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Behind The Scenes At Fred Again..’s Timber Yard Pop-Up In Melbourne

25 March 2024 | 3:45 pm | Ellie Robinson

Venue director Gideon Luber describes the chaotic, yet historic celebration of dance music.

Fred again.. at Timber Yard

Fred again.. at Timber Yard (Supplied)

More Fred Again.. More Fred Again..

Before he performed three sold-out shows at Rod Laver Arena, Fred again.. treated hardcore fans in Melbourne (Naarm) to a pair of incredibly special pop-ups on Saturday March 2 – a morning show at Revolver Upstairs and a nighttime gig at Timber Yard, both of which were pulled together on just hours of notice, and presented to fans through a WhatsApp group.

The latter show was undoubtedly a career highlight for Gideon Luber, venue director for Timber Yard, who first heard from Fred’s team just over 24 hours before the show itself kicked off. He was shoulder-deep in work on another show happening on Saturday (Reminisce House at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl) but opportunities like this only come once in a lifetime, so naturally he swung at the pitch.

Here’s a timeline of how all the pieces of the puzzle came together...

  • 6pm, Friday March 1: Luber receives the game-changing call from Fred’s manager, asking to host a pop-up show at Timber Yard in 24 hours.

  • 8pm: Fred’s team visit Timber Yard, ensuring every detail was meticulously scrutinised. The venue’s team then waited anxiously for the go-ahead.

  • 10pm: Multilateral negotiations are underway ,and after fine-tuning the details and ironing out negotiations, they were officially given the greenlight. It was all systems go.

  • 11pm: There was a corporate event taking place that evening, so they had to wait for bump-out before they could get going on the Fred again.. setup.

  • 1am, Saturday March 2: Design and scope get sorted. Timber Yard’s team sat with Fred’s team to assess the available equipment and plunge into the technical rider, unravelling the equipment needed.

  • 2am: With the framework starting to take shape, the teams made the call to call it a night, knowing full well they had to bring their A-game the next day to pull it off.

  • 8am: For the next few hours, the phone was ringing non-stop as the Timber Yard team hustled to rally a crew, craft a custom stage, and secure every essential resource to bring the event to life. It was a race against time, but they were determined to make the magic happen.

  • 11am: Crew hit the ground running, ready to build, but discussions about stage size were still in full swing and they were figuring out what could be pulled off in record time.

  • 2pm: Fred announces his show at Timber Yard and tickets sell-out in less than two minutes. After the announcement, a few hundred people wait outside the venue with signs, in the heat, hoping to see Fred’s car arrive. 

  • 5pm: Sound and lighting were primed and ready to go, before handing over the reins to Fred’s own front-of-house team.

  • 6pm: Fred and his opening act, Skin On Skin, arrive. Meanwhile there’s a 600-metre line of eager punters waiting to get in.

  • 7:30pm: Doors open and it’s showtime.

Speaking to Purple Sneakers, Luber explained that his and his team were racing the clock to make the show work on such short notice – they only had 12 hours to plan the setup before Fred again.. announced the show, and “seven oft hose hours were in the middle of the night, when all of our crews and suppliers were offline and asleep”. But they were determined to make it work: “This definitely did not stop us from blowing everyone’s phones up, hoping to get some responses.”

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Luber says the biggest challenge faced by the team was “building a full-scale production, booking 130 staff, buying bar stock and procuring all of our event infrastructure within a few hours of the show, when every business is closed over the weekend. Thank God, [you can] drop the name Fred again.. to pretty much anyone in our industry [and] they indeed drop everything to be a part of the show.”

According to Luber, the biggest highlight of the whole experience was “the moment Fred walked into the warehouse for the first time” and the team were able to witness his reaction to their efforts: “He was so genuinely excited to play such a highly anticipated show to his biggest fans. He literally walked right up to the decks and started pumping tunes to a completely empty room.”

The experience gave Luber and his team some tangible education, too. He said of the biggest takeaways they have from the show: “We really learnt the power of how good our networks and industry relationships are when you get an opportunity like this. It takes a such a well-oiled machine of experienced professionals to pull something like this off in such a short turnaround.

“Depending on and trusting our suppliers, friends and staff during the whole process was a huge learning point for me – without them, this event would not have been what it was. It’s a genuine testament to what our industry does when we work together at such a high level.”

Another key moment for Luber happened after the show, once the venue was all cleared out, when he visited the green room to check on Fred and his team. “They were all sitting around laughing and drinking,” he says, “reminiscing on the last 24 hours and how incredible the show was. Fred came straight up to me and said how impressed he was that we could take this huge ask and turn his concept to a reality. We sat and chatted for about how much he loves Australia, and then gave our entire team tickets to his arena shows that week. He is just a genuine good bloke!”

Reviewing Fred’s first show in Sydney on March 12, Jessica Lynch wrote for Purple Sneakers: “More than just playing the hits, what's most impressive about Fred again..’s live performance is his ability to curate a unique, free-flowing experience catered to the vibe of each individual crowd. He's not just performing – he's conducting an emotional journey, one that left Sydney fans walking away counting down until the next time they could do it all over again.”