Which Australian music festival should you attend this Summer?

Written By Sam Murphy on 09/02/2014


Spring has breathed its first breath and suddenly we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel of this depressing, dreary winter that has cast a shadow over our lives. That may be slightly hyperbolic but Summer brings with it so many wonderful things like crickets, Messina queues and of course, the Summer festival. We’ve watched on as Europe has had its time in the sun (literally) and now it’s our turn. However, before the fun can start, we must choose. Now is your chance to make that decision before finding out on arrival that Vance Joy is in fact not playing where you are. Although, that would probably be a relief.

Go forth and choose your playground for fun and frivolity or take our quiz.

Beyond The Valley

30 December- 1 January 2015

This is the new kid on the block but it’s certainly not showing any immaturity. With only two stages and set over two days, the Festival is giving punters a chance to see as much of the bill as they can and it’s an incredible one at that. They’ve collected an eclectic bill that mostly focuses on electronic music with a few mellow acts for good measure. Taking place on Phillip Island, this Festival could give Falls a real run for its money, with added VIP glamping options another notch in their shiny new belt.

For: Dance music fans that prefer Kaytranada to Calvin Harris and showers to mud.

Not For: Those looking for big headline acts. You won’t find The Foo Fighters here.

Lineup Highlights: Action Bronson, Dillon Francis, AlunaGeorge, MØ, The Preatures

Price: $299

Listen Out

Starts 27 September in Sydney

It’s not exactly Summer but it’s a warm prelude to it with some steaming music to usher in the silly season. Listen Out is returning for its second year after last year’s switch from Parklife to a more boutique-like festival worked out well for Fuzzy. It just goes for the day and it features a line-up of uber cool electronica, R&B and hip-hop acts that will have you dancing, dropping and twerking your way through Spring. Oh and Flume’s there *cue screams*

For: Those who like a little more groove than fist-pumping and like to use all their energy in one day

Not For: Those who find the term IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) wanky.

Lineup Highlights: Flume, Schoolboy Q, Chet Faker, Four Tet

Price: $130


Starts 21 February in Melbourne

If you’re going to attend Soundwave chances are the other festivals in this article will sound pretty pathetic. The Soundwave goer is one who’s ready to let the music assault the ears and the devil horns raise to the sky. With A.J. Maddah at the helm, Soundwave always delivers a hearty lineup that oscillates between heavy metal and punk. This year it’s expanded into two days just in case one day of rough and tumble wasn’t enough. If even that’s not enough, you can follow it around the country.

For: Those about to rock.

Not For: Anybody who could name a synth over a Fender guitar.

Lineup Highlights: Faith No More, Soundgarden, New Found Glory, Slipknot, Slash, Judas Priest

Price: $188


Starts November 29 in Sydney and Perth

Just like Soundwave, this National EDM playground has morphed into a two day festival of non-stop beats and bass. It’s quickly become one of the most popular on the Summer circuit bringing out the likes of Avicii, Diplo and Calvin Harris numerous times to entertain thousands of fluoro-clad punters. Not one for the faint-hearted, it’s set in stadiums around the country dressed with massive sound systems. It’s the closest you’ll get to Ultra or Tomorrowland in Australia. If you’re planning on dropping some coin on this one you also better get a gym membership. Get shreddin’.

For: Readers who identify best with our writer, Lizzie, and thought this was bullshit.

Not For: Those who think Molly is just a nice girls name.

Lineup Highlights: Disclosure, Alesso, Calvin Harris, RL Grime, Porter Robinson, Nina Las Vegas

Price: $210

Falls Festival

Before and after NYE

Falls Festival enjoyed a massive year in 2013, expanding to Byron Bay and subsequently putting on three events at the same time in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. By all accounts it was a breeze, with few reports of the festival being unorganized. While last year somebody in Marion Bay pegged a flare at Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend, by and large it attracts a friendly NYE crowd who look very similar to a Splendour in the Grass crowd. It’s without a doubt the biggest camping festival of the Summer and tends to provide the biggest spectacle.

For: Those who don’t mind a bit of dust and can keep a smile while experiencing a smorgasbord of genres.

Not For: Those who still think it’s worth getting pissed off Pink Champagne and watching the Sydney fireworks.

Lineup Highlights: Alt-J, Robyn & Röyksopp, Jamie xx, Glass Animals, Jagwar Ma, Todd Terje, Tkay Maidza

Price: $400


December 12-14

Good ol’ Aunty Meredith puts on a quaint event in the stunning Supernatural Amphitheatre in Victoria. It’s not big on rules and it’s also not big on people who are there to ruin other’s experience. With an ecoplex cinema, Tai Chi and a pink flamingo bar, it’s a little more relaxed than other festivals but no less of a spectacle. You won’t find big headliners here but you’ll find interesting acts. Last year’s bill, for instance, attracted Chic, Joey Bada$$ and Derrick May. If you’re looking for a smooch, Meredith also has the Arch of Love which commands the two people under it to kiss. Pucker up.

For: People who are there for the music, to meet people and avoid the usual festival experience.

Not For: Dickheads.

Lineup Highlights: The Skatalites, De La Soul, The War on Drugs, Ty Segall, Cloud Nothings, Factory Floor

Price: $318


Laneway began as a small, indie festival, born in the laneways of Melbourne but over the past few years it’s become a touring juggernaut. No longer is the hipster a minority, it’s the masses and those masses are the one’s lapping up tickets to, arguably, Australia’s best one day festival. The Laneway crew is on top of their game when it comes to scooping the freshest talent and have seen the likes of Florence and the Machine, Alt-J and HAIM grace their stages. They also do a great job of finding the perfect, concrete-laden venues for the acts.

For: The hipster inside all of us. Or, to be fair, anyone who like to consider themselves a tastemaker for a day.

Not For: Anyone who would complain that the headliner is not as big as Kings Of Leon.

Lineup Highlights: The lineup is yet to be announced but FKA Twigs, BANKS and Vic Mensa are rumoured to be on the bill.

Price: TBA.


2-6 April 2015

Now approaching its 26th year, Bluesfest is a veteran of the Festival scene. Set in Byron Bay, the Festival has become known for having a huge amount of acts covering the newbies and the classics. This year’s event has six lineup announcements to form its huge bill that included John Mayer, Joss Stone, Erykah Badu and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. It’s kid friendly and likely not to take too much out of you if you’re happy to pitch a tent, share a story or two with your neighbours and toe tap to some excellent music.

For: Families and those who would rather not burn the candle at both ends

Not For: Fist-pumpers and twerkers

Lineup Highlights: The Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Band Of Skulls


28-30 November 2015

This is another boutique festival that had its debut year in 2013, pulling together an impressive lineup of local talent. Set on Lake Alpine Resort, it’s a BYO camping festival with two stages ensuring that not a minute of action is missed. Expect hot, sunny days and long, balmy nights with some of the finest electronic and alternative music this country has to offer.

For: Those who love the an intimate festival setting and are unconcerned by big headliners

Not For: People who don’t have a finger on the pulse when it comes to Australia’s musical trends. And those going to Stereosonic in Sydney or Perth- it’s geographically impossible.

Lineup Highlights: Oscar Key Sung, Kirin J. Callinan, Banoffee, Klo, UV Boi, Young Franco

Price: $130