Folk Rhythm & Life festival makes its glorious return to Bilyana after five year hiatus

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Folk Rhythm & Life festival makes its glorious return to Bilyana after five year hiatus

Folk Rhythm & Life
words by staff writer

The chilled-out summer jam is making a much-anticipated comeback.

When Folk Rhythm & Life kicked off in 1996, it was never expected to morph into what it has today. Nestled into the gorgeous Bilyana natural amphitheatre, the event began as a fundraising effort for Mittagundi Outdoor Education Center. 

27 years on, through word of mouth and grassroots efforts, it has become a highly cherished date on the summer calendar, offering a laidback long weekend of culture, music, arts and community.

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From December 1 to 3, the festival will make a joyous return after five years – one that party people and sun seekers of all ages have long been waiting for. 

This year is a special one. After a few tough years of bushfires, floods and the pandemic as well as losing veteran performers and Australian music legends Archie Roach and Chris Wilson, the festival aims to revitalize the spirit and offer a beacon of hope.

So far, 2023 lineup features more than 80 impressive live music acts as well as a ton of DJs set to keep the vibes right all through the weekend. Even more artists are expected to be announced soon, so keep your eyes on the festival website so you don’t miss anything.

There are a few things that set Folk Rhythm & Life apart from the rest. Every act is a headliner, every ticket holder is a VIP. There is no ‘us’ and ‘them’ and you might even see your favourite artists pulling beers or volunteering with their mates.

What’s more, the serene environment of the northeast Victorian goldfields is just right for fostering new connections and getting those creative juices flowing, from the omega-shaped swimming hole to the many insightful workshops and the relaxing yoga and healing village. 

The festivals draws a unique crowd – one full of folks who share the spirit of self-governance, generosity, open-mindedness and respect for the Indigenous custodians of the land.

There are plenty of new friends and beautiful memories to be made in the Bilyana plains. This year the organisers have resurrected and reclaimed the open mic stage, in previous years having been hijacked for programmed acts, so that musicians of all stripes can host a jam session and show off what they’ve got. 

With live comedy, sustainable composting toilets, a kid’s village filled with entertainment and games and healthy, hearty food options for all diets, the Bilyana site offers everything needed for an inspiring and stress-free three-day celebration. 

Folk Rhythm & Life 2023 Lineup

8 Foot Felix / Agency Dub Collective / Badcock Brothers / Bel Kil / Ben Smith Band / Brunswick Boogie Band / Charlie Needs Braces / Child / Colonel Vipers’s Whipstick Band / Creek / D.A.V.E 1000 / Dallas Frasca / Dane Blacklock & The Preacher’s Daughter / Danny Walsh Banned /  / DJ Kin / Djakamara Jones / Don’t Sweat The Technique / Fenn Wilson / Firetail / Harmaniax / Johnny Casio / Kayboku / Kutcha Edwards / La Descarga / Lama / Lauren Sheree / Lee Rosser & Tim O’Conner / Lothlorein / Madi Coville-Walker / Mal Webb & Kylee Morrigan / Mama Wonkita / Mama’s Brew / Matt Chapman / Maylene Yinar / Melody Moon / Metal Pig / Miss Friby & The Femms / Mister Manifold & The Resolution / Misterjon / Morgan & Wilding / Mount Kujo / My Left Boot / Neil Cook / Nick Carver & The Mean Street Butchers / Nicky Bomba / Nicky Bomba’s 2023 Allstars / Pirate Ska Rebellion / Pollyman / Reuben Stone / Rhyece O’Neill / Rosy Red Cheeks / Royalty Noise / Sal Kimber / Samassin / Sarah Carroll / Sikander / Standing Circle  / Stevie Strafford / Substance / Szara Fox & The Midnight Secrets / TANGO’D / The Deans of Soul / The Jawa Pitu Band / The Mountain Folk Trio / The Offtopics / The Seducaphones / The Seven Ups / The Vibraphonic Orkestra / This Way North / Tim McMillan & Rachel Snow / Tuck Shop Ladies / Tully Kiana / Tumi / Ungus Ungus Ungus / Wasabi / West of Johanna / Whiskey Dram / Willie J & The Bad Books / + more to be announced soon

Folk Rhythm & Life Festival takes place from December 1 to 3 at the Bilyana Natural Amphitheatre near Eldorado in North East Victoria. Grab your tickets here