One stage, no clashes: The story of FOMO

Words by Isaac Selby

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Ahead of the upcoming sold-out FOMO Festival featuring RL Grime, ZHU, Kaytranada, Post Malone, SZA and more, Yewth spoke to the co-creator of the event and BBE founder Anand Krishnaswamy.

Anand is what you would consider a mainstay in a fickle industry that generally doesn’t cater to longevity. After beginning his career in the music industry working as the touring manger for Fuzzy, he started the touring company BBE in 2013 with his business partner (and wife) Jessica Krishnaswamy. The past 5 years have been a particularly volatile time to run a music festival. We’ve seen the demise of heavyweights like the Big Day Out, Soundwave, Future Music; festivals that for many years successfully catered to a diverse range of music-fans. What we’ve seen succeed since then has been a range of festivals specifically catered to select demographics. Enter FOMO.

 Anand Krishnaswamy

Anand Krishnaswamy

 Photo taken by Zenneshia Butts.

Photo taken by Zenneshia Butts.

The mission statement for the festival was simple:

“Let’s just do something really simple and take away the things we didn’t like about going to music festivals, like sound clashes, having your two favourite artists playing at the same time and losing your friends in the crowd.”

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Each event is a one stage affair. It’s a concept that makes sense in a saturated market riddled with indecisive concert-goers, exorbitant taxes placed on booking international artists and the consequent increased concert ticket prices we’ve seen in recent years. An approach that has made festivals such as Laneway successful has been their ability to book acts right on the cusp of blowing up in a big way. The FOMO crew have successfully managed to pull this off for the upcoming installment of their nation-wide touring juggernaut.

Canadian beat-wizard Kaytranada will be making his Adelaide debut on the tour.

“A lot of the artists that we book for our festivals aren’t the kind of artists that you would see headlining at big festivals around the world and that’s what we’re all about.”

The two most obvious examples found in their 2018 lineup are Post Malone and SZA, artists with increasingly expanding profiles that you will no doubt be seeing in large font on festival posters for years to come.

“At the end of the day what we want is for these big international artists to come to Australia, and for the kids to be able to afford it. “

Convincing Australian audiences to attend shows can be a difficult business, many events struggle to sell tickets early unless they have an established reputation for selling out tours. Once this happens tickets frequently begin appearing online for exorbitant prices, something that the FOMO crew have recently gone public about in an attempt to stop people from getting ripped off while trying to buy a ticket to see their favourite artists.

“It’s a pretty difficult trend to buck but we’re trying to take as many proactive measures as possible, to curve that by doing things like limiting how many tickets can be bought per transaction and increasing the identity proof that people need to show to access tickets. Our message to scalpers is just don’t do it, don’t be a dickhead,” Anand says.

Though it may seem that starting your own music festival would be a lucrative prospect, the reality is often complex and riddled with uncertainty with a myriad of unforeseeable factors that can affect the events success.

“The music industry is fucking crazy. Every day you learn something new, you’re frantic all the time, it’s risky as hell, it’s scary, it’s exciting, it’s frightening. You have to be pretty mad to do what we do, but I feel that the people who are most successful in this industry are the people who are incredibly passionate about music. I look at Laneway Festival, Grooving the Moo, Splendour, all the massive successful festivals still care about the music and that needs to always be at the forefront of why you’re doing it.”

Passion for music is something that Anand and Jessica have in endless supply, constantly finding themselves battling it out in the name of musical superiority.

“We fight about music all the time, who’s record is better than whos? As long as your passion is driving everything, the money and everything else will work itself out.”

With their humble beginnings and undeniable enthusiasm for the future of Australian music festivals it’s easy to barrack for FOMO.

“We started BBE with a $1000 in our bank account, sitting on our couch almost 5 years ago and now we have this music festival. Initially people were like 'dude you’re fucking crazy it’s not going to work', but the kids have responded, so for us we really want to make a point to deliver for the young people who aren’t being looked after and make it the best event we possibly can.”

FOMO takes place Sunday, 7th January at Elder Park (16+)

Lineup

RL Grime
Kaytranada
ZHU
Post Malone
SZA
Tourist
The Kite String Tangle
Drezo
Stööki Sound
Nina Las Vegas
Dena Amy

FOMO details here.

Pre FOMO DJ mix listenable via Yewth here.