Australians love their music festivals, after all, what better way to spend time with mates, kicking back, listening to tunes and just having the time of your life? In fact, the only downside to the whole process is having to pick which festival you want to go to, especially since Australia has so many huge festivals each year, bringing with them plenty of local and international acts.
With one of Australia’s largest music festivals, the Tamworth Country Music Festival, only a matter of months away, we’ve decided to take a step back and have a look at all of the music festivals that Australia has to offer, that make the most of our ‘wide open plains’ to pack in huge amounts of music, and create experiences you don’t see anywhere else.
Tamworth Country Music Festival
The Tamworth Country Music Festival is the biggest and oldest music festival in the country, with many Australian music lovers marking the fest down as a must-see event for each of its 46 years – but it brings as many new fans and artists as old flooding to the music hub, now luring over 50,000 people every day. The festival’s renown extends overseas too, even being named one of the coolest festivals in the entire world by Forbes.
The TCMF is set to kick off its 2018 edition from January 19th to 28th, lasting 10 days and bringing 700 artists to Australia’s country music hub, with 2,800 events on offer and the streets swarming with music. Better yet, you don’t need to buy a ticket to attend, and 70% of those events are completely free.
Of course, many fans will probably be drawn in by some of the absolute country icons on the bill, which this year include the likes of Kasey Chambers, John Williamson, Troy Cassar-Daley, and Lee Kernaghan, but it’s also the perfect place to check out some of the country’s best emerging talent like Fanny Lumsden and Tori Forsyth.
It’s no surprise that Australia hosts one of the biggest country music festivals in the world, either, considering how ingrained the genre is in our culture, and how successful some of our country icons have been. As we gear up to hit Tamworth, we’ve looked at how country became one of the most important genres in Australian music – check it out below.
January 19th – January 28th, 2018
Tamworth, New South Wales
More info: Tamworth Country Music Festival
Splendour In The Grass
Splendour In The Grass is undoubtedly the closest thing that Australia has to a big-name alt-rock fest like Coachella and Lollapalooza, with 30,000 people descending on it for four days. Every year, for a few days in July, thousands of Australians and international visitors descend upon New South Wales’ North Byron Parklands to be serenaded by some of music’s biggest names.
Just in case you missed this year’s festivities, Splendour In The Grass 2017 featured some sets by the likes of Queens Of The Stone Age, LCD Soundsystem, Haim, and Sigur Rós. Impressive.
Falls Festival is an Aussie institution, with punters traditionally making their way to Lorne, Victoria for a brilliant few days of music since 1993. In the ensuing years, Falls Festival has expanded, now reaching Marion Bay, Tasmania, Byron Bay, New South Wales, and as of last year, Fremantle, Western Australia, making it one of the most expansive music events in the country.
With plenty of international acts making their way to the country each year, this is always a one fest where you’ll see some future stars in action. Next year’s event features the likes of Liam Gallagher, Fleet Foxes, and legendary hip-hop duo Run The Jewels making their way to Aussie shores for a set of intense shows.
Beginning life as the East Coast International Blues & Roots Music Festival almost three decades ago, Bluesfest has since become one of the premier music festivals in Australia for lovers of blues, rock, and roots music – and one of the biggest festivals in the country. Taking place annually in Byron Bay over the Easter Long Weekend, Bluesfest has become a true staple of the musical calendar, bringing in huge names each year.
Just in case you’re wondering about the sort of pull that Bluesfest has, we only have to tell you that Peter Noble and co. have somehow managed to lock down rock royalty Robert Plant (of Led Zeppelin fame) for the 2018 event. They mean business, that’s for sure.
Wide Open Space
About to celebrate its 10th year in 2018, Wide Open Space is one of the best-kept secrets on the Australian festival circuit – despite being so damn big. Okay, so it may only host a select number of punters each year (think hundreds, not thousands), but it does so in the sprawling wilderness of Central Australia.
It’s a long way to travel, but for anyone who’s game, it offers an experience like no other in Australia.
Beyond The Valley
Beyond The Valley is easily one of the best way to spend New Year’s Eve. Whether you hate being forced to go to your workmate’s backyard party, or if you just prefer spending your time at festival’s there’s no better way to ring in the new year.
Featuring a pretty sweet mix every year of rock, electronic, and hip-hop, Beyond The Valley delivers a well-rounded festival experience for the modern music lover each year, with 2017 bringing the likes of The Presets, Matt Corby, Stormzy, and legends of the acid house genre, 2ManyDJs.
St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival
St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival, or just ‘Laneway’ for short, is still the indie-lover’s gig of choice – despite being one of the biggest touring festivals in the country. It may not pack the open plains of some of these other behemoths, but it definitely brings huge numbers of fans each year, and equally big lineups. If you love your guitars fuzzy, your vibes chilled, and your beats fresh, then this is where you want to be.
With previous years featuring some absolutely huge names, next year also features a typically stellar lineup also, with BADBADNOTGOOD, Slowdive, The War on Drugs, and Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals slated to appear around the country at the end of January.
Hiding out in the middle of the bush for over two decades now, Rainbow Serpent brings over 10,000 to Beaufort, Victoria each year for four days of non-stop music – as in, the music literally runs 24 hours a day for four days. Size-wise it may not be the biggest, but no other festival can match it for the sheer number of choons pushed out each day and night.
The festival draws a long list of big local and international acts each year from an array of electronic styles, with 2017 boasting names like Shpongle (UK), Hallucinogen (UK), Astrix (IL) and heaps more. While Rainbow Serpent has come under fire recently after some unfortunate drug-related incidents, it’s had an otherwise great run for over 20 years, and is one of the mainstays of our festival scene.
Groovin The Moo
Groovin The Moo is easily one of the greatest additions to the festival calendar in recent years, and it takes the big touring festival vibe of something like Laneway, but places is out in regional locations, while also being on of the highlights of the year when it rolls into Canberra.
Taking place in that sweet spot in the year when big names aren’t usually otherwise booked, Groovin The Moo takes an array of local and international acts to areas often overlooked by music fests. Lucky punters this year saw names like Against Me!, The Darkness, and honorary Aussies The Wombats touring the country, playing unforgettable sets to eager fans.
Woodford Folk Festival
Rather than your usual music festival, Woodford Folk Festival in Queensland does things a little differently, packing in everything from art, crafts, cabaret, and comedy, to a huge range of music of all genres, as well as all ceremonies and celebrations of first nations people, and talks from a range of respected speakers.
Running for over three decades, it really has morphed into an eclectic and all-encompassing cultural festival, now running from December 27 – January 1 and involving over 2000 performers and more than 400 events across 30+ stages – now that’s a seriously big festival.
Tamworth Country Music Festival 2018
January 19th – January 28th, 2018
Tamworth, New South Wales
Adam Eckersley Band
The Viper Creek Band
Plus many more