After a year deprived of music festivals, the show finally can, and will, go on. Are you ready?
We were left hungry for music festivals (and live music in general) for almost all of 2020, but things look a little different this year – and for once, we’re not referring to the pandemic.
As Australia’s music industry emerges out of its slumber more enthusiastic than ever, there’s a line of music festivals across the country waiting to embrace its music lovers.
Despite the uncertainty of how a post-pandemic music festival will look like, at least our extended deprivation of festivals ends in 2021. Now the question is – which festivals will you check out?
To help you get a head start, here’s a list of Australian music festivals we can all look forward in 2021. Some may have sold out by the time you read this, but this feature celebrates everyone’s achievements to get a festival off the ground, whether tickets have been snapped up or not.
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After hosting more than 40 acts from over 25 countries in 2019, WOMADelaide returns in 2021 with a new format. Across four sunset concerts from Friday March 5 to Monday March 8, WOMADelaide 2021 will welcome performances from the likes of Midnight Oil, Archie Roach, Tash Sultana, Vika & Linda, The Teskey Brothers, Miiesha and more.
The festival will also be relocating from Adelaide’s Botanic Park to King Rodney Park in 2021 – a temporary move to allow developments to take place at the former site.
Splendour in the Grass
Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2021, Splendour in the Grass is set to rock the North Byron Parklands from Friday July 23 to Sunday July 25. Tickets from 2020’s show will be valid for SITG 2021, and with the headliners Tyler, The Creator, The Strokes and Gorillaz ready and raring, we await the rest of lineup with plenty of anticipation.
This one’s also sold out, but you can join the waitlist here.
Now & Again
Melbourne’s new waterside music festival transforms Williamstown’s Seaworks into an immersive celebration of music and art on Saturday April 17. Join SAFIA, Client Liaison, Confidence Man, E^ST, George Alice and more for a festival complimented by a picturesque view of the city skyline.
After taking “new year, new me” to another level by changing their name from ‘By The Meadow’ in 2020, Meadow returns to Bambra this year from Friday April 23 to Sunday April 25. The beloved festival will be celebrating its seventh year in 2021 after its 2020 instalment was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Their 2021 lineup is a cracker, boasting the likes of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Angie McMahon, Close Counters, Surprise Chef, Sweet Whirl, Elizabeth and more.
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Euroa Music Festival
Featuring a lineup beaming with Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Mildlife, Donny Benet, Ainslie Wills, Budjerah, Merpire, Jaguar Jonze and more, Euroa Music Festival hits the Victorian heritage town on Saturday March 27. The occasion will also boast art exhibits, local wine, food, beer, and a Sunday morning market, in an effort to showcase everything the Euroa township has to offer.
Brunswick Music Festival
After last year’s Brunswick Music Festival was sadly cut short due to COVID-19, news that the 3056 mainstay would be back in 2021 was met by punters with open arms. Now, they ready themselves for a ten-day dash in March. Expect appearances from the likes of Cash Savage & The Last Drinks, Angie McMahon, Mo’Ju, RVG, Kutcha Edwards and more.
The Basin Concert
In 2020, we said farewell to Party In The Paddock with one final hurrah in Tasmania’s White Hills, but the organisers behind the beloved festival haven’t left us high and dry. Vibestown Productions have now announced their next live music venture, reviving one of Tasmania’s most iconic music festivals, The Basin Concert.
Going down on Friday March 26 and Saturday March 27, The Basin Concert will feature performances from Spiderbait, Holy Holy, Ball Park Music, Spacey Jane and more.
Piknic Électronik returned to the Bowl for its seventh season in January, kicking off their series of parties with appearances from Harvey Sutherland, DJ Sunshine, and the dynamic two-piece of Carl & Eric’s Mobile Disco. On Sunday February 21, the festival return again, welcoming the likes of Laura King, Market Memories, Handsdown b2b Leigh Boy, Adult Art Club and more for another dance in the Bowl.
