Artwork by Josh Evans
University students are meant to be opinionated and proactive, so when they see something that isn’t quite right, they get their baby boomer costumes on and head to the complaints office. Let’s sneak into some mailboxes and see what’s going on. This is real correspondence. Reality TV dreams it could be this true-to-life.
I’m not sure if this is the right email to direct this letter to, considering this was the closest contact I could find for general queries, but I wanted to write about what happened at today’s Laneway stop in Adelaide.
Before I get to that, however, as a faithful attendee for the last two years, I will say that I was extremely happy with the line-up and I was able to see many, if not all, of the bands on the line-up without much hassle. There weren’t any clashes between the more important bands out of my shortlist, so I can only trust your collective tastes for what’s in store in 2014.
However, I’m probably not the only one to point this out, but there was one major problem that stopped many attendees (myself included) from being able to enjoy or even see some of the bands in the festival, whether out of first-time curiosity or being a fan of the band’s work. Since many of the more well-known bands on the line-up were lined up back-to-back on the Courtyard stage, this made it virtually impossible for other people to make their way to Fowlers’ Live, especially as the Courtyard is the only way to get to the Fowlers building.
I will acknowledge that security closing off the gate that divides the Courtyard stage and the remainder of the festival site to prevent an overcrowding of people in the Courtyard stage area is a more-than-reasonable solution, especially during the ‘peak time’ of the festival, and in cases of people being too impatient or ‘rowdy’ while watching a band behind the gates or waiting to enter the Courtyard area to make their way to the Fowlers stage, a little intervention is understandable, albeit a little extreme.
However, when security have closed off the ONLY route to the Fowlers building, that creates trouble, disappointment and (what I can imagine to be) an assumed “lack of support” from the artist’s end (I definitely imagined this to be the case with The Men, one of the few bands I missed out on seeing because of the major traffic jam, although I’m willing to be proven wrong if anyone was able to see their set in the Fowlers building.) I wasn’t particularly fazed myself, but I think the decision to put most of the headliners back-to-back on the same stage that shares the only entry route with a smaller stage was a rather poorly thought-out one, in my opinion.
Since the Adelaide stop’s wrapped up, here’s something I think the organisers for my city’s stop should consider: if several popular headliners are going to be sharing the same stage back-to-back, and that particular stage happens to be next to a smaller stage that can only be accessed by walking through the “bigger headliner” stage, then I think alternate access routes to the smaller stage should be considered, so people who legitimately WANT to see those bands playing there don’t have to wait several hours behind a closed-off gate because of a full-capacity reach in the “bigger headliner” stage, only to be turned away or miss out on one of the many bands they wanted to see. Personally, I think the UniSA + Fowler site is a perfect place to hold Laneway, although I’m slowly gravitating towards the camp of people who think that Adelaide’s Laneway should be held on a bigger site in future years. I also think that my suggestion might be a little far-fetched or impossible considering Adelaide, but I’m hoping it’s something that’s considered. I’d rather not hear about accidents or riots occurring as a result of being forced to wait behind the gate that’s the only access route to one of the stages.
I apologize if my letter comes off as a little erratic or passive-aggressive, but it’s something I feel a little strongly about. Well, that and I did have a pretty good time tonight, so I’m still struggling to put this in a more succinct manner. Regardless, I hope this situation is brought to light when you guys organize the next Laneway festival and that something is done about it. I also look forward to what you guys bring to the table at the end of this year before the next Laneway comes.
We’re aware of the unfortunate situation at the Adelaide event where people weren’t able to see every band that they wanted to.
Whilst we’re fairly sure there’s nothing we can say that will make up for the disappointment you’re feeling, we do think it’s important to let you know why this happened.
Firstly, there are capacity restrictions imposed by the event’s liquor licence, which we must comply with (this is why we specify the restricted capacity issue in the ticketing terms and conditions of sale). Once the maximum capacity is reached, the area has to be closed. In addition to this, there were an excessive number of fence jumpers, which put an extra strain on security on the day.
Laneway Festival Adelaide has always been a challenging event to execute and unfortunately we haven’t yet been able to find a suitable new location that is both cost effective and capable of accommodating the audience numbers, which vary greatly from year to year (in fact, we’d welcome any suggestions you may have for a new site). That aside, we are committed to coming back next year and delivering our best event yet.
We hope that you were able to enjoy any number of the other amazing bands that were not playing in the restricted area on the day.
