Soundwave Vs. Stereosonic

Posted by Bars And Nightclubs on 21/8/15.

Cue the drum roll and loud gasps here, as I’m about to do the unthinkable and compare two of the most opposite music festivals in Australia. You may ask how I came to this predicament? Well, I was just thinking about the fact that the lineup for Soundwave is going to be revealed soon, and how excited I am to find out which bands will be rocking the stages next year. Coincidentally, while I was reminiscing over the past three years I’ve been to Soundwave, my friend happened to mention that she was excited to go to Stereosonic at the end of this year.

I’m not much of a Stereosonic fan myself, but I couldn’t help but conceptualise over how different both music festivals are; they are pretty much the exact opposite in everything they stand for. My curiosity became more apparent as I began to ask people what they thought of each festival and what features stood out to them the most.

Okay, so I’ve decided to start with Stereosonic, since most people I know have attended the festival. From what I hear, it is jam packed with DJs working their decks and pumping a range of commercial music, trance, dubstep and hardstyle tunes, depending on which stage you check out. DJs generally comprise of local and well-known international acts, such as Armin Van Burin, David Guetta, Calvin Harris, Avicii, Timmy Trumpet, Will Sparks and so on, although the number of international acts has dwindled since they’ve began investing more time into their own solo concerts in order to make money.

The minute you get to Stereosonic, you are overwhelmed with all the fluro banners and cops surrounding the place, just in case somebody gets a little too hyped up in their euphoric state and attempts something crazy. Stereosonic also generally attracts young adults, mostly 18 year olds who are fresh in the clubbing scene, although there are some older people as well. You’ll see all sorts of cultures there, and most people will be raving and breaking it down with some killer dance moves. Of course, limited clothing is a must; the girls are usually clad in short shorts and crop tops, or even bikinis since the latter is still too covered up for their tastes.

Women also wear daisies in their hair, and the men wear singlets that barely cover their nipples. Let’s not forget the trademark fake tans and ‘shredding’ craze – you cannot hope to really get into the spirit of Stereosonic if you haven’t done at least a thousand sit-ups and crunches beforehand so that those abs can grate cheese. Expect to hear a lot of ‘omg bro’; it is a catchphrase that most people use when they get really pumped up about the music and then drink themselves into a stupor.

I personally feel as though Stereosonic is more about the image; most people invest a lot of time and effort to get that iconic Stereo rocker look, and the music, alcohol and drugs loosen everybody up so that they can enjoy themselves. However, when you look at Soundwave, its nature varies – it is comprised of rock, punk and various metal genres, and most bands generally encourage their listeners to actively interpret and unravel the meanings embedded in their music.

Of course, a lot of people also drink up at Soundwave and there is a lot of headbanging, moshpit circles, pushing and shoving involved – after all, the intensity of the music revs the crowd up and depending on the genre (particularly the heavier ones, hard rock/heavy metal etc), people become more aggravated and rougher as a result. Crowd surfing is generally banned – but that usually doesn’t stop this determined bunch, who will do anything to get the attention of their favourite bands and prove just how passionate they are about them.

However, most regular Soundwave rockers (including me) know that most people really do have each other’s backs in the moshpit – and the adrenaline is so empowering, as people really connect to the band they’re seeing live. The band usually reciprocates their gratitude to their fans by putting all their energy and effort into their sets. Nothing in the world can compare to the sound of authentic instruments as they powerfully shape both the nature of the song being played and the emotions felt by both the band and their fans.

Soundwave is an all-ages event, which means that it also has a larger age demographic than Stereosonic; teenagers, young adults and middle aged people are all encouraged to rock it out hardcore. It’s also very multicultural, and the ‘Soundwave look’ is extremely distinct; people adorn themselves with band tees, skinny black jeans or shorts, chucks or hardcore lace up shoes/boots, and let’s not forget the heavy eyeliner, dark shades of lipstick, excessive tattoos and piercings galore.

The crowd here wants to make a statement: they don’t give a fuck about what you think and they will not conform to mainstream society. They are of the alternative breed, and tend to come across as outlandish, extreme and eccentric to the mainstream breed, and they love it. If you can put your prejudices aside and just be yourself, you will definitely enjoy this scene with other like-minded individuals. Most Soundwavers will invite you in with their banter about their favourite bands, and as long as you’re open-minded, most of them will embrace your enthusiastic spirit.

Both Stereosonic and Soundwave are two different environments, and as much as I’m a biased Soundwave lover, I think it’s worthy to give both festivals a shot. As long as you can loosen up and have fun with good company and a few drinks, you will love the hyped up atmosphere and exciting vibes that emanate from both festivals.

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