Freedom Time is gearing up for its first round of sun-kissed loopiness in Sydney, having become a favourite of the summer festival schedule in Melbourne and Perth. 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 party has become well loved for its clever programming, which typically features a significant disco and house component. Broadsheet is the first to announce the festival’s very special summer line-up for its inaugural harbour city outing.
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 to 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.
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. Just try and wipe the grin 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 the soundtrack to their 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 almost 70 and despite entering that sunset phase, he’ll likely be keeping the vibe very green as the brown grasses of summer start to show.
Expect eclectic selections from Swiss DJ Sassy J whose sets are as much about expanding horizons as moving feet; and Rhythm Section International label-head Bradley Zero, who will host a special label showcase of hand-picked locals.
There will be bangers courtesy of Ben Fester and party rascals Adi Toohey, James Greville and Earl Grey, care of Rimbombo. Hiatus Kaiyote’s Nai Palm will provide a soulful breather just when you need it.
These are just a few of the highlights of this year’s line-up, so give up on keeping your linens wrinkle free come January.
Freedom Time Sydney
Manning Bar & Gardens, Camperdown
Sunday January 7, 2018
Larry Heard aka Mr. Fingers
Leroy Burgess & Harvey Sutherland
Freda & Jackson
Silentjay & Jace Xl
Inner West Reggae Disco Machine
Freedom Time is presented in partnership with Crown Ruler and FBi Radio.