Freya Josephine Hollick is bringing alt-country charm to the Lightning & Rhinestones Festival 

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Freya Josephine Hollick is bringing alt-country charm to the Lightning & Rhinestones Festival 

Credit: Maximum Person
Words by Benjamin Lamb

We caught up with the singer-songwriter to chat about new music, touring and the wonderful Aussie music community.

Freya Josephine Hollick has been a staple of the Australian music scene for several years, playing a bevy of shows and festivals. Her genre-bending approach to country music has found many fans in all corners of the nation, not solely in capital cities. 

“Playing regional towns is a different vibe than playing capital cities”, Freya says. “I find it enjoyable, I grew up in Ballarat and am still there now. 

“You’re not really competing for different demographics, people who live in smaller city centres like Geelong and Ballarat gravitate towards the same events, regardless of age, that’s what I like about it.” 

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

Fresh from her cracking sets at Golden Plains, LoJo and Boogie this year, the Australian cosmic country Queen will be heading to Geelong to headline the brand-new Lightning & Rhinestones music festival.

The first of its kind in Geelong, the alt-country festival will take place on June 18 at the Barwon Club Hotel featuring a line-up of Australia’s most talented alt-country musicians, delicious food and drinks, as well as beginner lessons in two-step dancing.

These shows come months after the release of her latest album, The Real World which was worked on in part at the popular Rancho De La Luna in Joshua Tree, California, alongside a selection of the world’s most recognised and well-regarded musicians. 

“They’re all amazing players in there, they’ve all been doing it for such a long time. But when you’re working with any musician, regardless of whether they’re a big deal and have been playing for 50 years, or someone that’s been playing for 10 years, the experience is always pretty similar when people are passionate about music,” she explains. 

“Although, it was an amazing experience, and they’re all amazing musicians, the pearls of wisdom that you get come from all kinds of different places on the road, and they all tend to sort of mirror one another.” 

Regardless of the kind of music you’re into in Australia, there’s clear camaraderie among people in the industry, no matter what genre they are playing. 

“Anyone that’s playing anything slightly country in Australia is someone that I would consider my mate, we all end up playing the same festivals and stuff. 

“We all end up having a really fun time together, but it spans across genres when we play shows, and people that are into punk music show up or that are in the punk bands show up. 

“It’s a pretty good community of musicians; particularly within Melbourne there’s more people I’m familiar with, but we also have really good mates from Sydney that play different styles of music. It does kind of feel like one big family and everyone’s rooting for each other. We’re all just happy when people get opportunities.”

Festivals are in an interesting place at the moment. After a few years of no-shows, many festivals have moved away from the multi-day multi-genre model and moved towards single-day events showcasing single genres. 

While those multi-days festivals still exist, it’s exciting to see a push towards local performers on smaller bills in smaller places. 

“I like going to festivals where there’s a diverse array of music, but for these one-day events, I think it’s really fun to just have a theme and book all your favourite bands that play that sort of genre. 

“It gives people a pretty good idea of the scene in Australia, which is always cool. I’ve done a few things that are cosmic country oriented just in the past few months, and it’s really fun because I’m mates with all the people that are playing.

“You look at the lineup, and you go, ‘Oh cool, this is great, I get to see all of the people that I’m usually playing on the same night as’.” 

The Lightning & Rhinestones Festival will also feature music from Ben Mastwyk and his Millions, Georgia State Line, Katie Bates and Patrick Wilson. 

“My bandmates play with pretty much all of the other acts,” Freya adds with a laugh. “So it’s going to be really fun because it’s people I’ve played a lot of shows with over the years, and people whose work I’m already familiar with, who might have new music out that I haven’t had a chance to see yet.

“It brings the community together, which I think is really nice, you rock up, you know everybody that’s on the bill, and it’s a really good hang.”

Grab tickets for the Lightning & Rhinestones festival here