April 20, 2009

Summer Rocks : Music Festivals in Australia

As the thermometer starts to rise Australians turn their thoughts to the beach, BBQs, summer holidays and music festivals. The amount of music festivals that are held in the summer months in Oz seem to increase every year. The increase is fine with me. I like nothing better than spending a day with my friends listening to fantastic music meeting new people and experiencing the best of summer.

The festivals now cover all sorts of music from folk to funk, dance to heavy rock so everyone is catered for. Here are of some of the best.

Summer kicks of with “Homebake” in Sydney. A celebration of Australian music whose tickets are as rare as hens teeth but it’s a brilliant day. Music of all genres and tastes are represented here by Australia’s best.

The Falls festivals are held simultaneously in Lorne in Victoria and Marion Bay in Tasmania. The 3-day festival helps send the old year out with a bang and welcome the new year with a visceral howl. Featuring international and local rock acts that perform at both venues. This is one for the rock fans. Flying into Avalon Airport or Hobart Airport and hiring a car is the easiest way to get to Lorne or Marion Bay. This also guarantees a place for you to stay at both venues (that’s if you get kicked out of your tent for snoring).

In Brisbane as the world wakes up to a brand new year BBQ Breaks shakes the River Stage. No time for rest as some of the finest dance music in Australia is on offer. A lazy afternoon, by the river, reflecting on the year that’s past.

My personal favorite is the Big Day Out. This is a touring festival that takes in all capital cities except for Darwin and Canberra and even crosses the pond to Auckland, New Zealand. With new acts, legends and the hottest bands in the world, covering rock hip-hop, dance, folk and metal this is truly a big day. Friends of mine have even done the Big Road Trip and followed the festival around the country.

Festival survival guide - Some things that will help you have a great day.
  • Water- really this is the top priority above all else. Its easy to dehydrate when your having so much fun.
  • A Meeting Place- Very important as you can get lost very easily. This place also needs to be easily found by everyone.
  • A small tip: Don’t expect your mobile to always work. Technology is a wonderful thing but when 40,000 people are all texting and calling at the same time the networks get backed up. Most text messages arrive hours if not days later so have a back up plan.
  • Transport – Be it a hire car or your own wheels. For festivals that go overnight or a couple of days it provides a safe lock up for your things and also a great meeting place.
  • A rain poncho- Keeps you dry this is obvious.
  • Sunscreen and hat – Keeps you from turning in to lobster and ruining your day. Many venues are without much shade so this can be very important.
  • Anti-bacterial Hand Gel – ‘Porta-Loo’ need I say more
  • Re-sealable plastic bags- Great for storing mobile phones and cameras
  • Cash – Not too many ATMs and they run out of money easily.
I try not to be to regimented in who I want to see play now at festivals as you can uncover some amazing music if you just go with the flow. Years ago I was lucky to watch a new band by the name of Coldplay who played early and to relatively small numbers. They now fill stadiums.

So grab a couple of friends, secure your tickets early and get ready to celebrate summer and great music.

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