No surf, no sand, no problem: There’s a beach party coming to the heart of Brunswick

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No surf, no sand, no problem: There’s a beach party coming to the heart of Brunswick

brunswick beach party
words by jacob mccormack

An escape from suffering resides in the absurd for Brunswick Beach Party organisers.

Brunswick is outstandingly famous for its music scene and the various festivals that are hosted in celebration of the artistic suburb. Yet when one imagines shorelines, sand, and the glistening of sun in saltwater Brunswick doesn’t even remotely come to mind.

And yet against all odds and expectations Michael Simic the man behind bands such as Mikelangelo and the Tin Star and Black Sea Gentlemen has brought a beach party to Brunswick. 2023 was its inaugural year, and in 2024 Brunswick Beach Party returns to take over the Brunswick Ballroom on Sunday January 21.

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around Melbourne here.

Doors open at 3:30pm, with the show kicking off at 4:30pm headlined by the famed likes of Mikelangelo and the Tin Star, Rufino and the Wreckage, Maquina Peligrosa with a DJ set rounding out the day from The Knave. 

In its second year running, Brunswick Beach Party is less about the geographical and climatic elements one comes to assign to the beach and more about the style of music one would associate with a coastline. Think surf’n’western, surf rock and all the other categorical surf sounds of history gone by.

But for Michael this style of music resonates deeply in his musical journey that has unfolded to date. And his passion for surf music has built the foundations of Brunswick Beach Party, but what has also brought it to life is the healthy dose of ridiculousness that Michael has injected into this show.

“The whole idea of putting on a beach party in the city is ridiculous,” says Michael. “But based on the conversation that we’re having; it makes me realise why it’s my kind of ridiculous. I am a very positive guy who enjoys life but also there’s such heavy stuff going on in the world and this is why we need joy as well.”

And what better way to celebrate joy than to bask in the fun of costumes, music and friends. This is how the idea for Brunswick Beach Party came to be, and it has since evolved into a concept that weaves through rabbit holes of alternative experiences.

“This idea first came up back in 2012 when I was with a friend of mine,” he says. “We thought let’s just throw a beach party in the northern suburbs. So, we ended up booking the Northcote Social Club and putting on the Northcote Beach Party and it was so much fun, people just turned out and dressed up.

“It was really nice to escape our realities. I love a show that is transporting in some way, and I think that’s what Rufino and The Wreckage do. They create transporting worlds. We also do that with the Tin Star in our own different way.”

And with the devastation that is weaving its way around the world at the moment, it seems even more important to host spaces where people can forget about this suffering and seep into a state of happiness.

“That’s the paradox of life that in order to be human and to feel truly human we experience the entire spectrum of emotion and feeling, whether that’s despair and grief, or it’s euphoria and joy in the absurdity of hosting a beach party in inner city Melbourne.”

Embracing the totality of this spectrum remains paramount for Michael within his artistry, an approach that allows him to continually be influenced by emerging music as well as constantly making his own.

“Artists need to take their job seriously,” he says. “Whether we’re making sombre work or whether we’re making entertaining work or any degree in between. I’ve got a broad palette. There’s room for everything in what I make. I’m much more of a of a mongrel who requires blending of all these aspects. From the absurdity to the beauty, to the celebration, to the everything in between.

“I’ve put together a show celebrating the life and music of Shane McGowan because it’s a big influence on me. But then The Growlers and Brooks Nielsen are a part of the bedrock of my life these days.”

So in celebration of summer and the wonder of absurdity and pure joy join Michael and his friends at the Brunswick Ballroom for a day of family fun. 

Grab tickets to Brunswick Beach Party here.