n just its third year the Perth based festival expands to the east coast and New Zealand with a lineup that diverges markedly from its bass driven beginnings.
The brainchild of Perth promoters Joel Gambin and Zac Montague, Hidden began in Perth in 2017 with a lineup made up entirely of dubstep and drum and bass artists.
The newly released 2019 lineup is a noticeable departure from the festivals early theme with a greater rap focus highlighting a desire to cater more broadly to the desires of audiences nationally.
Bass still finds itself well represented on the lineup with the likes of LA based Dj and producer Kayzo, Australian artist Godlands, dubstep trio Gentlemens Club and British producer Troyboi, who returns for the first time since 2016.
Melodic LA based producer CRAY is the final electronic addition to a lineup that is sure to divide the more bass loyal Perth crowd.
Perhaps the biggest non-electronic addition to the lineup is that of American mumble rapper who insists he isn’t a mumble rapper Lil Yachty.
Yachty finds himself joined by Atlanta rapper J.I.D and Florida based Ski Mask the Slump God whose debut album Stokely dropped only a few days ago.
The festival kicks off in Auckland, Brisbane and Sydney in late February, before making it’s way to Perth on March 3rd, returning to it’s home at Belvoir Amphitheatre.
This year’s lineup reveal has received a very divisive set of responses from Perth punters – some seem absolutely stoked, and others not so much.
What began as a festival designed to cater for all the bass-heads of Perth has transformed in a very short period into a lineup seemingly intent on catering the more widely followed musical trends nationally.
With little indication from Hidden about the changes to this year’s lineup the disappointment from many local dubstep/bass music lovers is understandable.
As with all big changes however, it's important to put them into perspective with the general direction all Australian festivals are travelling in at the moment.
Taking a festival to a national level is not easy. Not only do promoters have to go to greater lengths to book artists but they need to actively consider the environment in all the cities the festivals tour in, not just Perth.
While the bass music cultures in Sydney Brisbane and Auckland is by no means non-existent they do not have a large enough following to sell out an entire festival billing with solely those artists.
Perth has an incredibly bass-heavy culture, and a lineup that might sell fantastically here would have no chance to moving the same number of tickets anywhere else in the country.
This presented organisers with a tough decision.
Either step away from their founding principles and diversify, or stick to them and risk the nationwide potential of their festival.
This is about a lot more than appealing to your traditional audience. When the livelihood of your festival is at risk, difficult choices need to be made, and it seems Hidden believed it was most sustainable to take the path of diversification.
While many will see it as another blow to Perth’s ever-struggling bass culture the change in direction for Hidden should ultimately prove successful for the festival’s long-term success.
Only time will tell, and we here at PinkMilk will be paying close attention to how everything begins to unfold next year.
Once again thank you for taking your time to read, we hope you enjoyed and as always we’ll see you next time.