Heatwave Melts Down
Touted as “Australia’s hottest new national hip hop festival”, Heatwave organisers promised a travelling urban music festival the likes of which Australia has not seen before, boasting high profile international artists like Kid Cudi, Tech N9ne, D12, Obie Trice, CrazyTown (yes, that Crazytown) and Chamillionaire, as well as local acts on the bill.
However, it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing. The tour kicked off two weeks ago in Adelaide, and punters woke up on the second day of the three day event to an announcement that D12 had missed their flight and would not be performing that night as scheduled. Promises that the Detroit collective were on their way to perform the next day proved to be unfounded, when eventually they were scrapped from the lineup completely, and the announcement that they wouldn’t be playing the Brisbane show on Tuesday either came only hours before the event began. (D12 have since announced a string of headline gigs all over the country to make up for the missed shows, and word is that the sets they actually made it to in Canberra and Melbourne were pretty effing rad).
This was just the beginning of a flood of setbacks, misfires and fuckups, with security levels being called into question when Adelaide locals Gravity Ponds alleged that knives were waved at them during their set (Gravity Ponds have since retracted this allegation), a Facebook backlash when attendees who had bought VIP tickets (which cost up to $250) weren’t given access to backstage areas, artists meet and greets and exclusive merchandise they were promised, the announcement on the morning of the Melbourne show that the organisers hadn’t arranged a liquor licence, and the entire festival being investigated by the Office of Fair Trading after the Perth event was cancelled completely.
It all came to a spectacular end when delays throughout the day (reportedly due to Chamillionaire not turning up) saw headliner Kid Cudi’s set at the Melbourne show cut in half, then when he refused to cut it down a further 15 minutes, his microphone was literally switched off halfway through a song. Cudi responded to this inexplicable display of unprofessionalism on the part of the promoters by trashing the stage, leaving fans bewildered, frustrated, ripped off, and on the brink of rioting.
Getting big name international hip hop artists down under hasn’t ever been easy – Snoop Dogg was denied an entry Visa in 2007, Mos Def’s ill-fated tour in early 2011 nearly drove promoter Sam Speaight bankrupt, and Reggae festival Raggamuffin was inexplicably canned this year just weeks after the lineup was revealed. But even so, there’s no excuse for the contempt with which Heatwave has treated hip hop fans all over the country. It saddens us that the yet another festival may have followed the disastrous Blueprint blueprint, and promised more than they could deliver.
Luckily, the performances (when they actually happened) were pretty good. Read our review of the Sydney leg of the tour here.