For the curious,
and especially for those who may find this website confusing, or occasionally out of date, here is a summary of the policies, operations and general gist of Format Collective Inc.
Lifted, for the most part, from the introduction to the 2012 Format Festival Programme Guide.
What is Format?
Format Collective is a group of artists, writers, musicians and party technicians loosely based around the Format Zine Shop in Adelaide’s CBD. Aside from the zine shop, we’re responsible for monthly-ish exhibitions, regular live music gigs, random acts of public art, a nifty lo-fi recording studio and this here annual Format Festival.
Each member of the Collective is autonomous, answerable to nobody and nothing but a vague sort of consensus. Everyone does their own thing with the space, and once a week we all meet up at the shop to let each other know what we’ve done and to whom we should be apologising. If you were to assign Format an ideology it would be “anarcho-situationism” or “techno-libertarianism” or “neo-leisure revivalism” or “naive post-entertainment-utopianism” or “party-to-survivalism”.
Do you guys get paid?
lol, no. Sometimes we’ll nab 20 bucks from the til for cabfare or chicken nuggets. Format is run by volunteers, so almost all the money goes to artists and the rich folks who own the building.
What do you sell here?
Zines, records, drinks and nice times.
Can I have my Birthday Party here?
What’s with the attitude man?
Sorry, we’re just tired. Most of us study, or have real jobs, or belong to a generation that is more comfortable relating to people via smart phones than IRL. We’re actually really, really nice people, and we’re more than happy to show you around. Also, you’re already kinda drunk and there’s like five people in line behind you.
What’s the point?
Cultural theorist Ray Oldenberg coined the phrase “The Third Place” (later appropriated by the Sony corporation), referring to the places where humans gather between work and home. “Leisure”, in so far as it has been supplanted by post-capitalist “entertainment”, is almost always reliant upon ostensible cues (visual art, live music, cinema, theatre) for its legitimacy. Format – by its provision of independent media, live music and experimental art – is in effect reviving the lost practice of tribal leisure. Also, we need to sell drinks to pay the rent.
1. We're still looking for a place
2. Format Festival is Back
3. Format Records is doing surprisingly well
4. Other business
Item 1: We're still looking for a place
It's been, what, a year-and-a-bit? What did we do? We crammed a two-day festival into an abandoned factory, we confused some Burnside mothers, we recorded some albums, we took back Port Adelaide, we staged a fake rave for and on behalf of the metro fire service, we stormed Ancient World, Nexus, The Coffee Pot, Co-West, the Metro, all the share-house backyards, all the zine fairs, all the glamorous Sunday afternoon DJ slots. Some of us got jobs, some of us went back to school, some of us made movies about poo transplants, some of us chose a righteous warpath, some of us just kind of walked the earth, dancing, kissing strangers, stapling things, lurching from one snorkel to the next, bloodstained, confused, restless.
In between all this we spent a lot of time with real estate agents. Some of them were nice. Most of them saw us coming. The first place we looked at was too small. The second place we lost out on due to an imaginary rival bid, the third place was too small again, the fourth, fifth and sixth places were all full of snakes, the seventh place was a four-month wild goose chase that in the end wasn't even on the market. We're now on our eighth place. It's a nice place, but it ain't cheap. Fingers xed the our building code guy says it's feasible. He will, and you'll be the first to know, we promise.
Item 2: Format Festival is Back
Most of you would have noticed that we've scheduled another DIY Festival, October 2-6, around the long weekend. This will be our sixth, depending on how you count them. Even if we have a permanent headquarters by then it probably won't have a liquor licence, so we're talking to a bunch of venues all over town. Pat brought a whiteboard from officeworks just so we can keep track.
Oh, and you should make a poster. Preferably with yellow-and-black stripes. We've been thinking about switching our brand identity from hot pink to yellow-and-black. Or is that too 24 Hour Party People?
Every Tuesday we'll be holding weekly Festival planning meetings at the Exeter from 5:30. Know anything about planning a festival? Neither do we! Help!
Item 3: Format Records is doing surprisingly well
You'll forgive our current obsession with Wireheads. Their debut album is our first physical release, and we're pret-ty, pret-ty pleased with it. The critics approve too, which is nice. Stay tuned for more obsessions, including new releases from Old Mate and Regional Curse (ie your friend Stacey Wilson, ie Rites Wild, ie one of the Terrible Truths). Like the facebook page please.
Item 4: Other business
We have a board! Format had a board already, but this board is more like a proper board! With smart, largely grown-up people who understand things like "money" and "fiduciary duties". Here are their names in bold, with oversimplified semi-jokesy pigeonhole descriptions.
Jennifer Greer Holmes (chair) Creative producer and tequila enthusiast
Will McRostie Something something "wunderkind"
Lara Torr The sensible friend you needed when you were 22 and living in an abandoned warehouse
Lily Jacobs Renew Adelaide Boss, Thought Leader
Steph Crase Melbourne-based promoter, guitar warrior \m/
Stan Mahoney (Managing Director) Amateur party technician
Tim Horton Puckish Sydney-based architect, clotheshorse
Collective. Here’s what’s going on this summer.
THE END OF EXILE
First thing’s first, Format Collective is getting closer to a new venue (probably). Just waiting for the owning classes to get back from Majorca or wherever so we can get down to brass tax. Can’t talk about the specifics - all we can say is that we’ve narrowed the search down to two or three properties, all of which are better than the false starts we had to deal with last year.
