Head to the Dark Side: Maldon’s Goldfields Gothic Festival of Dark Ideas returns in all its gruesome glory

Subscribe to Forte Magazine


Head to the Dark Side: Maldon’s Goldfields Gothic Festival of Dark Ideas returns in all its gruesome glory

Real Life
Photo Credit The Brass Harpies
Credit: Stephen Boxhall
Photo Credit The Brass Harpies
Sass+Secrets. Credit: James Penlidis + Nicole Cleary
Photo Credit The Brass Harpies
1 / 7
Words by Staff Writer

Inspired by the dark undercurrent of the 1850s Victorian Goldfields and intriguing stories of the past, Goldfields Gothic showcases the dark side of the goldfields in all its gruesome glory.

Are you ready to delve into the shadows and embrace the eerie? Well, mark your calendars because Maldon’s Goldfields Gothic Festival of Dark Ideas is making a spine-chilling comeback from the 4-6 of August this year.

Off the back of its wildly successful first edition last year, the infamous festival is expanding to a thrilling three-day event that promises to send shivers down your spine (in the best possible way of course).

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around the region here.

Prepare yourself for a wickedly good time as the festival offers a plethora of eerie events to choose from. Take a ghost tour through the town’s hauntingly beautiful streets or explore the secrets of the cemetery on a guided tour, or prepare to be spellbound by the mesmerizing magic of Sass and Secrets, featuring Australia’s most renowned female magician and mentalist, Cath Jamison.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Goldfields Gothic (@goldfieldsgothic)

Hungry for more? Indulge in themed food experiences that will transport your taste buds to the dark side. If you’re feeling brave, attend workshops and performances that explore the mysteries of life and death, as well as the shadowy history of the goldfields.

A real highlight of the entire festival will be an exclusive performance by iconic new wave band Real Life (known for their hit song “Send Me An Angel“?) as part of the Fright Night mini music festival, accompanied by DJs, food trucks, and a bar. Real Life was a big part of the New Wave sound and featured heavily on alternative US radio stations such as KROQ as well as being the darlings of MTV. The band’s unique take on New Wave music influenced many young musicians worldwide and David has been touring the world ever since. In the middle of the Pandemic Real Life recorded and released their latest album Sirens.

They’ll be gracing the stage for a rare exclusive performance that will have you dancing in the moonlight. Real Life will be supported by synthpop purveyors Suburban Spell, experimental Post-Punk duo Winternationale and dystopian dark electronica by Terminal Sound System. DJ Kristen Solury from Bleeding Back Hearts Revue PBS 106.7FM and DJ Lilith Nirvana will also be spinning tunes to keep you dancing in the dark all night long.

But the darkness doesn’t end there. The Australian Hearse Owners Association of Australia will be rolling into Maldon for their annual national meetup, adding an extra touch of creepiness to the festivities.

Families looking for thrills and chills will be delighted with the range of family-friendly events available without fear of scaring or horrifying the little ones. Join in the dress-up fun at the Maldon Gothic and Victorian Picnic, where you can unleash your inner goth, or attend magic workshops (we love the dark drawing for kids!) and explore the new Dark Market, filled with alternative goods that cater to every macabre taste.

There’s also a Walking Dead Zombie Stroll complete with blood mulled wine, an occult life drawing experience, Death Gin tastings, a thrilling live cabaret show on the Victorian Goldfields Railway, and the Groosome Roofest, which is bringing a truck load of free events at the Kangaroo Hotel. Think bands, storytelling, a pub choir and more.

Closing out the festival in the best possible way will be Australia’s premiere satanic gospel experience, Dane Blacklock and the Preacher’s Daughter with their decidedly wicked aural and visual extravaganza. Banishing souls unto the pit of eternal damnation, Dane Blacklock and the Preacher’s Daughter are a bacchanalian feast for the senses as the big band, resplendent with horns (both worn and blown) sound the clarion call to surrender to the desires of the flesh. Think doom folk, a putrid blues version of gospel, like Tom Waits shaking his bones to James Brown at a full cabaret show and you are only getting close. The message is simple; follow your own bliss, cast off shame and guilt, enjoy life for all of its bounty, accept the chaos of existence and embrace desire. FYI, this show is strictly 18+ and contains nudity. 

Come dressed in your blackest finery and experience the dark side at Australia’s weirdest festival.

Goldfields Gothic Festival of Dark Ideas takes place 4 – 6  August in Maldon, Victoria. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased here

This article was made in partnership with Goldfields Gothic Festival of Dark Ideas.