After announcing their inaugural instalment at Brisbane’s Eatons Hill Outdoors on Saturday June 12, and the strong ticket sales that ensued, Full Tilt recently announced another edition at Melbourne’s Coburg Velodrome on Saturday July 3.
Presented by Destroy All Lines, the new alternative music festival will see the likes of Northlane, Thy Art Is Murder, Hands Like Houses, Slowly Slowly, Press Club and more take to the stage.
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For The Love
Another successful product from the Untitled Group stable, For The Love celebrates Australia’s hottest music talent. In 2021, the festival will welcome a huge bill to three separate locations – Perth, Melbourne and Gold Coast – featuring Flight Facilities at the top, closely followed by Mallrat, Cosmo’s Midnight, Running Touch, Boo Seeka and more.
Play on the Plains
Play on the Plains is the new festival transforming the Deni Ute Muster’s well-known festival site into an indie music lover’s playground. Headlined by San Cisco, the likes of Ruby Fields, Spacey Jane, WAAX, Benny Walker and Taylah King will also appear at an event set to reinvigorate the local community following the disaster that was 2020. Going down on Sunday March 7.
Mornington Country Music Festival
The Mornington Country Music Festival will return for its second year on Saturday March 6, and is all about showcasing some of Australia’s best and emerging country-styled musicians. Located within the natural amphitheatre and surrounds of The Briars on the Mornington Peninsula, this year’s bill features Kasey Chambers, Shane Nicholson, Shannon Noll, Jayne Denham, Gareth Leach and more.
Bluesfest has had as tough a time of it as any festival over the last 12 months, with the 2020 instalment postponed just weeks out due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19.
Now, they ready themselves for 2021, preparing an all-Australian event boasting a huge lineup of local greats. Think Tash Sultana, Jimmy Barnes, The Teskey Brothers, John Butler, Xavier Rudd, Ocean Alley, The Waifs, Kasey Chambers, The Living End and many more. She’ll be happening from April 1 to April 5 up in Byron Bay.
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Boogie Festival first postponed its April 2020 event to the Melbourne Cup weekend of last year. When COVID-19 still wouldn’t relent, they had to shift it once again – this time a year on from when the original event was supposed to take place.
Now happening from April 2 to April 4 at the beloved Tallarook festival site, punters can expect performances from Pond, Cash Savage & The Last Drinks, Angie McMahon and Even, while the international guests of Endless Boogie, Howlin’ Rain and Twin Peaks are also set to make the trip.
Under the Southern Stars
Under the Southern Stars is another to have endured ongoing disruptions. In 2021, the festival is set to see Cheap Trick, Bush and Stone Temple Pilots make their way Down Under for a run of 11 shows across April and May. With Aussie rockers Rose Tattoo and Electric Mary rounding out the bill, Under the Southern Stars will visit destinations all across the country, including Melbourne’s The Timber Yard and Hastings Foreshore Reserve on the Mornington Peninsula.
Summer Sounds Festival enjoyed a successful stint in Adelaide through January and will be descending on Melbourne’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl in late February, early March. Here you can expect appearances from the likes of Aussie greats, triple j frontrunners and cult favourites. See the lineup for yourself – Bernard Fanning, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Something for Kate, Spacey Jane, Ball Park Music and more.
Not much information has emerged about RISING – the new cultural festival hitting Melbourne from May 26 to June 6. Given its lineage – a cross-section of Melbourne International Arts Festival and White Night – you can expect something spectacular but what ‘spectacular’ entails in RISING’s eyes, we’ll have to wait and see.
The winery x music festival concept has really taken off, and while Grapevine Gathering has yet to announce when its 2021 event will take place, Wine Machine is set to decorate Victoria’s Yarra Valley, Western Australia’s Swan Valley and the Commonwealth Park in Canberra with an epic festival come late March.
The names include The Jungle Giants, Hot Dub Time Machine, Bag Raiders, Alice Ivy, Northeast Party House and more.
As Melbourne’s live music scene comes back to life, check out our piece on the Melbourne venues hosting gigs again.