Returning to the stunning Otway Hinterlands region for its fifth year, By The Meadow music festival is the three-day and two-night celebration of Australia’s contemporary music scene – and its lineup is an exciting testament to the sheer diversity of local talent which forms our thriving music landscape.
The festival’s announcement late last year of their first act, electric group with powerful live-performance presence, Billy Davis and the Good Lord, was an incredibly promising indication of a strong programme, which made the release of the entire list of performers to be included greatly anticipated – and it hasn’t disappointed.
Set to be held from 6 – 8 April, the final lineup consists of 25 acts and features an impressive selection of talent spanning across genres which, when clustered together for the festival, will uniquely complement one and other, surely to result in an unforgettable auditory experience.
“Ultimately it stems from the music we like; we’re booking that and hoping that it’s what the punters want as well,” explains festival organiser Cameron Wade. “Ideally, it’s our dream lineup that we can afford and present. This year we have a big focus on upcoming Australian music, and in particular Victorian music. We also like showcasing bigger bands who have put out strong albums and who we think are worth filling those top spots on the bill.”
Pulling out the big guns for their fifth birthday party, headlining artists include emerging talent Tiny Little Houses, with their recent debut album Idiot Proverbs, New Zealand’s Fazerdaze, and GUM – from psychedelic rock group, Tame Impala. Other prominent names to watch out for also include rising Perth talent Stella Donnelly, Hottest 100 Shortlisted post-punk group Househats, locally revered Melbourne DJ Pjenné – known for her distinct blend of soul and house, and alternative groups Dianas, and Suss C**nts.
This lineup, teamed with the idyllic scrubland location which surrounds the festival on the private hillside farm property – the ‘Bambra Bowl’, heightens a sense of seclusion and ones intimacy to the music, away from civilisation; as well as making for a decent ‘going bush’ road-trip.
“I’ve definitely been to more relaxed festivals,” Wade laughs. “From our perspective, it’s very action packed because we’re trying to fit in as much new music as we can get out there, but from a punters perspective, the feedback is always a super relaxed vibe that feels more like a massive house party. I think it’s probably a good thing that people get that comfy and homey vibe from the event,” he says.
After all, who doesn’t love a massive house party spanned across three days and two nights?
Regardless of their festival’s ever-growing popularity, By The Meadow organisers have maintained their intimate aesthetic over the years by staying true to their small beginnings and involving local businesses.
“I’d put it down to the fact that we haven’t forced it too far; the first festival was initially only ever meant to host 50 people, and it ended up being 150. We set the expectations and growth as being quite slow and steady and let it grow organically rather than going out and blowing a whole heap of money on a lineup that we might not sell,” Wade says.
“And after five years, you get a feel for what the people want to see and what they want you to present so it’s important that we’ve let it grow on its own and taking notice of what people are reacting to, and feeding off that is a big part of our success.”
A big part of this success comes down to By The Meadow hosting an array of regionally sourced food and craft beer stalls including vegan friendly options, with a huge focus on pride of place, and the team are proud as punch of what this place has to offer.
“Growing up in the Colac area, the festival location was a no-brainer. With wine on sale at the bar that is made 10 minutes down the road, and beers from 15 minutes further down, as well as restaurants from Lorne, Colac and surrounds, there’s so much that fits with this local music event.”
From the beach, they’ve got Rogue Wave Brewing supplying the beer, they’ve got Heroes Vineyard supplying the wines, alongside Curry made with extra love, as well as a few other South-East Asian favourites from Colac’s Coconut Pop-Up and Pete’s Woodfire Pizza from Aireys Inlet. For those of you that can’t function without a big cup of coffee, you’ll be pleased to find Apollo Bay’s Hello Coffee, a fine roaster of specialty coffee beans to help heal your soul, or if you just need to cleanse, you’ll also find a range of healthy and delicious smoothie bowls and juices at Torquay’s Smoothie Tank.
As well as Rogue Wave’s froffies and Heroes wines, LAZY will be hard at work perfecting their cocktail menu for this year’s festival. Crowd favourite includes ‘Escape To The Country’ which will be back, ft. lemon, ginger, vodka and hand-picked rosemary. You beauty!
“With so many people coming down from Melbourne to come to the festival, it’s really good for local community because they’re getting a lot of exposure; the restaurants, the wine, the beer and everything that we sell is local, and some of the acts there will be local – it’s getting the Melbourne audience down to look at things that these regional areas have to offer.”
Oh, and the festival is a BYO event as well. What more can you really ask for in a festival? They’ve covered it all.
Public tickets are now available but the complete three-day pass is limited to only 900 tickets, so head to the By The Meadow website fast and come celebrate the festival’s fifth birthday as an Easter getaway.
Get your shit together soon if you’re keen to go. For more information go to www.bythemeadow.com.
When & Where: Bambra, Victoria – April 6 – 8.
Written by Talia Rinaldo