Put those puffer jackets away, Gold Coast. Spring is upon us and with that comes festival season good and proper. We’ve rustled up some of the best regional festivals for music-lovers this season and over-flowing into 2019. Hell, it’s a veritable festival feast anytime of year when you love music, food and culture and there’s no shortage of options for those willing to adventure. All that’s left for you to do is see where the wind takes you…
SWELL Sculpture Festival, 14 – 23 September, Currumbin Beach
There’s no other event like SWELL Sculpture Festival on the Gold Coast and while it’s not a music event AT ALL, it galvanises the local artistic community in really special ways. Literally bringing art to life by installing monumental sculptures along the Currumbin foreshore and Beach, SWELL returns this year for its 16th festival. More than 45 artists – local, national and international – will fill more than a kilometre of shoreline, with more than a quarter of a million visitors expected to attend the free, open-air exhibition. There are guided twilight walks, artist talks, life drawing and family-friendly workshops across the ten-day event, which is a favourite for locals and visitors alike. IMAGE Jacqueline Damon, Intuitions. (c) Rowly Emmett
Flavours of Metro street party, Saturday 6 October
They’ve taken things up a notch for this third annual Flavours of Metro Street Party. Not least of which is because they have international touring sensations Tijuana Cartel headlining the music offering but also because they’ve crammed a heap of mouth-watering international cuisine into the offering as well. There’ll be Chinatown street markets, non-stop entertainment and the usual awesome SoPo restaurants dishing up tasty morsels. Ticks a lot of boxes for music-loving foodies with a sense of adventure.
Byron Bay Guitar Festival, 6 – 7 October, Byron Bay Brewery
The Byron Bay Guitar Festival is set to be an industry highlight for lovers of all-things guitar. Produced by Byron Music, the festival is a veritable guitar lovers’ heaven with more than 29 live performances across two stages, a showcase of instruments and craftsmanship from some of the world’s favourite makers as well as workshops, seminars and delicious food and beverage. All set in a brewery! Tickets are just $50 for one day and the stellar lineup so far includes British India + Ash Grunwald + Dallas Frasca + The Fumes + Jeff Martin + Hussy Hicks + Lloyd Spiegel + tonnes more! IMAGE Julz Parker, Hussy Hicks. (c) NJA Photography.
Celebrate Gold Coast, 7 October, Chevron Island
Celebrating everything that makes the Gold Coast so awesome, this one-day festival, which takes over the main drag of Chevron Island includes bangin’ tunes, a silent disco for kids, skateboard lessons for all levels, a makers’ market, roller derby demos and a handmade cubby-house village for little children with big imaginations. Izzy Day, Katie Who, Tully John and Liza-Jane, Caravana Sun (pictured), Karuah, Elska, Old Man Friday and Busby Marou provide the tunes from 11.00am until 4.00pm. No better way to enjoy Spring on the Gold Coast. And it’s all free.
Buskers by the Creek, 13 – 14 October, Currumbin Creek
We’ve been a media partner for Buskers By The Creek since before the first event even happened, so to say we’re enamoured with this creekside festival is an understatement. Award-winning Buskers By The Creek brings glitz, glam, freakish feats, vivacious energy and party vibes to Currumbin Creek every October, this year celebrating its fifth instalment. There’s seriously something for everything – music of all genres – from singer / songwriters to ensembles, quirky circus and cabaret style acts, daring feats of strength and contortion, acrobats, mini orchestras and world-class performers of all ages. It’s completely free, very family friendly, and being creekside means it’s a prime location for spring swims and breezy food truck picnic delights. ImAGE (c) Andrew Pattinson.
Island Vibe, 25 – 28 October, North Stradbroke Island
The name really says it all. Island Vibe is a mini-version of what we all hope the world would be. Set beachside on Minjerribah, otherwise known as North Stradbroke Island, the four-day festival has a focus on global roots and connection between people and place. Held at the tail-end of whale migration season, the venue boasts just a few seconds between dancefloor and the ocean and they’ve laid claim to one of the best weekends weather-wise in the spring festival calendar. The lineup too helps the festival stand boldly as a unique and soulful music-lovers destination. For 2018, Island Vibe boasts a global collection of talent: Katchafire (NZ), Jah9 (Jamaica)(, Mad Professor (UK), Naâman (France), Radikal Guru (PL), Lo Qi (Indo) and Truth (NZ) all make the international trip to be here and they’re joined by Nicky Bomba, King Tide, Kooii, Chris Tamwoy, Darky Roots, Dubarray, The Sunny Coast Rudeboys, Spankinhide, Kimmy and the Crew and scores more. Organisers practice what they preach, too, setting a high standard for sustainability well before the current War on Waste phenomena. You can’t miss the water refill station, bike hire tent, bio-fuel generators, solar-powered stage, composting toilets and recycling centre. They’ve banned single-use plastic cups, straws, bags and catering gear and are committed to not selling or distributing any single-use plastic water bottles on the festival site and throughout back-of-house. IMAGE Darky Roots (c) Lachie Douglas.
