FESTIVAL OF THE SUN 2018: Festival organizer Simon Luke talks to Newcastle Live

Considering its already halfway through the year, festival season will soon again be upon us. Port Macquarie’s legendary ‘Festival of the Sun’ has this week announced its 2018 Roll On Up edition, in celebration of its 15-year anniversary.

Last years festival saw 3000 punters buying a ticket within the first 11 days of being on sale, which makes it hard to visualize that FOTSUN had initially begun as a free beachside music event in the early noughties. Whether it’s the BYO alcohol policy, the overwhelming sense of community, or the artists that the festival attracts, it is no doubt that FOTSUN has become one of the key motivators for the Australian music scene.

Festival organizer and homegrown legend Simon Luke talked to Newcastle Live ahead of the milestone.

“I kicked off FOTSUN back in 2004 as a small free festival on the beach, where I’m pretty sure we paid the bands in pizzas and beers,” Simon said. “We set the sound desk up and actually went surfing while the bands were playing because the stage was facing the ocean”.

For anyone who has ever visited Port Macquarie, they would immediately think of the oddly located UoN campus, a couple of surfing hotspots, but mainly as a quiet relaxing town. Residents didn’t know it yet, but the town had a storm coming, one that helped kick start a revolution for the live music scene. “The whole idea was to just throw something into a town that was pretty much full of old people, so it gave the young people something to be proud of,” he said.

The festival has been constantly developing, attracting sponsors such as Sand Events, MusicFeeds, AU Review, and even Triple J. “I remember I wrote a letter to Triple J, and looking back on it I think that’s what put us on the radar, because it would have had to have been one of the most unprofessional letters ever written,” he said. “At the age of 24, I had no idea how to approach a radio station”.

Last year punters uncomfortably slid into spandex for the ‘Outer Space’ edition of FOTSUN, whilst this year it is expected the sell out event will attract circus freaks from all walks of life. Though the artists are yet to be announced in August, the 15-year anniversary will give us a chance to look back at some of the finer moments the event has provided.

“With 15 years, I think it will give us the opportunity to celebrate the history of FOTSUN, which at its core, has had a massive impact on the Australian music scene,” Simon said.

Festival of the Sun is set to hit Port Macquarie shores from the 13th until the 15th of December 2018. Lineup is expected to be announced in early August, with tickets on sale soon after.

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