"The truth is, the future of UNIFY in its current form is not certain and that’s why we haven’t addressed it up to this point."
UNIFY Gathering has issued a lengthy update on the regional festival’s future following the announcement of the new touring event, UNIFY Off The Record.
UNIFY Off The Record is coming this May and June with smaller yet great line-ups playing in far more intimate spaces than the signature stomping ground of Tarwin Lower.
Hitting Mackay, Adelaide, Wollongong, Hobart, and Frankston, Unify Off The Record 2023 features a diverse line-up of Australia's premiere heavy acts, including ARIA chart-topping Northlane, Thy Art Is Murder, Thornhill, Make Them Suffer, Teenage Joans, In Hearts Wake, Alpha Wolf, Ocean Grove, Yours Truly, Void Of Vision, Redhook and more, as well as one international outfit in American deathcore band Fit For An Autopsy.
Over the Easter long weekend, organisers responded to disappointment about the replacement for the original UNIFY in a candid Facebook post.
The statement is an update on the uncertain future of UNIFY that covers “the spiralling cost of infrastructure in a remote site”, amongst other reasons why the remote event is becoming too difficult to host.
“Thank you to so many of you for your support for our UNIFY ‘Off the Record’ Tour taking the music of UNIFY around the country. It has been tremendous to see the support for something new and a little different.
“Since we launched this run of events, it has become clear that some people are disappointed this isn’t the full UNIFY experience at our home in Tarwin Lower. We understand and we know how attached people are to the Gathering, we love our annual pilgrimage to Gippsland,” the statement reads.
“Put simply, we’re not doing Off The Record instead of UNIFY Gathering, we are doing it instead of doing nothing, along the way giving opportunities to artists to perform at a time when it’s increasingly financially challenging to tour and play shows.”
The post continues with the following acknowledgement, “Many of you have asked what all this means for the future of UNIFY Gathering. We want to be completely honest with you. The truth is, the future of UNIFY in its current form is not certain and that’s why we haven’t addressed it up to this point.
"We have faced many challenges with UNIFY including running a multi-day event that is so exposed to crazy weather (remember the wind and the rain shutting down the mainstage while parts of Gippsland were on fire), the impact of that weather on our insurances and the spiralling cost of infrastructure in a remote site and we need to find a ways to work with these issues before we can bring the Gathering back to South Gippsland. We will leave no stone unturned as we work to bring the festival back, but as of right now, it’s impossible for us to commit to a 2024 return.
“What we can tell you is this: we love UNIFY Gathering, and we want it to return more than anyone. But if we’re going to have a strong future, we need to be patient and avoid risk.
“For now, we will have the UNIFY vibe with Off The Record so get some mates together, get in your car and come and camp or visit towns you may not usually visit. We hope to see you on the road - supporting UNIFY and all of the artists joining us on our tour.”
You can buy tickets to UNIFY Off The Record here.