Australian Music Week, 7 – 11 November 2019
Part industry conference, part festival, Australian Music Week has laid claim to being Australia’s most grassroots music networking event. As the event takes over Cronulla Beach in November it brings with it hundreds of live performances, the Australian Music Week Film Festival, master-classes, keynotes and panel presentations. And as if you need more motivation, November is a stunning time of year to be in the seaside village of Cronulla with its awesome dining scene, patrolled beaches and ocean pools, as all the music action unfolds around you. To top it all off, a heap of Gold Coast acts have been announced in the first lineup – Ella Fence (pictured), Little Georgia, Hot Wax and Mason Rack Band will all have showcase sets.
Airlie Beach Festival of Music, 9 – 11 November 2019
Now in its sixth year, and fast becoming one of the country’s most popular regional festivals, Airlie Beach Festival of Music does things in classic Whitsundays style. With a massive marquee situated right on the edge of the Coral Sea and another 16 venues dotted throughout the township of Airlie, the lineup is epic and truly diverse. We’re talking Smash Mouth, Marcia Hines, The Church, Killing Heidi, Kasey Chambers, Dave Dobbyn, Melbourne Ska Orchestra, Ash Grunwald, The Mason Rack Band, Electrik Lemonade, Diana Anaid, The Wayward Suns and tonnes more. 74 acts in total make up the bill, which is the exact same number of islands that make up the Whitsundays. Kinda sets the tone, don’t you think?
Mullum Music Festival, 15 – 18 November
With Mullum Music Festival’s final lineup announcement comes an obvious commitment to diversity, community and equality. It’s one of the things we love most about this boutique event which takes over Mullumbimby’s established venues and uses its local food and lifestyle outlets to bolster the festival experience for punters who travel a long way to soak in the vibes. Nigerian Bombino, Guyana’s Mad Professor, Jah9 from Jamaica, and Osaka Monaurail from Japan will bring the music of the globe to Mullumbimby. They join Husky, Cheap Fakes, Arakwal Bunyarra dancers, The Button Collective (pictured), Bobby Alu, William Crighton, Ben Ottweell, Hat Fitz & Cara, Caiti Baker, Gabrielle Cohen, Ladyslug and the Northern Rivers Uke Orchestra on this year’s bill. It’s honestly one of the best festivals in Australia right now and you need to snap up tix quick if you want to be part of the 200 performances across 12 venues.
Shakafest, 24 November, Broadwater Parklands
Following the huge success of previous years, one-day-rager SHAKAFEST has outgrown its original home and relocated to the Broadwater Parklands for Saturday 24 November. Leading the first lineup announcement are Sydney hip-hop collective Bliss N Eso, followed up by Last Dinosaurs, Alex The Astronaut, Bec Sandridge, Frenzal Rhomb, The Chats, Carmouflage Rose and GC local Jesswar . For the laughs, comedian Frenchy is MC’ing the whole event. Plus, his band, Frenchy & The Talent are the first band to be announced on the brand new Rabbit Stage, curated by the one and only Rabbit Radio crew who will also be hosting punk legends Clowns and VOIID. Phew! With heaps more artists plus an impressive lineup of skateboarding talent still to be announced, SHAKAFEST is just getting started. Keen punters can register HERE now for pre-sale tickets until midnight Wednesday 29 August. Tickets start at just $75 for this belter of an event with general public tickets on sale at 1pm local time, Friday 31st August.
Best Night Ever, 28 December, NightQuarter
After a huge NYE-eve party last year with Grinspoon and British India, the Best Night Ever is back at NightQuarter this year with Brisbane garage punk party starters Dune Rats (pictured) headlining in their only show anywhere until 2019! The Dunies have recruited Ratbag Records label mates The Gooch Palms and Totty to join the fun with more very special guests still to be announced. This is one for the fans who can’t face those New Years crowds – Some punters might even treat this as a hefty entrée to their New Year’s bender – any way you spin it, it’s set to be the Best Night Ever! Again.
Under the Southern Stars, 19 January, Broadwater Parklands Gold Coast
Some of Australia’s best rock is hitting the Gold Coast this January, following the success of the inaugural run of Under the Southern Stars shows. This summer will see ARIA Hall of Famers Hoodoo Gurus join forces with rock royalty You Am I as well as The Superjesus (pictured), British India, The Getaway Plan and Scott Darlow for one hell of a summer soiree in Southport. Tickets on sale now via underthesouthernstars.com.au.
