Working away in their tiny $50-a-week Rozelle office for the summer, where the trio often worked shirtless in the heat, they put together a golden run of shows that never failed to draw amazing crowds. "I think that was a bit of a gift and a curse," Huggs says, "because we got so used to everything being so successful and selling out in the first 9 months, it was like we couldn't be stopped."
That confidence led them to host their first festival, OutsideIn, only a year after launching. They programmed a daringly brilliant lineup at Marrickville's Factory Theatre, combining their rostered acts with the likes of New York rapper Smoke DZA, genre-bending beatsmith Shigeto and an on-the-rise Flume, whose double-platinum debut album had just been released earlier that week.
"I think the craziest thing at that festival was going to the green room at the end of the night and Thom Yorke's there," says Huggs. "It's like, what the hell, we're 22 or 23, putting on our first festival, and Thom Yorke's in the green room having a beer. It was just the most surreal shit ever."
After such a stellar first year, the endless highs made way for the full spectrum of success that included some challenging lows. Ambitious plans for future years of OutsideIn met a city that perhaps wasn't quite ready for the cutting-edge, diverse programming they were presenting, and the fourth and final edition of the festival nearly resulted in the folding of the business.
"I think losing that money is where you learn the biggest lessons," Huggs explains. "I don't regret any of that shit, because what I learned from losing that money, I couldn't learn that from a university degree. We changed the way we do everything after that."