THE LANEWAY TEAM
DEAR PETRA STARKE
After reading your article about Generation Y, and the article from the Sunday Mail called Spoilt little brats, I felt a little offended. Perhaps instead of jumping on the generation-bashing bandwagon we should look at the circumstances and context. This incident involved students involved in a pubcrawl. Pubcrawls are a way for hard-working students to take time off from their intense study-load. Study-loads appointed by universities who chalk up HECs debts that take a decade or more to pay off, whereas for people studying 20 years ago it was free.
As for the sense of entitlement, I understand where you’re coming from, but I have witnessed this attitude from all kinds of generations. I have worked in retail for a few years now and generally the sense of entitlement stems from baby-boomers. Not all of them are like this of course, just the majority of those I’ve encountered.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending the idiots who smashed cars or caused a public nuisance, but if we are judging people on those counts, what about The Clipsal? That was an entire weekend of enduring a mass amount of noise pollution and multi-generational drunken obnoxiousness, but no one said anything because of all the money it made. I think that’s a double standard.
And finally I’d like to point out the journalistic fallacies found in the article Spoilt little brats. The title is heavily sensationalised. I know this is done to sell papers, but The Advertiser doesn’t have any competitors so this is unnecessary. Stereotyping and generalising are two major journalistic fallacies that students are told to avoid while writing. It is also dangerous to use, because labelling groups of people is a bad habit. I’d hate to see newer journalists, who have studied hard and learnt the ethics needed to handle the job throw it all away because that’s what their predecessors do. (Obviously I’m not talking about your article, since it was an opinion piece anyway.)
If we want to set a better example for younger generations then we should reflect it through all aspects of life, including media.
Bridget Fahey Hodder
Thanks for your email, I always like getting feedback on columns, particularly when people take the time to write a well thought-out response as you have done.
I will take issue with you on a few points though (hope you’re sitting down, I’m about to go on a bit here…!):
Firstly, I have to admit to being really rankled by Australian students who complain that university education isn’t free. It hasn’t been free since 1989, which means that much of the current professional workforce has paid for their tertiary education – it’s not some injustice solely perpetrated on Generation Y.
As you know, tertiary education in Australia is funded by HECS which allows students to defer payment of uni fees until they’re earning more than $49,095 a year. The average HECS debt is $15,200 and is paid over 8.3 years, working out to a paltry $1831 a year. That’s $152 a month, or about $38 a week. I’d be willing to bet you pay more on your phone and internet bill, or on clothes or going out than you do for HECS – and keep in mind you don’t even have to pay anything until you’re earning over the threshold.
Furthermore, if you move overseas once you finish your uni degree and earn your income over there you can pretty much get out of paying HECS altogether. This is one of the reasons why the government currently has a $6.2 billion unpaid HECS problem. That’s $6.2 BILLION worth of university education that students are basically getting for free – because they haven’t paid for it.
Complaining about having to gradually pay back a university loan when you are actually reaping the benefits of it with a well paid job, instead of getting it all laid on for free, is a classic example of the overblown sense of entitlement Gen Y seems to have that was the subject of my column in the first place. If you want an unfair education system look at America, where you won’t even get through the gate of a university without a whopping stack of cash in your bank account.
Secondly – newspapers are full of stories every day about people being a public nuisance, being drunk and smashing cars, it’s general police news. It’s not true that such behaviour was ignored at the Clipsal, several stories were written about this exact topic; I’d point you in the direction of this column by my colleague Tory Shepherd: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/opinion/shepherd-counting-cost-of-social-events/story-e6freabc-1226595002779
Thirdly – I can’t speak to the decisions made by the editor of the Sunday Mail on last week’s front page story or headline, but I will say that your idea that it and The Advertiser don’t need to have strong front pages to sell papers because they don’t have any competitors is absolutely incorrect. Just because there aren’t any other metropolitan newspapers of equal size in Adelaide doesn’t mean we don’t still have to engage our readers and grab their attention, and report what’s going on around them. By your logic we could just put a headline reading “NO NEWS TODAY” on the front page and we’d still sell the same amount of papers – this is obviously untrue.
It’s also untrue that the Sunday Mail and Advertiser don’t have any competitors. In 2013 newspapers compete with all forms of media – TV, radio, internet. In a way, our newspapers are even competing with our own news websites! With readership of hard copy newspapers declining, it’s even more important to make sure the stories we present our readers are newsworthy, interesting and engaging.
Finally, I appreciate that pub crawls are a fun way for students to have a break from study, however given uni has only been back for a handful of weeks this year I’m not sure that is the most defensible reason for the AUES’s latest event…! Maybe wait until after exams or graduation, when you actually have something to celebrate?
From your email it sounds like you’re studying a journalism degree. If that’s the case, keep up the hard work and best wishes for the rest of your study – I hope to read your byline somewhere one day!