Features September 25, 2018

Whatever floats your goat – UNDR Ctrl & Motorik are plonking a ‘destination’ dance festival on Sydney’s doorstep

Whatever floats your goat – UNDR Ctrl & Motorik are plonking a ‘destination’ dance festival on Sydney’s doorstep

Making a splash this summer festival season (yes, we’re there again already) UNDR Ctrl and Motorik are going to be showing Sydney what two indie labels can do when they put on an event.

Output is a limited-capacity destination festival that requires punters to go no further than their own backyard.

While boutique events are being announced left, right and centre in places like Bali and Fiji, they’ve taken a local approach, ferrying over 1,500 punters to Goat Island in Sydney harbour for their weekend escape.

But just because it’s close to home doesn’t make logistics any easier, says UNDR Ctrl director Paul Stix. “Make no mistake, it’s certainly a huge challenge!”

Output’s debut on Goat Island in 2017 came together at the last minute – originally booked into another venue, the swap happened with six weeks to go. “If we couldn’t make it work, then it would have been game over for us before we’d even started,” he reflects.

Taking over Goat Island, Stix says location is everything. “I’ve visited Goat Island for many years before committing to hosting an event there. Logistically it’s an absolute nightmare… but nothing in life is ever easy right?! Certainly, the ‘experience’ is a big part of the appeal of Output.”

With a lineup boasting both local and international names such as Mall Grab, Motez, Nicola Cruz, Nyxen, Body Promise, DreemsDJ Seinfeld, HAAi and more, Stix is thrilled that the lineup is only part of the festival’s appeal.

“This year we went on sale without announcing any artists and we had a huge response. That’s super encouraging for the future and shows that even after one year, people have bought into the Output brand and ideas.”

Launching a festival in Australia has been a part of Stix’s vision for UNDR Ctrl, as well as his own personal dream, for a long time. Through the early ’00s when he was living in London, Stix worked for many years on events such as the South West Four, Get Loaded in the Park and Electric Gardens festivals, “so I’ve been itching to arrange my own thing ever since.”

“I’ve worked as the booking agent of the Motorik Vibe Council for about five years now and Output came about very organically through conversations with the guys.

“Our approach comes from 20 years of attending festivals and clubs, and thinking [about] what we would like to consume as punters and which artists we wanna shake it to. Output is certainly a passion project over anything else!”

When it comes to the wellbeing of patrons, Stix says safety is “our utmost priority”.

“… Creating a safe space for our music community is super important. We also must respect the land that we’re using at all times as it is a heritage site and so we’re very diligent in our approach.

“This year we are improving our ferry service to and from the island, utilising larger vessels with a new and improved ingress and egress strategy.”

This year, Output will be opening up a new “microdoof stage” over the other side of the island alongside Canadian label Multi Culti, which emerged from UNDR Ctrl’s long history with Angus Gruzman from Multi Culti – aka Gus Da Hoodrat from Bang Gang DJs – Motorik and Dreems.

“The synergy between Output and Multi Culti couldn’t be any sweeter actually and we’re delighted to welcome them to the woods to spread their positive vibes.

“The stage itself is hidden in the woods, and we’ll be working with the Multi Culti crew to bring their vision to life and create another world within a world.”

For any business who wants to dabble in the event space, Stix emphasises how important it is to “double and triple check that budget, and surround yourself [with] experts in their field. You’re not expected to know everything about everything, so develop a team of professionals and let them help guide your event.”

Related articles