From Friday 31 March – Sunday 2 April, the festival will see the iconic Bambra Bowl come to life.
Part of the Otway Hinterland, Bambra is surrounded by rolling hills and bushland, only a stone’s throw away from the Otway National Park in all its natural wonders. It’s not always a spot people would visit during a trip down the Great Ocean Road, but for the past few years, there’s been one very good reason to.
Cherished Victorian surf coast festival Meadow, previously known as By The Meadow, is a three-day camping festival in the Bambra area on Gulidjan, Gadubanud and Wadawurrung land.
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Continually evolving and now in its ninth year, this festival is right now at the peak of its game, promising yet another three-day two-night exploration of genre-expanding local and international live music in 2023.
From Friday 31 March – Sunday 2 April, the festival will see the iconic Bambra Bowl come to life by an unmissable lineup headlined by Philadelphia’s lo-fi rocker Kurt Vile and his band The Violators, London’s post-punk revivalists and noise rock band Black Midi, and national favourites in Jen Cloher, Kučka, Cash Savage & The Last Drinks, Big Scary, Agung Mango and many more.
Vastly different to the wild, raucous Falls festivities that used to go down in Lorne over New Year, Meadow simply started as a 21st birthday party for Festival Director Cameron Wade, which has organically grown into an annual event, capped at 1,500 tickets and focused on creating a small, musically-minded community.
“As an independently run festival, we’ve been relying on the passion of our small team, the generosity of our mates and community and plenty of hope to keep the wheels spinning over the past few years,” says Wade.
“As things very slowly return to normal we’re over the moon to be able to present a programme closer to what we’ve always hoped Meadow could be.”
Birthed by a love of all things music, good times and even better mates, the Bambra-based festival boasts a communal presence that simply cannot be forged, where everyone camps together at the event site under the open skies and reception is limited, offering the perfect chance to disconnect.
Now in the wake of 2022’s homegrown celebration including Tropical Fuck Storm, Methyl Ethyl, and Maple Glider, this next chapter of Meadow is sure to cover every inch of the music spectrum and is one for the history books, promising to draw a perfect blend of local community members, live music lovers and pure partygoers to the Otways.
“We’ve booked a few of the most innovative international performers and songwriters to join some of our favourite contemporary musicians from Victoria (and Australia),” Wade explains.
“Overall the 2023 lineup represents a diverse cross-section of music right now and our favourite part is that we’re presenting it all from a small stage with a maximum capacity of just 1500 people at the base of the Bambra Bowl. There are not many places where you can see acts like Kurt Vile or Black Midi, alongside exciting local talent like Daine and Jen Cloher, in such an intimate environment. We’re very proud of this.”
For a more in-depth look at what Meadow 9 offers, the festival will be welcoming Kurt Vile & The Violators (US) back to Australia, promising to treat crowds to old classics and new gems from Vile’s vibrant yet meditative 2022 album Watch My Moves. Joining Vile, from abroad, is Black Midi (UK) who are limbering up to explode onto the stage with their carefully curated chaos, equal parts intense, absurdist and theatrical.
Amongst this expansive lineup, there is something for everyone, whether it’s the taut terse brand of rock charged by Jen Cloher’s incisive generous songwriting or tracks that will shake the gum trees from electronic producer Kučka who is no stranger to festivals having shared the stage with Flume at Coachella and multiple headline sets at Dark Mofo and Vivid in 2022 alone.
Bringing the entrancing and stomping energy is local heavyweights Cash Savage & The Last Drinks, alongside songs from the raw and restlessly innovative indie duo Big Scary or the unapologetic free-flowing bars of underground rapper Agung Mango.
For those that flourish in the deepest parts of the night, Meadow’s stage will host some of Australia’s finest selectors and producers after dark. From Sydney, Mall Grab collaborator Loods will bring his series of 2022 dancefloor hits from a European summer stint straight to the Bambra Bowl alongside local favourite Rona and the eclectic sonic stylings of Ayebatonye.
But, that’s not all, other local movers and shakers include Daine, Mirasia, Ruby Gill, Komang, Gena Rose Bruce, Delivery, Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice Workhorse, Way Dynamic, Wildfire Manwurrk will all be hitting the Meadow stage with DJs to be announced in February.
Running from early Friday evening until just after midday on Sunday, there is music for the majority of that time, but it’s not an overwhelming program despite how stacked the lineup is. It all happens on one stage, Meadow Music Festival offers uniquely intimate performances with no overlapping set times, perfectly curated for the audiences who attend each year and for artists who want to be heard. Revitalising the festival experience, it’s here you’ll find music lovers discovering new music, and not hanging at the campsite waiting for the most notable bands to begin.
Using some of Australia’s finest flora as a backdrop, the regional gathering has maintained its intimate aesthetic over the years by staying true to its small beginnings and involving local businesses, regardless of the festival’s ever-growing popularity. Shying away from standard food trucks, Meadow opts for local Otway producers instead. There will also be a selection of local beer, Otway Hinterland wines and a selection of cocktails on offer too.
With community at Meadow’s heart, the festival also leads the way in creating a sustainable event, with a focus on reducing its environmental impact as much as possible. Here, all food and drink will be served with reusable plates, cutlery and cups. All punters need to do is return their empty crockery once they’re finished so the circle continues. BYO drink bottles are also encouraged.
Building on this, all proceeds from car passes (needed by all vehicles) will support replanting native trees and shrubs across the festival site and surrounding areas (via East Otway Landcare).
Oh, and did we mention the festival is a BYO event as well? Between tickets, travelling, food, merch, accommodation, and gumboots, you can end up spending quite a pretty penny on a weekend of fun and music, but these guys have your best interests at heart. Embrace the privilege of bringing your own booze but just remember to leave the glass at home.
With the backdrop of a rugged edge-of-the-world type beauty found only in the Otway Hinterlands, a unique vibe, a killer lineup, no overlapping set times and BYO, Meadow Music Festival is the Victorian boutique music festival that gets it right.
General Release tickets are now on sale for $285 + BF, teenagers accompanied by adults can join the festivities but require a full ticket, while children under 12 enter for free. Bus busses are also available to assist with transport to the event.
Kurt Vile & The Violators (US)
Black Midi (UK)
Cash Savage & The Last Drinks
Gena Rose Bruce
Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice Workhorse
Tickets can be purchased via www.meadowmf.com