The festival will feature the likes of Alice Skye, Amyl & The Sniffers, Bad//Dreems, Birdz, Camp Cope, Kee’ahn and more.
Regional Victoria is set to get a brand-spanking-new touring festival that heads through some of its more diverse areas this year, injecting life back into a recovering live music scene after a crippling year for the industry.
Presented by Vanessa – the Transport Accident Commission’s youth communication program – ‘Small Town Big Sound’ is a live music road tour that aims to bring quality, live acts to six different regional areas – outside the city – across six weekends from April 16 through to May 22.
The key takeaways
- Small Town Big Sound will take place over six weekends, starting on Friday April 16 and ending Saturday May 22
- The lineup announced so far includes Amyl and the Sniffers, Camp Cope, Alice Skye, Elizabeth, Floodlights, Bad//Dreems, Kee’Ahn and Harmony Byrne, however acts will differ depending on each region
- The tour will kick off in the Barwon South West region, then will the Mornington/Bass Coast, Loddon Mallee, Grampians, Gippsland and Hume regions
Kicking off on Friday, April 16, the festival will make its first stop in the Barwon South West region for a series of gigs spearheaded by Adelaidian rebel rock crew Bad//Dreems, supported by Melbourne cruisy alt-rock-poppers Floodlights and Gugu Yalanji, Jirrbal and Badu Island songwriter Kee’ahn. The trio, alongside a local act still to be named, will perform at the community clubhouse, Point Lonsdale Boardriders Club for their first evening performance.
The next day (April 17th) will see the acts visit the stunning art-deco and council held, Koroit Theatre, located just northeast of Port Fairy, before they do it all over along the Mornington and Bass Coast, taking over San Remo’s Westernport Hotel on Friday, April 23 and Rye’s Rye Hotel on Saturday, April 24.
The third and fourth weekend will see a change in the festival lineup, with Melbourne’s pervasive alt-rock trio Camp Cope, acclaimed hip-hop heavyweight and Bad Apples Music signee, Birdz, and self-proclaimed pop patron of sad girls, Elizabeth leads the next slew of gigs. These legends will hit up the stage of Castlemaine’s long-historic Theatre Royal on Friday, April 30, while the adventure continues at Bendigo’s Golden Vine for an evening pub rock soiree on Saturday, May 1.
Venturing to The Grampians the following weekend, the acts will hit Ballarat’s The Eastern on Friday, May 7 before wrapping up their run on Saturday, May 8, where the rebuilt town hall of Pomonal will see a gig like never before.
On the final fifth and sixth weekends, a blockbuster bill sees ARIA-Award winning pub-punk rockers Amyl & The Sniffers team up with the soulful, psych-blues of Harmony Byrne and the indie-folk Wergaia and Wemba Wemba singer-songwriter, Alice Skye for a live music revival the Gippsland and Hume regions won’t forget.
On Friday, May 14 the acts visit Tarwin Lower’s Riverview Hotel, before the fire-devastated town of Marlo receives a show to remember at the local watering hole, Marlo Pub on Saturday, May 15. The following Friday, May 21 will see the acts perform to a crowd at Mansfield’s Delatite Hotel, before a finale event at Wandi’s Wandi Pub, owned by a crew of friends, closes Small Town Big Sound with camaraderie spirit.
It’s quite a decent run for a brand-new regional festival, and while the event will be delivering cream of the crop artists to the unassuming towns, it’s also a road tour with a purpose.
Experienced festival-goers will recognise Vanessa as the big, chunky, entertaining, bright orange that wants to test your breath.
The former booze bus with a whole lot of personality has been working with the TAC for over 15 years to arm young people with the tools to make safe road decisions, with zero judgement.
True to the program’s long history of visiting music festivals, university events and more, Small Town Big Sound is all about promoting Vanessa’s ‘pre-think before pre-drinks’ message to young drivers across regional Victoria. The Vanessa crew will be present at each event on the tour encouraging attendees to have a ‘pre-think’, get breath tested, and take time to plan their safe journey home.
“We want everyone at Small Town Big Sound events to have a great time, but more importantly we want everyone to make good choices and get home safely,” says TAC Senior Manager, Engagement, Meg Jacobs.
“If you’re planning to have a drink, then planning a safe way home should be top priority and our Vanessa staff will be there to help you do that, and provide free breath tests.”
If that wasn’t enough, the tour will also visit a local secondary school in each region, hosting music-focussed workshops that will allow students to learn from participating artists on their time and tips from working in the industry via a Q&A panel discussion. Followed by a stripped-back performance by one of the acts, students will also be given the chance to participate in interactive sessions around songwriting, sound production and the ins and outs of the music business, planting the seeds for the next crop of regional acts.
Countdown the days to live music’s return to regional Victoria, courtesy of some of Australia’s most exciting and thought-provoking acts at Small Town Big Sound, in times when it is needed most.
Small Town Big Sounds will run from April 16 to May 22 2021. Tickets are on sale now via smalltownbigsound.com.au with booking fees going towards supporting a better start for disadvantaged Indigenous students.