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The FM4 Frequency Festival, also Frequency Festival or just Frequency, formerly Vienna City Festival, is a music festival. Until 2008, it took place near Salzburg Austria, usually every August. In 2009, the Festival moved to St. Pölten. It is promoted by one of Austria's national radio stations, FM4, and is generally associated with the alternative part of mainstream music. The lineups accumulate acts of various genres such as rock, electronica and hip hop, usually covering great parts of the German and Austrian alternative, indie and guitar pop scenes, but also featuring well-known international top-acts.
The festival was established in 2001. The first year it took place as a rather small event featuring six artists on each of the two days of the festival.
For 2002's festival the Salzburgring, normally used as a motor-bike racetrack, was selected.
2003 was both a success and a disappointment. One of the major Austrian concert organizers–promoters and business rivals of Musicnet, Wiesen, who are also in charge of famous Austrian festivals like the Jazz Fest, Forestglade and Two Days A Week, decided to have Metallica perform in the stadium of Salzburg, only about 20 km away from the Salzburgring, on the second day of the Frequency festival. Musicnet feared loss of audience due to the Metallica concert and after several days of negotiation, Metallica were booked to headline the second day of the FM4 Frequency festival. Organization was devastating as the masses could not be handled by the security personnel. Logistic and sanitary problems were the result and it was seen by many critics as a miracle that there were almost no serious injuries and not even a single death. Even Musicnet thanked the audience for being disciplined as they were and not panicking when they were stuck in the masses. According to many guests the situation was critical during a rain shower, when the audience was seeking shelter under the tent. It is rumoured[by whom?] that financially the festival was more of a break-even business than a success and Musicnet has refused to supply any information regarding this.
2004 was the back to the roots year, with 40 bands playing on 13 and 14 August. Many fans of the original Frequency festival were disappointed about it becoming just another huge mainstream festival, and so Musicnet tried to reestablish the situation of 2002. Not mainly by allowing less attendance, although ticket contingents were limited now, but by expanding the area and replacing the tent stage by a second open air stage. The festival was overshadowed by a huge storm with winds up to 140 km/h during the first night and constant, intense rain showers during the second day. This severe storm that lasted 25 hours without respite caused many guests to leave early.
2005 suffered from typical problems of Austrian festivals of that year: On the one hand, many last-minute cancellations of band performances, but on the other mainly grasslands getting flooded by rain that had lasted weeks already before the festival began and that largely continued during the festival too. Besides making it virtually impossible to walk through the - at times more than 50 cm deep - mud on the camping sites and on the way to the stages, almost all cars had to be towed to the road by tractors on departure, because they could not move on the parking sites that were exclusively on grassland. Furthermore, the rain was the final reason why a bridge connecting the inner race track (where the main stage is) with the outer race track (where the camping sites are accessible from) collapsed on the evening of the second day. 31 people were injured, although none seriously, but a panic could be averted, mainly thanks to the coincidence that the Red Cross tent was very close to the bridge. The organisers very quickly secured and illuminated the area and arranged pathways for ambulances to come in and pick up the injured. Despite harsh criticism, it later turned out the organisers were not directly guilty of the event. They had hired a construction company that built the fundament of materials not suitable for outdoor use, unlike what had been agreed on. Pioneers of the Federal Armed Forces of Austria (the Bundesheer) constructed a replacement bridge out of aluminium and steel that very night, so that it could be used on the remaining, third day.
In 2007, Die Ärzte, Nine Inch Nails, The Kaiser Chiefs and Seeed, performed between 15 and 17 August. One of the most talked about sets of the festival was that of Nine Inch Nails, in which they were booked between Die Ärzte and The Beatsteaks, meaning that they were booked between two German bands and as a result, were forced to play in front of a crowd who came to see both bands and saw NIN as an interval act. Many people in attendance were sitting on the floor and spoke into their cellphones while the band were performing. This caused Trent Reznor to ask the crowd why they were there and who they were going to see, before asking the crowd if they were booked between two German bands. Some people in the crowd chanted for NIN, with Trent then asking why they were there looking bored when they could see other bands. At the end of the show, the band intentionally destroyed a camera which took a while for the tripod to be replaced.
Reznor later posted on the band's blog that it was their worst show of the tour, with the worst audience alongside a picture of a Bratwurst.
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