It’s no secret that NSW’s Blue Mountains has been a mill of great music in recent years. In addition to its scenic landscapes, it’s also a hotbed of musical talent, boasting a bustling scene that’s spawned some of Australia’s best loved bands and artists.

Now, a new Australian music festival is set to celebrate the region’s unique music scene. Kicking off in Katoomba on Saturday, 27th February at Scenic World, Off The Rails Festival will feature some of Australia’s most in-demand acts performing amid the sights of the Blue Mountains.

Kicking off its debut year local heroes Thundamentals, Urthboy, Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders, Peaks and a few more will be bringing the party on Saturday February the 27th.

We spoke to Scenic World’s Head of Marketing and Events, Amanda Byrne about how it all came about and just what makes Blue Mountains such a fertile found for musicians. For tickets and info visit the Off The Rails website.

How The Festival Came About

Scenic World is celebrating its 70th birthday and we wanted do celebrate everything that is awesome about living in the Blue Mountains – our connected community, talented creatives, epic landscapes, good times and an outdoor lifestyle. We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate our birthday than a Summer afternoon, listening to great bands in the fresh mountain air.

How Long The Festival

We’ve been working on this for the past nine months. We are creating a new venue for the event so there has been a lot of planning with various bodies to get it right, but it’s totally worth it to bring a new event in a new venue to the Mountains.

On the flipside its been amazing working with our local creative community on everything from headlining bands through to which local beer to serve. We also had a lot of fun developing what we call our Festival mascot – Howie the Yowie. There has been a lot of Yowie sightings in our part of the world – and he kind of just found his way in to our promotion.

The Response To Off The Rails Festival

The Blue Mountains has never had an event like this before so the local community is hugely excited, and the awesome line up is drawing people from all over Sydney. The bands are really pumped to be playing together on their home turf – an opportunity they rarely get. It will be a bit like a homecoming event for some of these bands which is going to create an electric atmosphere.

I think Poncho from the Thundamentals summed up the Mountains vibe perfectly – “Mountains shows are always loose, Im looking forward to the atmosphere….the Mountains crowd is great because they are just there to have fun , there are never any fights or alpha nonsense – just good vibes.”

Biggest Lessons Learnt

Probably ask me after the event! We have such a great team here with some really interesting backgrounds, so whilst this type of event is new to us here at Scenic World, there is a lot of collective event experience within our team.

Everyone has been pitching in to help out and of course we are learning a lot along the way . There is a lot of red tape involved in this type of event – so getting in touch with as many or your local authorities as early as possible is probably the golden rule.

How The Lineup Was Curated

We are committed to promoting local talent – so it was important that all the line up be homegrown . There is so much incredible talent coming out of region, I think we’re known for our hip hop but there are some really diverse styles of music going on up here. So who better than Thundamentals, Urthboy, Jack Ladder and the Dreamlanders – and new upcoming talent Peaks?

But it’s not just the talent that is homegrown, our friends from SAMA (Street Arts Murals Australia) will be creating live street art demos , while you sample the latest brews from Katoomba Brewing Company and Hillbilly Cider. Even the festival food will feature the best of Blue Mountains fare.

The Location: Scenic World Facility In Katoomba

Yeah I know it seems like an unusual venue for a festival – which I guess is what has appealed to so many people. We have such a great history here – the site was once a coal mine and when it closed in 1945, a smart man called Harry Hammon thought visitors would enjoy riding into the Jurassic rainforest in the Jamison Valley on what is still the steepest train in the world. Today the attraction is run by his grandchildren and is the most visited privately owned tourist attraction in Australia.

Scenic World has a strong connection for many people growing up and living in the mountains – in fact a few of the musicians playing have worked at Scenic Word in various roles over the year which is pretty cool. Urthboy even jokes about his days doing dishes at Scenic World!

The venue inspired the name of the event – Off The Rails – and seeming we’re throwing the party, the party is at our house!

What Makes The Blue Mountains Such A Special Place

Everything! We have an amazing community in the Blue Mountains, there’s always so much going but we are small enough to have that sense of connection, with a little bit of healthy village rivalry in the mix ! Our environment is just breathtaking – epic escarpments, lush rainforests, stunning waterfalls and waterholes to swim in. I drive to work every morning and look at the Jamison Valley and just feel so lucky to live here. This is a great opportunity for us to celebrate our local community – and showcase it to our visitors.

Plans For 2017 and Beyond

Mmm well this is planned as a big one off celebration so don’t miss out! The event has certainly been very welcomed, sparking a lot of discussion about lack of large scale music events in the Blue Mountains – so who knows?


Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders
+ more TBA

Saturday, 27th February 2016
Scenic World, Katoomba, Blue Mountains NSW
Tickets: Off The Rails

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