After the mania of its inaugural winter edition, Freedom Time is gearing up for another round of sun-kissed loopiness in the ‘drome. This is the frisbee ring of festivals: it’s light and colourful, doesn’t injure you when you mess up, and keeps on spinning so long as you’re willing to throw down. The New Year’s Day party at Coburg Velodrome has become well loved for its clever programming, which typically features a significant disco and house component. Broadsheet is proud to be the first to announce the festival’s very special summer line-up.
In years past Freedom Time has hosted Sadar Bahar, Floating Points and Theo Parrish; this year the crew is bringing along another dance-music treasure in the form of Larry Heard.
Chicago-house legend Heard (aka Mr. Fingers), is one of the true greats of electronic music. Over a more than 30-year career his productions have served as inspiration to DJs and producers around the world. When his contemporaries in Detroit were cranking out techno that rode on the jagged, motorik edges of Kraftwerk, Heard brought soul and groove in the form of expansive, celestial productions. His tracks floated like Jupiter’s rings compared with the destructive meteor-shower raining down on the motor city at the time. Heard will bring his live PA and VJ show along as his spacecraft.
Heard has said he was heavily influenced by prog-rock and jazz in his earlier years – fittingly, Melbourne’s Krakatau and Perth’s Phil Stroud join him on the line-up, bringing their own synths, psychedelia and percussive workouts.
Post-disco and boogie hero Leroy Burgess will be joined by Harvey Sutherland and Bermuda for a very special collaborative performance. Burgess began his career in the early ’70s with soul group Black Ivory, and you’ve most likely heard him sing lead on Convertion’s Let’s Do It without realising it. Just try and wipe the grin on off your face when the rubbery bassline of Heartbreaker” starts wriggling around. Sutherland will be putting together a special expanded band, the All Star Freaks, to play with Burgess.
For those who like heavy, loping basslines as their soundtrack for summer, Freedom Time is bringing over Jamaican dancehall originator Johnny Osborne. There’s no Sean Paul, Kevin Lyttle or Popcaan without this guy. Although originally recorded by the Delfonics, the influence of Osbourne’s version of Ready or Not is the blueprint for the Fugees’ version and the Aphrodite remix. The guy’s about to turn 70 and despite entering that sunset phase, he’ll likely be keeping the vibe very green.
Expect eclectic selections from Swiss DJ Sassy J, whose sets are as much about expanding horizons as moving feet; and Bradley Zero (boss of London record label Rhythm Section International), who’ll be hosting a special label showcase of hand-picked locals.
These are just a few of the highlights of this summer’s line-up, so abandon hopes of keeping your linens wrinkle-free on new years day.
Freedom Time Melbourne
Coburg Velodrome, Coburg North
Mon January 1, 2018
Larry Heard aka Mr Fingers
Leroy Burgess & Harvey Sutherland
Sampa The Great
Silentjay & Jace Xl Band
Heartical Hi Powa
Freedom Time is presented in partnership with Crown Ruler and PBS.