Here’s a rundown of the Bendigo Autumn Music Festival

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Here’s a rundown of the Bendigo Autumn Music Festival

The inaugural Bendigo Autumn Music festival is taking place this April, 25th to 28th in Bendigo’s Arts Precinct.

There is a gigantic, diverse and eclectic music line and a smorgasbord of arts, comedy, film and workshop offerings to compliment. With music catering to nearly every genre, from rock n roll, to flamenco, and everything in between, BAM is family friendly and offers something to cater to everyone’s palette. There’s even a street parade!


On the music front headlining the four-day festival is Kurt Vile and the Violators. The Philadelphian born singer-songwriter is heading to Australia in support of his smokin’ new album, Bottle It In, the almighty follow up to last year’s collaboration with Courtney Barnett. As part of BAM, Kurt and band will perform at Bendigo’s most revered venue, The Ulumbarra Theatre, the now 1,000-seat state-of-the-art theatre in the heart of the festival precinct. Once home to Chopper Reed, the refurbished 1860’s Sandhurst Gaol will no doubt be a huge drawcard for Kurt Vile fans looking for a unique concert experience out of town.

There are also some very special feature shows taking place. Originally commissioned by the Queensland Music Festival, and recently performed as part of Melbourne International Arts Festival, we also welcome a very special performance that sees original The Go Between’s members Lindy Morrison, Amanda Brown and John Willsteed reunite to perform their album 16 Lovers Lane in its entirety, along with special guests Dan Kelly, Danny Widdicombe and Luke Daniel Peacock. The tribute will also feature Dave Graney, Clare Moore, Rob Snarski, Alex Gow (Oh Mercy), Katie Noonan, Emily Lubitz (Tinpan Orange) and Laura Jean.

As well as featuring in the 16 Lovers Lane tribute, ARIA Award winning Katie Noonan will also be presenting one of the other festival highlight’s – ‘Gratitude & Grief’ – a not to be missed collaboration between Noonan’s jazz trio Elixir and acclaimed Melbourne artist and poet, Michael Leunig. The innovative performance will take place in Bendigo’s state-of-the-art Ulumbarra Theatre on the Sunday 28 April and combine spoken word poetry, music and art into an exquisite and unique Australian concert experience.

Zimbabwean born and Melbourne based singer-songwriter, Thando, has been gracing stages around Australia with her electric presence and powerhouse vocals and brings Thando’s Soul & RnB Improv Nights to BAM. Thando grew up feasting on the musical offerings of Ladysmith, Black Mambazo, QUEEN and TLC. Along the way, she found Jill Scott and crafted her genre bending sound with an electric live set. On both Friday and Saturday night you can catch many festival artists getting up and improvising alongside Thando late into the night.


Outside of the rich musical offerings BAM has a lot going on. BAM’s Comedy Hour will be led by comedian Mandy Nolan on Saturday and Sunday that features two of her favourite comedy buddies from the Southern circuit: Jeff Green and Daniel Connell.

BAM festival goers will be treated to a very special documentary film screening of “Waiting: The Van Duren Story” complete with an introduction to the film by Van Duren himself, followed by a Q and A session, and a band show. Van Duren’s story is a kin to that of Rodriguez, its starts out in Memphis 1975, from the ashes of Memphis band Big Star, managed by Rolling Stones former manager Andrew Loog Oldham, Van Duren was tipped as the next Paul McCartney but faded into obscurity. Forty years on, two Australians discover his music and set off to find him and vow to show the world his music. From a world premiere at Indie Memphis Van Duren heads to BAM this coming April.


For its inaugural year, there is also a plentiful list of workshops. From a drumming workshop with afro-beats artist Lamine Sonko, to Flamenco dancing with Arte Kanela, or a lesson in Melanesian Ukelele with members of the Black Orchid Stringband, there’s something for every interest. For those interested in singing, head along for a gospel singing workshop with Tracey Miller, harmony singing with Alana and Alicia, or choir singing with the good folk from Melbourne Indie Voices Sing Sessions. You can even indulge in a session of Cuban Rhythms with Kekosan.


And of course something for the kids (and adults), The Amazing Drumming Monkeys are also heading to BAM. Having entertained thousands around Australia over the last 10 years, see adorable puppet Monkeys put on a variety show including song, dance and African drumming.

A highlight of the event is when it all winds up with a rambunctious, New Orleans inspired Sunday Street Parade. Locals who can play a melodic instrument and want to get involved should subscribe to the newsletter and follow BAM on social media to find out about rehearsals in the lead up to the festival. It’s free and kicks off at 11am.

This one promises to be a good one – right in the heart of good old Bendigo!

Bendigo Autumn Music Festival runs from Thursday April 25 to Sunday April 28. Head to the website for the full lineup and ticketing info.