Heading back to the beautiful Grampians National Park in February for its fourth year in a row, the Grampians Music Festival (GMF) has a huge line-up of outstanding Australian up and coming artists for 2020. Set for February 28 and 29, the festival boasts not just a great bill of acts, but also boutique beer, wine, and spirits, global cuisine and dancing in the dirt.
Last year saw some incredible Aussie acts, including Sampa the Great, Wafia, Slum Sociable and Angie McMahon, take to the stage during the three-day festival, highlighting the festival’s strong focus on up-and-coming Australian artists who are distinctive, exciting and above all, supremely talented.
It’s a focus that’s only further highlighted with the 2020 lineup, featuring a variety of artists who are all killing it in their own lanes, shaping what is looking to be easily the biggest year of the festival yet. Julia Jacklin, Ecca Vandal, DRMNGNOW, and These New South Whales are just some of the twenty acts headed to the Valley Stage come February.
While the acts are a drawcard on their own, it’s the uniqueness of this festival that has captured the attention of the nation, with its singular Valley Stage taking over the stunning paddock located in Halls Gap been one of the best settings for a music festival in the country.
“In the Grampians, there’s nothing like it,” explained festival organiser Carly Flecknoe. “There are some festivals that have been sticking around, like PANAMA [an intimate two-day, three-night festival held in North East Tasmania] that are really solid on the vision they’re creating with the community atmosphere and building something that has an amazing line-up, but it’s about even more than the line-up… I think GMF is still standalone in a unique way as well because it really ties into the environment as well. It’s not just the festival, it’s where you are and what you experiencing that makes it special.”
Notable for its intimacy, what makes GMF stand out is the atmosphere and view surrounding the festival: 360° of picturesque mountain views. With only one stage, there’s no timing clashes or rushes from set to set, allowing punters to enjoy all the genre-spanning musicians who take to the stage.
Now in its fourth year, GMF started as an indie festival for Australian newcomer acts in 2017. The debut line-up included acts such as Alex Lahey, Tigertown, and Shag Rock, and has since kept discovering music at its heart. Only growing more each year, Flecknoe has big plans to solidify the boutique music festival’s place on the Victorian festival circuit for years to come.
“We’ve always had longterm plans to be completely honest. We always wanted to build up the framework of a festival that had the legs to really hang around, to get longevity, and set up a framework that, if we handed the reigns on at some point, it would be very easy to see why we’ve created what we’ve created, and hope that that carries through.”
While previous years have seen the festival operate over three days, GMF 2020 is dropping to two days. That’s not to say, however, there’ll be less entertainment and fun. If anything, more so, as the same festival is jammed into two huge days.
“There’s a couple of different reasons that we did that,” explained Flecknoe. “In the past, the festival would empty out late in the afternoon and early evening, and while it’s amazing for the people who are still there to see Angie McMahon surrounded by only like 300 other people, we do feel bad for someone like Angie.”
By condensing the twenty acts into the Friday and Saturday, the festival aims to give all audience members the chance to see all the acts, even if they have to leave on Sunday to travel home. 2020 will also see the introduction of two new activities that are free to attend taking place on the Sunday for punters that aren’t in a hurry to get back. At the festival grounds, a celebration of emerging artists from Melbourne, Halls Gap and Regional Victoria will hit the stage. Free to watch, these bands will hit the stage while the Sunday Pool Party kicks off.
“It’s a really old school, country town pool. It’s exactly what you picture to come out of some Aussie film; you can see the mountains from the pool and there will be DJs who are going to be playing awesome music. We’ll have blow-up flamingos and beach balls and everything. It’ll be totally family-friendly for a bit of a wind-down on Sunday.”
The Grampians Music Festival is a completely family-friendly event, with room for families to dance as well as various areas and activities to keep the kids occupied. “We have an art space and as a whole range of different craft activities, presentations, storytime, all sorts of things that kids can engage with,” Flecknoe added. “We want kids to be able to come along and have their fun, but also get a taste of what it’s like to be at a music festival while letting mum, dad, aunty, or whoever it is that’s brought them, actually feel like they can enjoy it as well.”
As well as the music and activities on offer, local food from Ballarat and Horsham will be on sale too. The ‘I Made It Myself’ market will also include sustainable items homemade by festival vendors.
To keep this festival intimate, only 1500 tickets are available. Having sold out early bird tickets two days before the sale ended, tickets are going quickly, and you don’t want to miss out! Visit grampiansmusicfestival.com to secure your tickets.
2020 GRAMPIANS MUSIC FESTIVAL
These New South Whales
Zoe Fox & The Rocket Clocks
+ Family Dance Party Featuring DJ Relaxative And The Sunday Funday Pool Party With Ghostchip DJs
Written by Thom Devereux