Grampians Music Festival: big mountains and huge sounds

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Grampians Music Festival: big mountains and huge sounds

Setting up in one of Australia’s most picturesque national parks this February, the three-day Grampians Music Festival is one to get to.
Last year saw massive acts like Saskwatch, Felix Riebl, Tigertown, Alex Lahey, and Hey Geronimo grace the stage for the very first Grampians Music Festival. This year, the festival is back and has delved into focusing strongly on up-and-coming Australian artists who are distinctive, exciting and above all, supremely talented.
“Last year’s lineup was pretty eclectic and quite heavily folk-focused; we wanted to really change that focus and make it more unique for our second year by trying to match the lineup to the special location of our festival,” Program Producer, Juliette Lalli explains.
“We feel that, while it’s a region that a lot of tourists go to, it’s not a place that a lot of people know about unless you went there as a kid. I used to go there as a kid, but I have a lot of friends who haven’t visited the region and haven’t discovered the beauty of it and how amazing it is,” she continues. “We wanted to match that; discovering the region and discovering all that regional Victoria has to offer with this lineup of new artists – it’s all about discovering new music in a new location.”
Running from February 2 – 4 in Halls Gap and surrounded by insane views of mountain ranges, the intimate affair will see some of Australia’s most impressive new artists take to the stage, including the likes of Polish Club, Tired Lion, Ruby Fields, Heaps Good Friends, Localles, Jarrow, SAATSUMA and Didirri.
Joining the ranks of these superstar headliners are IV League, Fountaineer, Greta Stanley, Crepes, Press Club, The Scrims, Rowena Wise, Phia, Zac Saber, Jack the Fox Band, Opal Ocean and Angelo Migyi.
With the idea of having a festival that showcases a collection of amazing new artists, Lalli has drawn upon her previous experience with Parlour Gigs to build this talented Australian lineup, grounded in the concept of giving musicians a unique, intimate and financially sustainable opportunity to perform.
“I’ve always been really passionate about supporting local music and knowing where new musos are at; it’s a pretty hard slog in the industry to get a spot to have your music heard and to really start your career,” she says. “We want to support locals, we really wanted to get artists out there that haven’t been heard so much before and we wanted to bring them in front of a bigger audience.
“A lot of the artists on our lineup have either released their debut album in the last year and a half, or they’ve done smaller festival slots but haven’t been put together in this kind of bigger environment,” Lalli explains. “We spent a lot of time scouting the environment and seeing what’s out there, and seeing what’s new and exciting and a bit different. That’s what we were looking to capture as well; we don’t want all indie rock artists and we don’t want all folk artists, so instead of having the genre framing the festival program, we wanted to have this idea of them being new and up and coming in Australia.
“Since booking a lot of our artists, a heap of them have blown up which is really exciting to see,” she continues. “With our headliners Polish Club, we saw them early last year at The Corner before we booked them because we just wanted to scout them out and envision them in our space. It is a small festival site, but the surroundings of the mountains are so beautiful and a bit overwhelming almost, so we just wanted to find a sound that could fill that space in the big mountain ranges – big sounds that could fill that space. We want to work on filling this space and matching performance to place.”
Along with big mountains and big sounds guiding the festival, a highlight is the ‘Best in the West’ Friday night program. Headed by Melbourne’s self-described sombre-folk dandy Didirri, Melbourne-via-Ballarat Crepes and Bendigo’s Fountaineer, the night will feature all western Victorian artists and showcase the region’s very best.
“Every artist on that lineup is either still living, or originated in Western Victoria. We wanted to get an eclectic mix of artists from Western Victoria, again to match the idea of discovering the place, but also to discover new music in the process,” Lalli smiles before continuing. “It’s really about giving people opportunities to showcase their music where it wouldn’t always be seen, and that’s been our philosophy across all of the programming decisions we’ve made.”
The Friday program is the perfect start to the three day festival and you won’t want to miss a single day. Differing to the standard festival program which has multiple bands across multiple stages at the same time, The Grampians Music Festival sets itself apart with the aim of being small and intimate, limiting tickets to 2,500 punters.
“We only have one stage at the whole festival so it’s quite a small festival site, which is another way of making sure that all artists are seen and heard. At a lot of big festivals, you’ll find there’s six stages and people are moving around and only really seeing half of each set. Here, having just one stage and 20 artists, it really helps to bring the focus to the performers themselves,” Lalli explains.
“Everyone is dancing together, enjoying it together, coming to this one stage. Behind the stage the backdrop is the mountain ranges so you’re seeing the music and you’re also looking at the beautiful environment as well, while you’re doing so.”
There will also be an array of great food from local food vendors including South African street food, Turkish gozleme and wood-fired pizza to keep you fuelled well into the night. With good food and good music, also come great beverages, with a selection of Blue Pyrenees wines, Prickly Moses beers and ciders and gin cocktails from Patient Wolf.
With the committee’s fingers on the pulse of new music, year two of Grampians Music Festival will see a huge range of up-and-coming Australian musicians grace the stage in one of the best setting for a music festival in the country.
A sunny weekend away with mates and music. A showcase of the best new bands making music all over the country. Local produce, beer and wine. Big mountains, huge sounds and a beautiful, chilled-out vibe. What’s not to love?
Get your tickets before it’s too late. To buy tickets, head to Eventbrite, and stay up to date with GMF news via the Facebook page and Instagram feed.
For further information, be sure to check out the website via
Written by Talia Rinaldo