UNIFY Forever organiser announces there’ll be no 2023 edition: “We’ve made the call to take a year off”

Following the regional festival's three-day 2022 instalment in March of this year

The organiser behind UNIFY Forever (aka UNIFY Gathering) has announced that it will not host an edition of the regional Victorian music festival next year.

UNIFY shared the news via its social media channels today (November 11), writing that “while [the festival] was one of our favourite shows we’ve put on, we’ve made the call to take a year off.” The organiser concluded the announcement by asking fans to “stay tuned for exciting UNIFY updates early in the new year”, and encouraging them to “support all the other awesome events out there”. More specific details around the festival’s 2023 hiatus remain unknown.

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The announcement comes months after UNIFY hosted its 2022 edition, which saw the festival return to its original site in Tarwin Lower, South Gippsland. That outing was originally scheduled to run from January 20 – 23, but was postponed to a three-day run in March due to COVID-19 surges at the time.

This year’s UNIFY festival boasted an all-Australian line-up headlined by Violent Soho and The Amity Affliction, alongside the likes of  Ocean Grove, Thornhill, Slowly Slowly, Teenage Joans, Short Stack, WAAX and RedHook. Notably, UNIFY 2022 also saw the reunion of Sydney outfit Stories, whose performance at the festival marked their first as a complete band since 2016.

It’s not the first time that UNIFY has gone on a one-year hiatus. In late-2020, organisers announced that it would not go through with the following year’s instalment due to uncertainty around the pandemic, informing pundits at the time that “without enough assurances, the event can’t go ahead in a safe and financially viable way.”

In lieu of that 2021 festival, UNIFY teamed up with radio network The Faction to host a three-day, hard rock radio takeover, which included past and new interviews with UNIFY artists and tracks from past festival performances.

UNIFY’s announcement marks the latest instance of disruption to Australia’s music festival calendar. This year alone has seen the cancellation or postponement of a slew music events due to either COVID-19 or unsafe weather conditions, including: This That, Strawberry Fields, This Is Tomorrow, Output Weekender and The Squeeze, as well as the Canberra and Geelong editions of The Grass Is Greener, and the main stage performances of Splendour in the Grass’ first day.

Stay tuned to NME for more Australia music festival news.

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