‘I bloody love the Rat’: Augie March lead Ballarat’s stunning Be Hear Now music festival

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‘I bloody love the Rat’: Augie March lead Ballarat’s stunning Be Hear Now music festival


Indie rock local legends Augie March are no strangers to a regional city gig.

“We’ve been going out to the Rat since the turn of this century,” drummer Dave Williams says, laughing in memory. “We’ve had some infamous gigs there.” Williams is referring to none other than the burgeoning arts city of Ballarat, and so it’s only fitting that Augie March are set to headline the city’s music series Be Hear Now this August.

Taking place over the weekend of August 9 to 11, Be Hear Now will showcase a roster of emerging talent at venues across the city, shining a much-deserved spotlight on some of the most exciting artists beginning to make soundwaves in Ballarat and beyond. Led by Creative Ballarat, the program aims to find, foster and develop local artists as they start out their music careers.

The artists featured at Be Hear Now will be supported through tailored mentoring, training, assets and resources, with the festival team providing hands-on guidance through networking and media coverage. The festival showcase program is a chance for artists to take the stage and present their work, as well as a chance for attendees to catch these rising stars at the beginning of their careers.

Be Hear Now

  • August 9 to 11
  • Augie March: August 10 at Civic Hall
  • Tickets here
  • Check out the full program here

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


Augie March lead a fantastic lineup

Hailing from Shepparton, Augie March understands the importance of supporting creative communities in the regions they come from. “I think about playing music as a part of my community and my culture,” Dave Williams says. “I always see it as just another facet of life.”

This focus on community, shared intimately with other regional cities around the country, has been integral to the band and its fans over the last 28 years of making music. “The band was afforded a wonderful opportunity with sustained exposure by triple j,” he says. “People got to hear us in the regional and rural areas as well as the capital cities. So, we’ve always had the opportunity to go out to those places. Indeed, the places that we sprang from.”

Joining the lineup for the festival as part of the Be Hear Now 2024 cohort are Zöj, Surfe and Aaliyah, as well as Coda Chroma and Dayfever, who will both be supporting Augie March at their gig on August 10 at Civic Hall.

Despite Augie March’s Ballarat shows holding a somewhat legendary status in the band’s history, Williams says that watching the other musicians supported by Be Hear Now is what he’s really looking forward to. “It’s just super exciting that the council has got around it and tipping some coin in there. There’s a burgeoning music community that’s happening in that place and surrounding [areas].”

There’s so much diversity in Ballarat’s music community

“Maybe 25, 30 years ago, there was one or two people who were big music lovers [in regional areas], but now there’s so many, [and] so much more diversity in the community,” Williams says. “What is great is venues have been popping up there and councils have invested in rooms and venues to attract music and creative arts to these places.”

It’s not just venues and gigs that the council is focusing on to help support creative communities, but also proactive tools and concrete skills to give local artists a leg up in their industries. A tentpole event of the Be Hear Now festival is the live music conference for music makers, taking place over August 10 and 11 in the city’s Civic Hall.

A free event that anyone can register to attend, this networking and showcasing conference is an opportunity for regional music communities to meet and learn from each other.

A showcase of Ballarat’s emerging musicians

Representatives from APRA AMCOS, Music Victoria, Unified Artists Management and more will be in attendance at the conference, giving musicians the chance to pitch, network and learn from industry decision-makers.

As part of the conference, Spiderbait’s Janet English will share wisdom about what it takes to make it in the music world, and a range of workshops and bootcamps will take place throughout the event to help artists develop the tools they need to set up their careers.

An epic weekend of music, workshops and networking, headlined by the beloved Aussie legends that are Augie March, Williams sums it up perfectly when asked about playing in Ballarat. “I boody love the Rat,” he laughs. “I’m super excited.”

You can get tickets to Augie March at Be Hear Now on August 10 here.

This article was made in partnership with Be Hear Now.