The Inaugural Sun Cycle Music Festival Just Made History.

As the sun went down at the Coburg Velodrome on the first day of the new decade it was clear that Sun Cycle would be going down too; in NYD event history. 

The sold-out affair flourishingly forged an undeniable celebration of the New Year with a surprisingly quiet modesty, (when it could’ve easily gotten away with a humblebrag). Sun Cycle is truly worthy of significant praise as it encapsulated a sense of community, artistry, and respect for the environment, culture and individual rights to an unprecedented level. This is even more remarkable due to the fact that it was a New Year’s Day event, which are often known to bring out some of the most degrading qualities in human beings. 

The publicity and branding of the event gave a few clues regarding the atmosphere to be expected of the day. However, the details of it were quite light-handed, allowing for genuine experiences of individual attendees to speak for themselves, and boy did they speak to us. 

Taking aside the idyllic line-up of acts, simply spending a day at the ‘Drome was an experience in itself. The expansive venue with an underpass, huge grassy oval, sandpit fit for a boogie and of course the actual velodrome, made us feel like small kids in an adult-sized playground. Add on top of that; three separate stages, food/alcohol/merch stalls, a hilly umbrella’d beach, plenty of shade, hay bales for resting, and a line of what seemed like one hundred portaloos, and the set up becomes close to faultless. 

The sun was beating down and we were over the moon with the performances from both Australian and international musicians, which produced a highly unique and much appreciated mix of RnB, Hip-Hop, jazz-fusion and electronic sets.

The sonic sensations vibrated throughout the Velodrome making choosing between stages the only real difficulty of the day. Highlights at the Inner Orbit were definitely BIG WORDS, who provided the crowd with their usual high frequency energy and unpredictable instrumental theatrics; DRMNGNOW’s down to earth RnB/ Hip-hop vibe which speaks to the Indigenous Australian culture and history; Freddie Gibbs who literally popped bottles and shouted ‘fuck the police’ after each track brought in the largest crowd of the day; Sampa the Great filled our souls with warmth and passion through her juxtapostion of choir vocalists and raw rap, and finally Floating Points filled the Velodrome with his eagerly anticpated experimental spiritual-jazz.

The Body Heat stage hit hard with favourites CC:DISCO! and international act DJ Seinfeld, who, to an equal degree, sent bodies into a completely carefree dance mode. For a little more of a comforting chill-out boogie, Simmer Down gave the more relaxed individuals exactly what they needed with UMUT’s intimate set, and the well-traversed moody mixed genres from 6AM At The Garage. Take a geezer at the full line-up:

Inner Orbit stage

  • Interstitial DJs
  • Ella Haber
  • Elle Shimada Collective
  • Freddie Gibbs
  • Sampa the Great
  • Floating Points

Body Heat stage

  • Interstellar Fugitives
  • Andras
  • Jayda G
  • DJ Seinfeld

Simmer Down stage

  • College of Knowledge 
  • Adriana
  • Louis McCoy
  • Emma Stevenson
  • UMUT
  • 6AM At The Garage 

With a very progressive north of Melbourne attitude, the attendees of Sun Cycle seemed to all be in high spirits and to be considerate of those around them. The eye-catching styles and out-there personalities which frolicked around the ‘Drome, made for fantastic people watching and gave us some serious outfit envy.

Bringing together the venue, facilities, food, people, and of course, the music, Sun Cycle has made a profoundly exceptional impression that I think many honestly did not see coming. Personally, I think Sun Cycle has made its mark as the superior choice when it comes to NYD festivals.

I’m sure I am not alone in hoping that through word-of-mouth, the success of the event will surely spread around the inner and outer suburbs of Melbourne and beyond; embedding Sun Cycle as an annual NYD tradition at the Coburg Velodrome. 

Images by Natalie Jurrjens. 

This article was written by Tomasina Dimopoulos. When she’s not working in communications and PR, you can find her writing poetry and having a boogie. Follow her on Insta: @tomasinadim & @taste_these_words.

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