By The Meadow returns for a three-day, two-night, one-stage, multi-sensory safari

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By The Meadow returns for a three-day, two-night, one-stage, multi-sensory safari

Returning to the stunning Otway Hinterlands region for its sixth 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 three acts, Brisbane three-piece The Goon Sax, Melbourne’s queen of soul Thando and pop duo Collarbones, was an incredibly promising indication of a strong programme, which made the release of the second list of performers to be included greatly anticipated – and it didn’t disappoint.

Set to be held from March 29-31, the second lineup featured 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.

Just at a glace, you’ve got the soul screeching garage rhythm and blues dance party, The Murlocs, and witty American indie rock songwriter, Lucy Dacus, headlining, along with dance floor filler Harvey Sutherland, hometown returnees The Vasco Era, 7-piece psych funk band The Seven Ups, and indie folk darling Clea, as well as the likes of Martin Frawley, Murmurmur, Merpire, Hobsons Bay Coast Guard, Hemm, Not A Boys Name, Melbourne Indie Voices and Lauren.

“You couldn’t look at it [the lineup] and pick a vibe out of it,” says festival organiser Cameron Wade. “It’s always meant to be as diverse as possible. It’s meant to showcase what we feel is the most impressive music coming out locally, and even to an extent, around Australia as well.

“We always have the idea of bringing some international artist across as it’s good having one or two faces to try and provide something different. I can see so many festivals presenting the same line-ups based on what’s popular on the radio, and there are lot of acts who are making great music but are missing out,” he continues. “I think we’ve got a bit of a role to play there. Some of these bands have really impressive live shows and really impressive records that aren’t necessarily just instant hit records or hit singles, and we can give those bands somewhere to play to an audience that, hopefully, is a bit more diverse in their appreciation of music too.”


This lineup (with a few more additions to be announced soon) and the one stage, 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; especially with their total capacity carefully capped to keep the familiar cosiness in, and any feral fauna out.

“It’s growing, but only very steadily,” Wade explains. “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.

“It’s pretty important to us that we do keep that handle on things, and only grow in what we’re capable in doing while providing patrons with the best environment possible, too. It’s cool when you’re at a festival for the weekend and you start to recognise people from around the site, and you’ll never get that if your event is enormous.”

Sounds pretty perfect right?

Keeping in line with the theme of showcasing upcoming Australian music, and in particular Victorian music, the festival are even running a competition which gives local artists from Geelong/Surf Coast/Otways the chance to score a slot on the line up alongside this year’s eclectic menagerie of artists.

“We’ve got a big commitment to the community and everything else we do. We try to keep as much of the money that’s coming into the festival in the local community as possible. I think it made sense to – despite the fact that we’re already out booking plenty of acts from that area – to let up-and-coming bands know that there’s room for them at events like these, and give them something to push for.”

You’ve still got some time to enter if this sounds like something you and your band would be interested in. Applications are open until midnight Friday 22 February via or

It’s clear that maintaining a local focus that extends beyond just the music is a big part of their success. As aforementioned by Wade, By The Meadow’s commitment to the community filters through the entire festival, including the food, beer and wine offerings.

You’ll find brews courtesy of Salt Brewing, plus some of the tastiest cool climate wine in Australia from various Otway Hinterlands vineyards (just down the road) and a whole lot of local pop-up food stalls.

“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 did we mention the festival is a BYO event as well? Between tickets, travelling, food, merch, accommodation, and gumboots, you can end up spending quite the pretty penny on a weekend of fun and music, but these guys clearly have your best interests at heart. Embrace the privilege of bringing your own booze but just remember to leave the glass at home.

Grab your mates, grab your tents and escape the rat race to the picturesque Otway Hinterlands – just 90-minutes South-West of Melbourne. A lush gathering of rolling hills that eases you into the rugged national park ahead. An exceptional place to behold. Both strong and welcoming. All, together.


General release tickets are available now until March 4 and can be purchased at