‘Festivals are a nice place to meet other artists and to dream about possible collaborations’: Aloe Blacc headlining Queenscliff Music Festival with an open mind

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‘Festivals are a nice place to meet other artists and to dream about possible collaborations’: Aloe Blacc headlining Queenscliff Music Festival with an open mind

Words by Jacob McCormack

Aloe Blacc has been a mainstay in the world of popular music for over 20 years now. With hits a plenty and collaborations that are equally as prolific in number, he maintains that music festivals are a great means of connecting with other artists. 

This year he is headlining Queenscliff Music Festival, which in its 2023 iteration will run from November 23 through to November 26. The festival will again be taking over the coastal town that sits at the eastern edge of the Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria. 

Queenscliff Music Festival has established and maintained a reputation over the years for alluring class acts from around the world as well as Australia. This year is no exception as Boy & Bear, Dan Sultan, G. Love & Special Sauce and Alice Ivy headline a totally stacked lineup.

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

Tickets are on sale now, with multiple options available for day-goers or those fully committed to the three-day experience. What should remain a non-negotiable is seeing Aloe Blacc perform. He has been busy writing a new album due for release soon, an album that has been heavily informed by his shift towards wanting to establish social change.

The epitome of this new attitude of Aloe’s is wrapped up in a new(ish) song entitled ‘Free’. Released with an accompanying video that is part of a bigger project where Aloe collaborated directly with a film team to make a documentary that challenged the problematic and unjust US prison system.

“It’s just a song that either speaks to you based on your life experiences or speaks to you based on the story that suspends your disbelief,” says Aloe. “’Free’ was written for this film that speaks to the carceral system in the United States, and legislation that ended up passing to change it for the better.

“The song was written intentionally for the film. However, just making up a narrative music video and shooting something that fits the storyline but doesn’t present or magnify the actual stories, wasn’t going to serve as well as showing the actual individuals involved.”

Aloe dove headfirst into the opportunity to be bring about positive change. The impact of fatherhood has been a driving force for his willingness to use his fame and skillset to create change and feel a part of something bigger than himself.

“I can write a love song or a bravado song and be completely self-indulgent and acting out of vanity,” he says. “I can do that anytime, I have done that probably most of my career, but I think right now at this iteration in my life as a father, recognising my own humanity and how my voice represents multiple stories is paramount.

“It’s about how I can help to magnify and amplify the stories of those who I believe should be seen. I’m going to use that opportunity to do something beyond myself.

“It’s also about the idea that my kids will be listening to my songs. The idea that if they were to glean anything from my songs they would glean compassion for humanity, and leadership and community. It makes me feel good to know that other people would be gleaning the same thing. I love telling stories of the underdog, to be representing folks who are generally voiceless.”

And yet he remains honest about striking a balance between personal satisfaction through individual achievement, and utilising his platform for positive societal change. 

“It’s hard to separate the reality that we all have some desires for ourselves, but if we can find a balance with those desires for ourselves and how we show up in in the world or how we can help others, we can justify it all.”

For a man who has achieved so much in music and finds himself standing above the fortification of humility, it’s plain to see that his positive impact through songwriting is only beginning. So, with the Queenscliff Music Festival looming in the near future, make sure you attend to get a glimpse of Aloe Blacc and his rousing drive for social change. 

Grab tickets to Queenscliff Music Festival here. 

This article was made in partnership with Queenscliff Music Festival