Words by Andrew Handley
Photos by Dave Court
With over 50 artists playing across seven venues in Adelaide’s east end, A Day of Clarity is a celebration of independent music in Australia. The festival is the culmination of one record store's love and dedication to Adelaide’s music scene. Event coordinator and owner of Clarity Records, Matt ‘Footy’ Horvath says the festival had much more humble beginnings. “Every year we did a local show to celebrate [Clarity Record’s] birthday, and we got to our fifth birthday and thought ‘let’s do something a bit bigger.”
“We had this idea to do a multi-venue festival, so we gave it a go and people seemed to really enjoy it, so I decided to keep it an annual thing and expand from there.”
Now in its third year, with more bands and venues involved than ever, the festival has actually become easier to curate. “We’ve been able to coordinate it a bit better,” says Footy. “It’s built up a bit of a name now… a lot more bands are keen to play, [so] it’s easier to get the line-up we want.”
Apart from a few artists like Sreamfeeder, Hockey Dad and Cosmic Psychos, the line-up has been kept deliberately local. “Another reason for the festival is to try and expose as many local bands as we can,” says Footy. “Keeping it free gives people the opportunity to move between venues a lot easier, and it eliminates the excuse of people not being able to afford to go to a show.”
“I know it’s a tough time, and sometimes people can’t afford to go out and see a live band, so hopefully this gives people more of an opportunity to go out and see some.”
It's not just Footy's dedication to the cause that allows the event to be free. “Venues often waiver their costs, and we get a little bit of funding which helps pay the bands,” says Footy. “We’re just open with the bands, we say ‘we can only pay so much because it’s a free festival,’ and the bands are always understanding.”
While Clarity Records has a focus on hardcore punk (Footy's band Stolen Youth has helped shape the local scene since forming in 2000), the festival has been designed for all music tastes. “On our own [Clarity Records] label, we have a wide range of music outside of punk and hardcore,” says Footy. “And then rolling over into A Day of Clarity, we want to incorporate more than one style of music.”
“We want to attract people of all different music tastes, for people to go and see the music they enjoy, but also possibly discover different types of music they didn’t know they liked.”
The huge list of names on the poster suggest how much work goes into the festival, made even more impressive that it’s done by one individual. “There are definitely people that help out during the day, [like] bands that bring their own gear, or help with the promotional side of things,” says Footy. “[But] the organisation side of it… I do pretty much all of it myself.”
“This year’s I started booking in October 2016, so six months in advance. It feels like once I’ve finished one it’s almost time to start booking the next.”
This year’s festival also doubles as a seventh birthday party for Clarity Records, which Footy owns with his wife Laura. The same hard work and passion that goes into A Day of Clarity goes into the store as well. “One thing that helps is our enthusiasm for music and the local community,” say Footy. “We do work really hard in order to make it work, and without that work ethic we probably wouldn’t survive.”
The resurgence in vinyl has also been key to their success, which wasn't just luck. “Before we opened the shop, because I worked at another independent store, I could see that vinyl was gaining momentum, but it hadn’t quite hit just yet,” says Footy. “Without the increase in vinyl sales I think independent record stores across the board would find it hard to survive.”
Despite all his hard work, Footy won't be seeing much music at the festival. "I don’t usually get to see much on the night, I usually have to run around from venue to venue, making sure everything’s running smoothly." With any luck he might be able to catch a few."I really want to see Cosmic Psychos, West Thebarton Brothel Party and Hydromedusa."
Even if he doesn't see any music on the day, he'll be sure to have a smile on his face. "Everyone knows everyone somehow in Adelaide, especially in the Adelaide music scene,” says Footy. "It's almost like putting on a massive festival with all my friends... it’s just awesome... it’s a day where everyone gets to hang out and have fun."
A Day of Clarity is a free event and will be held on Saturday May 20 in various venues across Adelaide's east end.
More info available here.
Check out Yewth's ADOC 2017 Spotify playlist below: