Didirri chats Born In Geelong and how festivals shaped his own musical path

Didirri chats Born In Geelong and how festivals shaped his own musical path

Words by Fergus Neal

Geelong’s most iconic venue is set to host 4,000 music fans over a massive ten-hour program.

In addition to music, the festival will showcase some of the region’s best food, drink and entertainment as a means of giving back and saying thanks to Geelong.

“We want to pay tribute to the Furphy brand, which was born in Geelong, while jointly celebrating the best of our local community and culture,” say fellow brewers, Little Creatures. “Geelong has embraced both the brewery and the Furphy brand wholeheartedly; this is our chance to thank the region.”

Off the back of a sold-out Tea Stains tour, Didirri is excited to return to the area for the Born In Geelong festival.

“I spent a lot of time in Geelong, my grandparents are from there, I haven’t played a festival in those parts yet,” says Didirri. 

Geelong is just down the coast from where the young musician grew up.

“I started in Warrnambool back in the day, I used to just play in cafes and pubs. The kind of venues where the footy wouldn’t be turned off,” he laughs. 

The B.I.G festival is about saying thanks and, from humble beginnings, Didirri is eager to take part in giving back to music fans.

“I got my chops busking,” he says.   

As is often the case, it was the fans who kept Didirri on his musical pursuit.

“It’s often the single person appraisal that makes a big difference. You meet someone after a gig. They say something that makes you realise you’re having a direct effect on people,” Didirri says.

Not only does B.I.G look to give back to the local community, it hopes to be a launching pad for new artists to emerge from the region

“As part of the festival, we’ll be partnering with K rock to present the K rock B.I.G Sessions stage, we are on the hunt for the next big band to take on Geelong,” say the festival organisers.

The winning act will perform at the festival alongside the likes of Ball Park Music, Allday, Alex Lahey, and British India.

In fact, it was another festival that helped mould Didirri’s own musical career.

“I grew up right near the Port Fairy Folk Festival,” he says. He attended the festival as an audience member, then as a participant in a song-writing workshop, and finally as a performer.

The festival certainly lent a hand to the young performer in shaping his songs, as well as his quintessential learned banter in between tracks.

“Growing up in a very folk-themed environment, I grew to love a kind of folk that is derivative of telling stories and engaging in not just the songs themselves,” Didirri says.

The seemingly well-crafted banter relies heavily on authenticity and years of experience, as Didirri likens it to a stand-up comedian honing their craft.

“Stage banter feels a lot like stand-up comedy; often throwing stuff under the bus. With a new idea, if it bombs, it bombs.”

“But I get a lot of drive out of something bombing and being like ‘Okay, how do I say that in a more engaging way?’” Didirri laughs.

Excited by the challenge of moving from a headline-setting to a festival performance, Didirri relishes the chance to exhibit his folk-flair in front of a bigger audience.

“It’s a fun challenge to realise the new songs on a bigger stage,” he says.

When asked if he finds it harder emotionally connecting to larger audiences, he muses, “There’s more unspoken communication at a festival, than a headline show.”

“I talk to the audience like an individual friend, rather than like a giant crowd,” he adds.

This philosophy has seen Didirri grow from a terrific presence in smaller venues to an astonishing performer in larger settings in just a short amount of time.

“Moving people, and making people move,” is what Didirri hopes for music and brewery fans alike come festival day.

Born In Geelong Festival takes over the Little Creatures Brewery on Saturday October 26 from 12 pm – 10pm. Tickets and information available via bigfestival.com.au.