Rule of Thirds, Belgrado and California Girls: Half Strange Fest Is Bringing Full Fun to Adelaide

Listen to a Half Strange mix that includes Bent, Theta, Cured Pink and Orlando Furious.

05 August 2016, 1:26am


South Australia has long celebrated a strong festival culture - between 1981 and 2008 car licence plates proudly declared it the Festival State - but until now they’ve largely been ‘Friends of the ABC’ and blanket/hamper type events.

There will be few hampers at Half Strange.

A new three day festival to be held the first weekend of October, Half Strange is the idea of local musicians, Celeste Aldahn and Harriet Fraser Barbour. Both had attended enough festivals to know what works and what doensn’t when it comes to assembling bands and music fans in one spot.

The two have managed to gather some of Australia’s most interesting acts including locals Wireheads, Rule of Thirds and Fair Maiden, out-of-towners Bent, Spotting, California Girls and even Barcelona’s Belgrado.

NOISEY is stoked to be helping present Half Strange and we are excited to see so many cool bands over the weekend.

Read a chat we had with Harriet and Celeste and listen to a mix that they put together for us.

Noisey: Where was the idea for Half Strange born?
Celeste Aldahn: A mutual love for music and an obsession with productivity, possibly born from boredom and restlessness, or in defiance of the projected/adopted (definitely real) sentiment that nothing ever happens in Adelaide unless you make it happen. As well as this, it is serves simply as an excellent excuse to pull your favourite musical projects from their respective corners of the country/planet not only to create one big rock and roll school camp, but to share meals together, have adventures and continue to create and foster a broader creative community.

Was it modelled on any other festivals?
Celeste: Not specifically, but our own personal experiences both in an organisational role and also as a punter at countless other festivals giving us insight into the kinds of things that could work and the kinds of things that don’t. I love fests using single venues with multiple stages over one day. It feels like it’s a little civilisation of rockers and freaks. But I also really love bigger fests that use different venues, like New York’s Alright, it offers some freshness to your day or evening. Not that this was modelled on that fest, or any other to be honest, just it’s a parallel to another festivals I really enjoyed. Spreading it out seemed like a fun challenge that would keep it interesting

Both you are musicians. What have you learnt about playing on other festivals?
Harriet Fraser Barbour: That musicians really are what make these events happen, i.e. without them you/we would have no festival, so you gotta take good care of them you know, not treat them like the intermission slot.

The line-up looks great. Who are you most excited about?
Celeste: The California Girls LP has probably been my most listened to Australian release over the last few months. It’s really cute, dorky, emotional, love it. And Gus is so super tight live.

Harriet: Bent from Brisbane remain one of my favourite bands in Australia at the moment as well as, the return of local dark wave synth horror movie soundtrack inspiration outfit Deep Red!

It's cool that you are holding in three different venues. The Riverside Rowing club sound interesting?
Celeste: The rowing club sits on the Torrens, which runs through the Adelaide CBD. There’s a few rowing clubs along this river, maybe a little indicative of the conservative/traditional kind of culture that is incessant in Adelaide. The Riverside Rowing Club itself is a really traditional affair, we’ll be decking it out in collaboration with local visual and media artists, but as it stands the walls are covered with rowing memorabilia, seemingly all male in recognised athletes, wooden plaques etc.The main selling point for us was it’s scenic location away from night club hustle and bustle but still incredibly central. The big beautiful balcony overlooking the river is perfect for a spring afternoon.The river is beautiful, but totally toxic, romantic and filthy. In true Adelaide style, it plays a central role in many unsolved murders or missing persons, babies and adults.

In a city the size of Adelaide is it difficult to get people to support a festival like this?
Harriet: Yes. There’s a ceiling on how many people attend events and keeping this in mind plan to keep the whole weekend super ridiculously cheap and accessible. We’re hoping it’s diverse enough that people will want to party all weekend.

Celeste: Our friends from Ancient World, a small bar for outcasts and misfits, have put on the great Lost City festival. In 2013 it was in an abandoned and gutted department store, totally decrepit and falling apart. But the festival was grand in scale: Thee Oh Sees, Robin Fox, Sleep Over, Sky Needle, Rites Wild. Lots of Australian and Adelaide locals, weird art shit, actual children hosting their own DJ hang out zones inside of cardboard boxes.It was actually the best festival I’d been to. The following week I went to ATP in a weird giant sports hall and I felt deflated and sad that it had a better attendance than Lost City

Harriet: So in a sense, Half Strange is an experiment. Because if Adelaide continues to struggle to support or embrace the innovative DIY underground music community around them, even when it is presented at an easy, affordable and accessible event such as this, then it’s no wonder that our creative artistic folk migrating interstate to bigger cities is such a familiar story. At least we can say we tried!

Half Strange 2016

Fri Sept 30 - Format
Orlando Furious (Bris)
Deep Red
Joy Sparkes

Sat Oct 1 - Riverside Rowing Club
Fair Maiden
California Girls

Sun Oct 2 - The Metro
Goon Wizzard
The Skids (Melb)
Rule of Thirds
Spotting (Melb)
Second Sight