Dec 20, 2016
Whatever your taste in tunes, there’s a music festival for you.
America has Coachella, England has Glastonbury – and when it comes to music festivals, regional Australia knows how to party with the best of them, writes Julie Miller
Tamworth Country Music Festival, NSW
The granddaddy of Australian music festivals, Tamworth is a quintessential experience for bootscooting, Akubra-wearing music fans. Held over 10 days in late January, it features performances from 700 acts across 120 venues, from buskers hoping for their big break to headliners such as The McClymonts and Lee Kernaghan. Held in January every year.
Byron Bay Bluesfest, NSW
Australia’s premier roots festival gets bigger and better each year, with legendary acts like Santana and Patti Smith set to grace the stage in 2017. Held at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, this Easter event attracts up to 100,000 revellers with more than 6000 camping on site and town accommodation at a premium – book early! Held over the Easter long weekend every year.
Photography: Evan Malcolm
Gympie Music Muster, QLD
As Aussie as Waltzing Matilda, the Gympie Muster began in 1982 as a charity fundraiser, since raising more than $14 million for rural causes. Held in a State Forest and with camping and mateship as its focus, this popular event features performances from Australian country legends as well as featured international acts. Held in August every year.
Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay, NSW
Another classic Byron experience, it stacks up with Glastonbury due to its headlining acts (The Strokes and The Cure in 2016), celebrity pull and, more often than not, mud! Community-based and camping-focused, the three-day event at North Byron Parklands also includes performance art, interactive installations and a comedy club. Held in July every year.
Image: Mitch Lowe
Woodford Folk Festival, QLD
This not-for-profit, six-day event is the most iconic folk and alternative lifestyle festival on the calendar, attracting up to 120,000 peace-love-and-unicorn revellers to its Sunshine Coast parkland setting. The program includes theatre, dance, environmental talks and a children’s festival, with its hippy vibe and community spirit all-pervading. Held in December every year.
Meredith Music Festival and Golden Plains, VIC
Twice a year, the rural town of Meredith is transformed as alternative music fans descend onto a pop-up venue located on farmland. It is typified by free-range camping and one stage, with highlights including the all-nude Meredith Gift sprint (December) and Neil Finn headlining the 2017 March festival. Held in March (Golden Plains) and December (Meredith) every year.
Southbound, Busselton WA
Why should the east coast have all the fun? WA’s biggest music festival showcases top alternative Australian acts as well as its Margaret River locale, with markets, food stalls and local wineries all getting in on the act. Held in December every year.
Groovin the Moo, various states
A travelling musical roadshow through regional Australia, with six venues: Oakbank, Maitland, Townsville, Bendigo, Canberra and Bunbury. Approaching its 12th year, it features a mix of local and international acts, with previous highlights including Silverchair, The Black Keys and Flume. Held over April and May every year.
Big Pineapple Music Festival, Sunshine Coast, Qld
One mammoth day and night of music, free carnival rides and overnight camping at the legendary Big Pineapple on the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Three stages feature established as well as up-and-coming Aussie acts; and although a relative newcomer on the festival scene, it sells out well in advance. Held in May every year.
Falls Festival, various states
Celebrate New Year at one of four regional beachside venues: Lorne, Victoria; Marion Bay, Tasmania; newcomer Fremantle, WA; and festival junkie, Byron Bay, NSW. Featuring top Australian and international alternative acts (London Grammar and Childish Gambino lead 2017’s lineup), this event is beloved by hip young things, with a focus on sustainability giving it the environmental nod. Held December-January every year.