If you're looking for a festival lineup packed with Aussie icons, look no further than the brand-new Peninsula Music Festival.
Giving music lovers an excuse to get out and about this Easter long weekend, the inaugural Peninsula Music Festival will see the likes of Bjorn Again, The Chantoozies, Brian Mannix, Daryl Braithwaite, Kate Ceberano and The Black Sorrows take to the natural Amphitheatre and surrounds of the Briars on the Mornington Peninsula.
Running across two days, punters can choose to attend on either day, or book an Airbnb for the weekend and commit to two full days of powerful live music, good vibes, camping chairs, food trucks, and affordable drinks.
Kicking off Easter celebrations early, Saturday will see the likes of The Weeping Willows, Brian Mannix and the Androids, one of Australia’s most dynamic and loved live bands The Chantoozies, and Bjorn Again – the world’s most popular ABBA Tribute Show – all take to the stage for an incredible day of music to dance to.
Easter Sunday takes the dance party up a notch with Australian music royalty gracing the stage, including the one and only Daryl Braithwaite, the brilliant Kate Ceberano, the prolific and enduring Joe Camilleri and The Black Sorrows, and 90’s legends The Badloves, among others.
After a year devoid of live music, the festival and its homegrown lineup is a welcomed addition to the Victorian festival circuit, especially for the effervescent Ceberano, who will return home to Melbourne to showcase her stellar 2021 album, Sweet Inspiration, live to Victorian audiences for the first time.
With undeniably the biggest female voice in Australia, the bona fide national treasure has entered this year with an even bigger appreciation – and desire – for the live music industry, whether it be a festival stage, a local pub or busking on the street.
“I’m not taking anything for granted, every day is a wonderful gift and we need to just grab every opportunity,” Ceberano says.
“People are hungry for community. The way Australian music will get itself in a position where to be healthy and self-sustaining again is by actually just delivering great music to people live.
“As a kid, that’s how I got my career started; you just get out on the streets, whether it’s busking or you get into the small pubs and clubs, you just go where the people are.
They’re wise words from the multi-ARIA award-winning songstress, and having been in the business for over 35 years – writing and performing both jazz and pop music – with multiple Platinum and Gold albums to her name, you can bet she knows what she’s talking about. From her beginnings in the mid-’80s as a 15-year-old sensation fronting pop-funk band, I’m Talking, Ceberano has barely drawn breath since, racking up 28 albums now with the recent release of her new record, Sweet Inspiration.
Conceived during the Melbourne pandemic lockdown and released back in February, the album features two new original songs and 10 covers, originally performed by artists like Dolly Parton, Leonard Cohen, Carole King, Paul McCartney and John Lennon.
Originally intended to be a very simple, loving collection of Ceberano’s favourite songs, recorded (just because) with friends over a few winters day in Melbourne, the album turned into an experience that will forever shape her future as an artist.
“It’s been a very important album to make,” she says.
“We did it right in the very darkest depths of Victoria’s lockdown. It was a time where a lot of the artists had lost all their work and then many years ahead as well; people in the industry were starting to drown. I’m talking not just the musicians, but all the industries surrounding it – the people who set up the stage, those in hospitality. Everyone who puts on the show was suddenly out of work and out of a career. And when we put the album together, this was the first time we saw each other in a long time after being together almost every day of our lives.”
Recording the album in less than three days, the band finished the album the day Melbourne went into its second and strictest lockdown.
“It was a really odd feeling, but we sat in the room and we recorded live, all of us together. It was kind of magical and we repaired what was broken, but then we had to say goodbye knowing when we’d see each other again.”
Alongside the loving renditions by some of music’s great, Cebereno also recorded two original songs to bookend the classics: ‘Hold On’ (the album’s first single) written by Kate during the Melbourne pandemic lockdown, along with the album’s title track ‘Sweet Inspiration’, written in collaboration with veteran Sony Music recording artist, Rick Price.
“Those two singles were very, very inspired by the times,” she reveals. “I felt like I was responding to the world around me at the time. For instance, ‘Sweet Inspiration’ was written because we were all at the mercy of nature every day and that is fact of life, so I wanted to immerse myself and make that something that I can own and talk about it with love and respect about the earth and about us in it.
“’Hold On’ however is a literal call to arms to anyone struggling in these times.”
Despite having almost 30 albums to her name, Ceberano doesn’t believe a sizeable discography is a reference to how accomplished her career is; making an album has always just been the epitome of her art at the time. Each group of songs was a statement to her voice and current state of mind, not to mention a reflection of her social and physical environment, as reflected by her singles ‘Hold On’ and ‘Sweet Inspiration’.
“To be honest with you, I don’t really care for albums; I don’t count them and I don’t listen to them. As an artist, I tend to just move ahead because my main aim is to stay connected with music. After all, music is like breathing to me,” she reveals.
“It’s just as if you were scuba diving or something, you got to breathe in and you got to breathe out and you’ve got to keep breathing to know you’re alive. That’s how I feel like having a career in music; it’s a constant sort of battle for breath, but you’re doing it anyway.”
Creating profoundly therapeutic music, witness the magic that is Kate Ceberano performing her new album live on stage this April at the Peninsula Music Festival, alongside some of the biggest names in Australian music.
Peninsula Music Festival goes down on Saturday April 3 and Sunday April 4 2021 at the Briars in Mt Martha. You can purchase tickets for the festival here. To shorten the road trip, why not take your car on the ferry from Queenscliff with Searoad Ferries.