This year marks the 11th anniversary of one of the Gold Coast’s most loved suburban grassroots festivals, the iconically punned Wallapalooza. Taking place annually at landmark Mudgeeraba venue The Wallaby Hotel, the festival is the brain child (and love child, for that matter) of local music identity Andy Clark, with the tireless support of a network of helpers and volunteers, aka the ‘Wallanteers’.
For a festival to reach ‘decade plus’ status is a monumental achievement, requiring endless dedication fuelled by a pure passion for music, which is something that Andy has in spades. Not that he had any idea of its impact and longevity back in the festival’s early days.
“I never thought Wallapalooza would be as big as it is, but I knew the Gold Coast needed something. When I started ‘Walla’ I wanted to create an event that would foster upcoming original musicians. But to sit back now, eleven years in, and see what it’s become is very special.”
Over the course of its journey, Wallapalooza’s format has been fluid and evolving, including some years where Andy would take the show on the road and put the festival on in venues along the East Coast across a month. This year sees Wallapalooza return to its grassroots beginnings, with The Wallaby Hotel playing exclusive host across Friday 13 and Saturday 14 September.
Says Andy on the 2019 version; “I’d made more of a conscious decision in recent times to make the Gold Coast shows the absolute best they can be rather than run myself too thin and burning out.”
Wallapalooza is particularly renowned for the quality of its heavier acts, with various permutations of rock and metal featuring on the dedicated metal stage. Andy tells us who to watch out for in particular on this year’s bill.
“The return of Humality to the stage is going to be a set that people will talk about for a long time to come. Massic are nothing short of beautiful brutality and the growth and maturity in performance of Diskust has impressed me a lot. They have become a real force in the local music scene and are a must-see live. And the headliners Circles and Captives are just unstoppable. I could go on and on though, as everyone on the line up has earned their spot. That’s why I never announce set times – the bands start at 12 and each and every one is worth your time. We are very blessed with a very healthy original music scene in South East Queensland at the moment.”
As far as who’s chalked up most performances across the 11 years of Wallapalooza, that honour belongs to local heavy juggernaut The MOLOTOV (who also feature in this month’s edition of Blank GC). “The Tov are as much a part of Walla as I am I think.”, says Andy. Other highly rated acts who’ve played often across the Walla journey include Azreal, These 4 Walls and Smoking Martha.
As to how long Andy can maintain the passion and keep the Wallapalooza flag flying; “Every year I ask myself that question. But I really think Wallapalooza has become a part of who I am, more-so than what I do. And as long as the local acts keeps writing such killer songs and delivering mind blowing live performances it’s really hard to think of turning my back on the industry. So I guess you’re all stuck with me for a while yet.”
If you’ve yet to experience the jam packed banger-action that is Wallapalooza, be sure to get along to the Wallaby Hotel for this year’s instalment. The warm up event is on the night of Friday 13 September and features The Wayward Suns, Madison Kat, Baltimore Gun Club and Chavez Cartel. While Saturday 14 September features a jam packed 42 band line up across four stages, including Melbourne progressive metal behemoths Circles, who are headlining this years event. And best of all, it’s totally free!