Hotter Than Hell, 27 January, Broadwater Parklands
A hellish lineup of legends will descend on the Gold Coast this summer, in a celebration of all things hot in Australian rock. And the lineup is old-school, classic-era festival gold. Hotter Than Hell will brings its touring circus of Australian rock legends to Broadwater Parklands – the perfect spot for a summer festival. Featuring Spiderbait (pictured), Shihad, Jebediah, an exclusive Magic Dirt Reunion, with Killing Heidi, Body Jar, 28 Days and Area 7, the 2017-18 shows sold out, so you might wanna hustle if you want to jump on board the Hell-train this January. Tix here.
Earth Frequency Festival, 15 – 18 February, Ivory’s Rock
Every year we send someone to cover Earth Frequency Festival we’re left with serious FOMO. Not only is this festival a music-lovers dream, it’s also a celebration of all things earth-related with its 2019 installation including a tree planting and week-long permaculture retreat. Earth Frequency Festival dishes up a combination of sonic flavours ranging from progressive, psytrance and techno through to glitch-hop, mid-tempo and live acoustic vibes from the likes of Dub FX (live), Clozee, Birds of Paradise, Luigi Madonna and Ben Coda, amongst others already announced. IMAGE (c) Leigh Kelly.
Bleach Festival, 17 – 28 April 2019
Quintessentially Gold Coast, Bleach* Festival celebrates the city’s best artists and welcomes renowned Australian and international collaborators. Utilising the Gold Coast’s world famous natural landscape as unconventional venues, Bleach* Festival delivers incredible arts and cultural experiences that challenge expectations, change perceptions and provide a sense of place for locals and visitors alike. Bleach* Festival is a uniquely Gold Coast expression of music, theatre, dance, visual arts and outdoor performance. IMAGE (c) Scott Belzner.
Bluesfest, 18 – 22 April, Byron Bay
It seems like the dust has only settled on Bluesfest’s 2018 festival, but organisers have already announced the first of their 2019 artists and the lineup sees a bunch of legends, return favourites and Bluesfest newbies joining the 30th anniversary bill. Supergroup I’m With Her (Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan0 have collectively released nine solo albums, won multiple Grammy Awards and co-founded two seminal bands (Nickel Creek and Crooked Still). They’re joined by Irish Mythen, who returns to Bluesfest – an obvious crowd favourite. Also in the first lineup announcement is Kasey Chambers, Jack Johnson, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Ray Lamontagne, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic and St Paul & The Broken Bones amongst dozens of others. Just a short trip down the highway from the Gold Coast, Bluesfest resonates deeply with music lovers for its laid-back vibes and blues-driven sets, all taking place in the stunning Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm over the Easter long weekend.
Bendigo Autumn Music, 25 – 28 April, Bendigo
Unfortunately you have to wait nearly a whole year for this new event. Bendigo Autumn Music, otherwise known as BAM, is brought to you by the team behind Mullum Music Festival and follows much the same format – that is, it utilises the existing venues and spaces within Bendigo’s arts precinct to bring the town alive. Right in the heart of Bendigo, you’ll experience 30% local content as well as music from around the globe, with no gates, no port-a-loos or bag searches and no endless queues and VIP zones. And it’s all just a short drive up the highway from Melbourne and organisers are promising more than 80 performances over the four-day event, so pace yourself.
Surfers Paradise LIVE, 2 – 6 May 2019, Surfers Paradise
The spiritual (and physical) home of the Gold Coast Music Awards hasn’t yet revealed its lineup for 2019, but it has formally released its dates. Surfers Paradise LIVE will take place right on the beachfront at our city’s most iconic beach from Thursday 2 – Monday 6 May. Quickly building a name for itself as a broad-genre event, catering to multiple generations of music-lovers over the May long weekend, we’ll keep you posted on the lineup as it drops. Gold Coast Music Awards will take place on Thursday 2 May with a live show featuring four of the city’s best bands. IMAGE (c) James Wills.
Blues on Broadbeach, 16 – 19 May 2019, Broadbeach
It’s the biggest free music festival in Australia and it’s become a must-play for local and international talent alike. Blues on Broadbeach will take place 16 – 19 May, taking over the streets and venues of Broadbeach. Stay tuned for lineup details as they’re announced.
Gold Coast Food & Wine Festival, 30 May – 2 June, city-wide
It’s the city’s signature festival of food and wine and as it’s brought to us by the same folks behind NightQuarter, it usually includes quirky and innovative events that really celebrate the city’s evolution as a food destination, with a focus on the fight against food waste. 2019 will be the event’s fourth season and we’re super excited to see what organisers bring to the table.