Beechworth Music Festival

Subscribe to Forte Magazine

Beechworth Music Festival

There’s something ultimately a little bit more special about heading to a regional music festival, especially when it’s one like Beechworth Music Festival which involves the whole town in its festivities (even though the festival itself is at a certain site).
Hi Rikki, thanks for taking the time to chat with Forte Magazine, how are you and what are you up to at the moment? 
Hi Forte, I’m really well and super busy with the festival, Christmas and summer just round the corner – I love the energy at this time of the year.
We imagine you must be busy in the lead up to the festival, are you able to give our readers a little run down of your role with BMF? And how did the creation of the festival first come about?
My role mainly organisational and logistics in the background while my partner Lex is more on the frontline – he curates the line up and everything to do with the site.
A long held pipe dream of Lex’s, we discussed the dream into the very late of many nights whilst listening to vinyl and knocking back a couple of cold ones – we later chanced on the opportunity at Mayday Hills and just said to each other, “Let’s start a festival”, and we did! Lex has been an avid music fan, festival goer and involved in community radio since the year dot and is extremely passionate in regards to all his musical meanderings. I’ve got some organisational and (other) events experience and the partnership just works – we pulled together the first festival in 2014 in just three months.
Beechworth Music Festival is great in the sense that it’s about much more than just the festival, it celebrates the town as well. How important is it for a regional festival to maintain this connection? 
Super Important! The town, the community, the region – it’s the backbone of this festival!
So it’s quite interesting the festival is located in the hills of the (now decommissioned) Mayday Hills Lunatic Asylum, have you heard many stories from the asylum? Any worth sharing with our readers?
So many of the locals have either worked there over the years or have had relatives work there, my father and sister both did. They all have different stories and many swear there are ghosts in most of the oldest buildings (my sister included) – it does have a fairly dark past so who knows! One of the things people can do is find out for themselves and go on a late night ghost tour while they’re up here – after our festival of course!
We’re sure it’s a beautiful location regardless of history, what made it the perfect spot for BMF? 
It’s an intimate but open space on farmland with amazing views and sunsets. There’s so much room in the campground you can find your own space and it’s in a little valley that overlooks the stage and catches the sound – the music just floats through or you can get up close and really get into the music. The bar and food is close by and no queueing for anything. The former Mayday Hills farm is still a working farm but it’s just a minutes drive to the centre of town (less than 1km).
There’s so much history in general at Beechworth, what with Ned Kelly and it being a mining town, what would you recommend for first time visitors to check out? 
The award winning Burke Museum, Ned Kelly Vault and historic precinct is the obvious best choice but there’s also amazing and isolated bush walks on the edge of town, great cycling, swimming in Lake Sambell and the fabulous food and wine culture of Beechworth….the list goes on…and it’s all right in town.
And back to the festival, do you have any advice for those heading to BMF for the first time on how to get the best possible experience?
This year we have free camping on Friday and Saturday night so people can make the most of the long weekend. There’s great local food and a community run bar – it’s all about immersing into the local community. We want everyone to have a great and safe time. We’ve also engaged the best possible sound technicians and have already earned a reputation for quality sound production so people can really enjoy the music experience at our event.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with Forte, is there anything else you’d like to add before we finish up?
Our Eight Ideals (on our website) were carefully thought out from the beginning. We are determined to stick to these and make sure we always produce an event with fantastic music that also supports local and up and coming artists and the local community.
When & Where: Madman’s Gully Amphitheatre, Beechworth – January 23