Thanks again for not lynching us. We want to get this right so we can build something serious enough to last, big enough for Thee Oh Sees, weird enough to be worthwhile.
Needless to say the Opening Night Gala will be SOME party. Mid-priced champagne and summer dresses and semi-ironic suits and firm handshakes all round. Then we’ll proceed to destroy the place with another impeccably curated festival nightmare. Codename: OPERATION OVERLORD. Iacta alea est! Retake the city! Choke her streets with blood and asbestos and sticky pink soda!
A couple months ago Saint Jerome himself asked Format to curate an all-day event as part of Laneway Festival in sunny, post-industrial Port Adelaide. We said, “How much will you pay us?” They said, “Money.” We said “Okay then.” Cue some stellar local artists, some sort of wholesome family barbecue situation, handball, badminton and half a dozen of the best local and ex-pat bands we can muster.
We’re calling it PORT LAND in vague reference to both the nautical venue (the historic Waterside Worker’s Hall, home of Vitalstatistix Theatre Company) and the the stubborn mutant hipster strain running through Format's DNA. Stay tuned to the facebook page for details. PS The Port isn’t as far as you think guys. Investigate the train, or tune up the old treadley and make a day of it.
SOME OTHER THINGS
We’re keeping things simple in the lead up to The Return From Exile but there’s still a couple things simmering. Following up his work with locals Swimming and Wild Oats, Chief Sound Engineer Pat is working on a few recording projects for Wireheads and, later in the year, a new Old Mate record. That long-awaited live compilation is nearly packed and ready for Bandcamp too.
We’re also hosting an exhibition for Grid Festival - a new, city-wide visual art festival celebrating some of the best artist-run stuff in town. Grid Projects is made up of some formidable art-school nerds - you would be wise to pay attention to them.
Creative Director Alex is still tweaking the business side of Format Records, but right now his major focus is securing a ready supply of Club Mate from our suppliers in Germany. Club Mate guys. When was the last time you nailed a Club Mate and danced to Destiny’s Child til 3am?
Patience, Collective. Patience.PS You would be wise to come to the Hotel Metropolitan on Grote Street this Sunday January 12 from 4pm. There'll be free drinks and chips and gravy and we'll figure out which vital role you'll be playing in OPERATION OVERLORD, or any other major Format ops for that matter. Plumbers, carpenters, accountants and people with vans are especially welcome...
Hello internet, time for another edition of...
E X I L E
ITEM ONEOverall, being jackhammered out of your home is a pretty rubbish experience. Nevertheless, the upshot has been a string of landmark events, including some pretty huge live shows, some great visual art and more than a little bit of discussion about the history and future of Adelaide subculture. Thanks to all the venues who've helped us out so far - Tooth & Nail, Nexus Cabaret, Renewal SA and the Metro Hotel especially.
And a huge thank you to the artists and musicians who've chosen to walk the scorched earth with us - Timothy Tuppence, Derek Sergent, Swimming, Old Mate, Bruff Superior and Summer Flake to name a pretty random selection. Bubblegum punks King Tuff came all the way from California to play for us, along with the likes of Lobbiaz from France and Per Purpose from Brisbane. Brisbane even! Thanks a bunch guys. Hopefully next time you're here we've got a nice place for you to play in.
Format's Festival of Unpopular Culture returns in October, co-presented by the nice folks from the Adelaide Festival of Ideas. Full program details soon-ish. Meantime what we can tell you is that New York psychedelic performance artists Prince Rama are confirmed for the Closing Night Party at Nexus Cabaret, supported by Melbourne's Terrible Truths, Making from Sydney and local pop minimalists Swimming. Prince Rama are pretty pretty pretty fancy - after the Festival of Unpopular Culture they're playing the Melbourne Festival. Have you played the Melbourne Festival? That's what we thought. See about some cheap early-bird tickets HERE.
ITEM THREEOn the real estate front, we've narrowed the hunt down to two potential properties in the city. Live music is a tricky thing to set up on a regular basis, not least because you need a crazy set of planning approvals. FUN FACT: practically any new venue in the Adelaide CBD needs to commission an "acoustic report", which is usually upwards of three and a half grand. Three and a half grand amounts to a lot of cardboard and blu-tak for folks like us.
Then there's legal fees, development approvals, insurance - all before you even make that first phone call to your cousin's friend's fiancé who one time watched a youtube clip about installing a regulation 90cm-wide aluminium tray urinal.
In light of all this, we've been running a crowd funding campaign aimed at paying for the fit-out of our new home. We're about half way there, but there's still a long way to go. You might never have set foot in Format, you might never have bought a zine or seen an exhibition or danced at a show, but if you think that Adelaide deserves a safe, permanent space for weird, fun, independent, artist-run subculture, then click the following garishly-coloured link.
A dollar or two shouldn't make a huge difference to one person, but if a few hundred of us put in just a couple bucks each, then Format will have the opportunity to help all kinds of strange flowers bloom in and around what might otherwise be another abandoned place.
You can donate as little as one dollar, but every donation over ten dollars gets a reward. Choose from a compilation of rare live music, handpicked packages of zines, collectible stone relics from the original Format Basement - even a three-month term as Night Mayor of Adelaide (complete with inauguration ceremony presided over by the actual Mayor of Adelaide).
If you can, please share this post as much as possible. The faster we reach that funding target, the sooner we can get on with the task of supporting all the weird subcultural stuff that means the difference between a proper city and a shopping mall.
And now here's our pals from Eightlimb Films with the weather.