Queenscliff Music Festival is shaping up as an absolute not-to-be missed magical weekend of friends and music.
It’s that time of year again as the decorations are hung, the choirs are singing, and the stars shine ever so brightly. Festivities really start to ramp up on the 23rd day of the month as the community comes together in the spirit of the season, with it all drawing to a close on the 26th.
Yes, the end of November is a magical time of year for our bay, as lower Princess Park transforms into a musical wonderland for Queenscliff Music Festival.
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A mainstay event in our region, Queenscliff Music Festival is a favourite for the entire family thanks to its rich history of music and festival programming since 1997. The festival has seen huge talent trample through the tents including Australian darlings Paul Kelly, Kate Ceberano, Kate Miller-Heidke, Bernard Fanning, Sarah Blasko, Renee Geyer, Marcia Hines, Billy Thorpe and Archie Roach, and has provided local talent with a stage to make a name. They have also brought international icons to the Bellarine with the likes of Howie Day, Ben Harper, one-third of boygenius Julien Baker, Marlon Williams, and ‘Dream Catch Me’ singer Newton Faulkner all stepping up the Lighthouse Stage mic.
The post-pandemic reemergence last year saw the festival return as fit as a fiddle, boasting sets from recurring favourites John Butler, Vika and Linda Bull and Mia Dyson amongst other huge names of Baker Boy, Middle Kids and The Teskey Brothers.
This year’s festival program and artist lineup is no exception. With their playing times now in orbit, here is our four-day guide to Queenscliff Music Festival 2023.
THURSDAY 23 NOVEMBER
The opening night of the festival is a testing of the Bellarine Peninsula waters, with programming happening across partner venues in the Queenscliff Borough. Vue Grand kicks off with the celebration with Wayne Jury in poll position leading to a vibrant dance floor set from JAZZPARTY.
Across at the Uniting Church, you can catch sets from Jackie Marshall and Scottish award-winning instrumental folk trio Assynt, while Australian Music Prize winner Leah Senior and ARIA award-winning William Crighton take on Queenscliff Town Hall. End your night belting along to ‘Lost’, ‘Memphis’, ‘I Remember’ and ‘Green Limousine’ with Australia’s most cherished pub band, The Badloves.
FRIDAY 24 NOVEMBER
If you missed Assynt the night before, fear not – they will be playing again on Friday from 1.30pm at Vue Grand to open the day. Friday is stacked with both local and national talent. Whilst it is tempting to plonk in front of the Lighthouse Stage for back-to-back sets from Mood Spill, acoustic duo The Dreggs, rap sensation Illy, and the extraordinaries that brought us Echolalia, Something for Kate, in what will be a masterclass in Australian music making, the stacked lineup means all stages are oozing with talent.
The soulful voice of Chitra will keep you glued to the Glaneuse Stage, local act BEANS will burst the Hippos Stage followed by former Sweetheart, Alice Ivy, and over on Couta Quarter Operation Karma are expected to bring the high energy from their latest single ‘Bullshit’.
SATURDAY 25 NOVEMBER
After simmering in on Thursday and frying it up on Friday, Saturday is boiling point with a smorgasbord of songwriters and family fun. For the kids Bananas in Pajamas and Zindzi and the Zillionaires kick off the day whilst face paint, arts and crafts are waiting in the Couta Quarter. Big hitters are must-sees on this day including songbird, Katy Steele, returning to the festival for the first time since 2009 where she played with former band Little Birdy. She will be bringing tracks from her second solo album Big Star, released this June. Cherished Cold Chisel co-frontman, Ian Moss, will also be returning to the festival post his River Runs Dry album release.
In international talent, you cannot sleep on Frank Turner and his band The Sleeping Souls. The UK singer is a beloved veteran of both the punk scene and folk scene, having sold millions of albums worldwide as both the vocalist of Millions Dead, in his solo outfit. It would also be remiss not to include Aloe Blacc as a program highlight. The ‘I Need a Dollar’ singer lured audiences in with his catchy choruses and blew them away with his powerful performance on Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’. His voice is set to soar across Princess Park.
SUNDAY 26 NOVEMBER
To close out the festival weekend for the family is children’s presenter Justine Clarke, the Nicholas Ridiculous High Wire and Kids Ukulele with Queen of the Bellarine, whilst Daniel Aaron, and QMF queens, The Sweethearts, will strike on the local front. Having released his self-titled and most personal album this year, Dan Sultan will be a must-see on the Lighthouse Stage, followed by Boy & Bear as the ‘Southern Sun’ sets. Finishing up at the Brewhouse are Burger Joint, Willie J and The Bad Books, and Chook and Moluck to send off a huge season for the annual festival.
Whatever your festival planning looks like, Queenscliff Music Festival is exploding with talent to suit all music explorers.
Don’t miss out on the 25th Queenscliff Music Festival, set to run from November 23rd to 26th. It’s your chance to be a part of a music celebration that’s set to leave a lasting impression. For all the festival details, including the interpreted performances, visit www.qmf.net.au.