Punk and hardcore will never die. Depending on who you talk to, it’s growing. And for many fans of the heavier stuff, it’s the stuff of life.

The team at UNIFY spotted an opportunity and seized it with the launch of UNIFY Gathering in 2015, which kicked off with a community ethos and a hit-‘em-hard music programme (The Amity Affliction, Northlane, In Hearts Wake), all packed into a single stage.

Now spread over three days in picturesque Tarwin Lower in South Gippsland, Victoria, the camping fest has chiseled its place on the calendar and returns in January for its fifth year, with a lineup featuring Underoath, Karnivool, Taking Back Sunday and much more.

TIO caught up with Rhett McLaren (UNIFY Gathering Director) ahead of the 2019 show to discuss its evolution, its community spirit and the source of its heavy music muscle.

Unify Kartent
Unify Kartent

The festival is entering its fifth year. Looking back, how did your existing audience and your wider business inform the shape of the fest?

When creating UNIFY it was — and still is — our mission to create a camping festival for fans of punk, hardcore and metal music with a focus on supporting Australian bands from the scene. Back in 2014 when we were planning, it seemed like a lot of Australian heavy music acts were becoming more popular. The Amity Affliction had released their biggest album yet, and Northlane, Thy Art Is Murder and In Hearts Wake had just become big headliners.