Bendigo Autumn Music Festival reveals lineup for Opening Night Gala

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Bendigo Autumn Music Festival reveals lineup for Opening Night Gala

A brand-new music festival will be born in Bendigo this April, and to kick off the four days of action at Bendigo Autumn Music (BAM), the esteemed Ulumbarra Theatre will play host to the festival’s Opening Night Gala on Thursday the 25th. Ulumbarra Theatre sits within the walls of the former Sandhurst Gaol, and in this unique setting, audiences will experience a variety of Aus-music legends, as well as must-see up-and-comers in a special one-night event that gives audiences a taste of what to expect throughout the rest of the weekends festivities.

Heading up the line-up for the evening is ARIA Award winner Deborah Conway and long-time collaborator Willy Zygier. Having met in 1991, the critically acclaimed pair have together released 10 albums over a 27-year collaboration and we are excited to have them perform at BAM.

Bringing a sonic kaleidoscope to the evening, Melbourne six-piece outfit, Saskwatch, promise ever-changing soundscapes and colourful patterns that neatly evoke elements of neo-psychedelic, indie-pop and soul.

From South Africa the charismatic guitar savant and singer, who the BBC’s Giles Peterson hailed as extraordinary, Sibusile Xaba brings his addictive blend of Zulu folk music, bossa nova, flamenco, desert blues and jazz to the evening.

Malian guitar legend Moussa Diakite and his exciting five-piece band Wassado will be there fusing West African tradition with blues, jazz, Cuban and Afro-rock – a dynamic high energy mix that is mesmerising and sophisticated.

The audience will also be treated to performances by award-winning showman, Mario Queen of the Circus, who has wooed audiences all over the world with his variety show of complex juggling tricks and universal sex appeal executed to the anthems of his favourite supergroup, Queen. And the incredible improvisation, clowning and tableaux from Roundabout Theatre.

The opening night also hosts Melbourne artists, Ryan Downey, regarded as a jaw-dropping amalgamation of Leonard Cohen and Bill Callahan by way of some mid-century crooner; and lead singer and songwriter of indie-pop outfit Totally Mild, Elizabeth, who will perform her solo works. As well as esteemed violinist, composer and songwriter Xani and Central Victorian local, and troubadour storyteller, Archer.

Ryan Downey Landscape Portrait (Photo credit Eliza Grostate)

Photo by Eliza Grostate

The occasion is bound together by MC extraordinaire Brian Nankervis, an acclaimed producer, performer and the beloved co-host of Rockwiz.

With tickets to Thursday’s Opening Night Gala at $68 or $30 for youth (13-17 years) and $15 for children aged 12 years and under (Children under 5 are free), the family friendly affair is set to sell out. You can also attend the Opening Night Gala with the Gold Pass full festival 4 day ticket.

Bendigo Autumn Music Festival runs from Thursday April 25 to Sunday April 28. Head to the website for the full lineup and ticketing info.

Written by Liam McNally