Summer is quite possibly the best time of year to visit Victoria. Not only is the weather perfect (save for the occasional thunderstorm) and the public gardens perfectly manicured for a lazy afternoon picnic, the warmer weather sees the southern state host a huge calendar of music festivals as the highly anticipated party season kicks into gear.
Queenscliff Music Festival, 27-29 November
Now in its 18th year, this quirky and colourful music festival will feature the likes of Angus and Julia Stone, Kate Miller-Heidke and funny gal Cal Wilson, just to name a few. The huge festival encompasses beachfront stages, local bars and pubs and even the steam powered Blues Train, home to travelling tunes. The focus is on music at this fully licensed event but there are plenty of art installations, roving performers, market stalls, food trucks and even a ‘Kids Quarter’ to keep the whole family entertained over this brilliant weekend by the beach.
For more info and tickets visit: qmf.net.au.
So Frenchy So Chic, Werribee Mansion, 10 January
Boasting a ‘summer French’ escape of music, food, flowers and friends, this family friendly music festival sees punters treated to all things French, from the artists to the cuisine and wine. Generously, children under 12 are admitted free, with activities like croquet, face painting, giant chess and hopscotch amongst the mansion lawns sure to keep them busy throughout the day. For foodies, specially prepared picnic boxes, hampers and cheese plates are the perfect accompaniment to the French music and atmosphere. No doubt, picnicking in the gorgeous surrounds is the next best thing to France that Victoria has to offer.
Check out sofrenchysochic.com.au for more info.
St Kilda Festival, 6 – 14 February
While the festival showcases plenty of music in local venues over the second week of February, the highlight of the week is definitely the wrap up event, Festival Sunday. Easily the biggest free music event in Australia, the sensational day has been known to attract a crowd of over 350,000 people. The streets of St Kilda are closed to traffic while Australia’s best musicians rock out over multiple stages against the awesome backdrop of palm trees, the ocean and the iconic 103 year old Luna Park. The festival also showcases extreme sports, carnival rides, street performers and a street market. Also not to be missed is the festival opening event Yalukit Wilum Ngargee, a free Indigenous arts, music and dance event held on February 6, which also showcases heritage walks and traditional food offerings.
For more info on the festival visit: stkildafestival.com.au.
Riverboats Music Festival, Echuca 19-21 February
Located two-and a half hours from Melbourne on the banks of the mighty Murray, Riverboats is a premiere contemporary music event set in a natural amphitheatre lined by historic red gums. Traditional paddle steamers meander past the festival all weekend while visitors enjoy dancing, art and delicious regional food and wine, all the while absorbing the natural beauty of the region. With impressive past line-ups including Dan Sultan, Sarah Blasko and The Whitlams, the organisers boast that it is one of the prettiest and laid-back festivals in Australia.
Visit the website for more info riverboatsmusic.com.au.
Motor City Music Festival, Geelong 11 – 13 March
Another festival offering free entry for kids (on the Sunday only) is the rock’n’roll ‘Geetroit Rocks Motor City Music Festival’ at the Geelong Showgrounds. While the Friday and Saturday events are dedicated to adults only with five stages spread out over the fully licensed venue, ‘family friendly’ Sunday is all ages and focuses on children’s entertainment. A huge fireworks display on the Sunday night wraps up the huge weekend of tribute bands, dedicated to get festival-goers rocking out to the great classics of Guns’n’Roses, INXS and ACDC.
For more info on the festival visit: motorcitymusicfestival.com.au
SCOTT PODMORE & RUTH BIRCH