riverstage despite the diabolical heat, dropping bangers like M.O.B. and Ghost left and right and getting everyone in the very sweaty pit stomping their feet like Brontosauruses to the point of needing a lie down after she was done. She signed off with a very gracious thank you and is evidently taking a well-deserved couple months break to work on her album.

We’re hanging out for it here. Cheers for all the hard work, Tkay

2. Flight Facilities soar into the night sky

Another national act we were fortunate enough to get funky with at last year’s Splendour were the unfathomably entertaining Flight Facilities. Taking on a most challenging slot sandwiched in between a fantastic Jamie xx and the eventual earthshaking headliner RL Grime (seriously, I’m shocked there’s any survivors still a Riverstage standing after RL), it was Flight Facilities who stole the show for me, perhaps because theirs is a body of work I’m much more familiar with than the other two.

Indeed, as the sun mercifully went down on FOMO and the horrendous heatwave turned into a very welcome balmy summer’s eve, Double-F brought the synth pop cool in with the dusk and blew everyone to smithereens.

Collaborator Owl Eyes was absolutely on fucking point and hypnotised the crowd throughout, the gorgeously bouncy Heart Attack a huge highlight, as were a mega-sized Crave You and the stormy, goosebump-giving set-closer Clair De Lune. The kind of magnificent set you would expect from an act who had as big a 2015 as any other Australian artist. They soared all of last year on the wings of late 2014 debut LP Down To Earth, we’re all eagerly anticipating whatever comes next.

1. Skepta shuts FOMO down

Holy snapping ducks, I’m still reeling from the knockout blow that was Skepta’s absolutely festival-thieving set. Not giving one fuck that the FOMO crowd may have started crashing a little hard against the weight of the heat and humidity, the Tottenham grime lord demanded nothing but peak energy for the entirety of his set and largely got it from a soon frenetic crowd.

In return, Skepta rewarded us all by raining down utter neck-breakers like That’s Not Me, I Spy and Back Then all leading to, after spending a good couple of minutes ensuring the size of one circle pit was to his liking (huge), a gargantuan, firebreathing rendition of one of the hardest-hitting songs of the year gone in Shutdown.

I still haven’t regained all of my mobility after thrashing around like an absolute lunatic to this one. Disconcerting as it may have been afterwards to reflect on the fact that several thousand largely white Australian 20-somethings were screaming lyrics about Haile Selassie and what it means to be a real Rastafarian right back at Skepta, it was nonetheless a barnstormer and really charged the crowd up for the evening ahead.

Criminally short at a bare 30 minutes, and coming up shy in the sheer anarchy department that was RL Grime (where FOMO went from 0 to the apocalypse in about three seconds), I still challenge you to find me a better set at FOMO. Go on-en!?