Setting up in one of Australia’s most picturesque national parks next February, the Grampians Music Festival is bringing the Valley Stage back to the stunning paddock location in Halls Gap in 2019 from February 15 to 17 in what will be a display of outstanding Australian up and coming musical talent, boutique beer, wine and spirits, global cuisine and dancing in the dirt.
Last year saw 20 of Australia’s most impressive new artists grace the Grampians stage for its second edition, including the likes of Tired Lion, Ruby Fields, Heaps Good Friends, SAATSUMA and Polish Club; highlighting the festival’s strong focus on up-and-coming Australian artists who are distinctive, exciting and above all, supremely talented.
While the lineup for 2019 is still under wraps (to be announced at the end of the month), festival director Carly Flecknoe says they’ve kept the same mentality of discovering new music in an intimate setting. Differing to the standard festival program which has multiple bands across multiple stages at the same time, The Grampians Music Festival sets itself apart with only one stage and limiting tickets to 1,500 punters, allowing punters to enjoy all the genre-spanning up-and-coming musicians who take to the stage.
“One of the amazing things we have is the location. It is absolutely stunning, and so by having that one stage, by having it small, you actually still get to feel and be part of the space that you’re in,” she explains. “It does put a lot more pressure on programming and curating, but at the same time it means that you can find your spot and just enjoy the entire experience without running around.”
In line with the organic growth of the intimate festival, the Grampians team are focused on fostering a culture of positive change within the Australian Music Industry, bringing in new policies that reflect the soul of the festival.
“We started a bit of an environmental sustainability drive last year with a BYO bottle, and we’ve really lifted that this year, making sure that we’ve got vendors that align with our policies. We’re now straw free, and essentially we’ll be as plastic-free as we possibly can, as well as bringing in things like our Respect Policy to ensure that it’s a safe space for everybody,” she says.
“We’ve also brought in a gender and diversity policy which is all about making sure that we’re exploring and investigating all avenues, whether that be male and female, nationality and background, and any other forms of diversity and doing the research for the exposure in those areas. We’ve had very big conversations about the role of festivals in that space, and that really you can have a stacked lineup with really well known bands, but then you also have this amazing opportunity to actually educate patrons about bands that wouldn’t necessarily have organically had exposure in the past. Here, we can give them that opportunity which is pretty powerful, and that’s what we’ve tried to do.”
Along with the policies guiding the festival, a highlight is the ‘Best in the West’ Friday night program, which will feature all western Victorian artists and showcase the region’s very best. Last year saw acts such as Melbourne’s self-described sombre-folk dandy Didirri, Melbourne-via-Ballarat Crepes and Bendigo’s Fountaineer take to the stage.
“It’s such a great opportunity to ensure that we’re bringing regional Victoria musicians to the fore, and the regional DJ competition is running again as well, although we’re broadening it this year and we’re covering original and electronic production as well. So, who knows, we might discover the next Flume? It’s so exciting,” she smiles. “That’s the other benefit of being year three; having the time, the space and the experience to bring all those programs to the festival as well.”
While you have to wait for the lineup, we can point you in the direction of the early bird tickets which are now on sale – but only until Tuesday 30 October, 2018 or until sold out. At $159, this three-day event ticket allows you to enter the festival on all three days. And what’s more, this year they’ve even teamed up with the lush Halls Gap Gardens Caravan Park to offer a camping option for all festival goers.
“There’s still the option for people to book holidays houses if they prefer, but if they want to make it really simple they just add the camping option on for $36 for three nights. It’s just a really great way to make it a lot more accessible for people and it’s just a 10 minute walk from the festival grounds.”
A sunny weekend away with mates and music. A showcase of the best new bands making music all over the country. Local produce, beer and wine. Big mountains, huge sounds and a beautiful, chilled-out vibe. What’s not to love?
Full price tickets are on sale Wednesday 31 October, 2018 at 9am until sold out. Visit grampiansmusicfestival.com/ for ticket information.
Photo by Cam Cooke