The Summer Sundays sessions at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens are on for another year and boy does it look like fun as an impressive line-up of artists will take to the stage over three Sundays this January from 3.30pm until 7:30pm.
First up, on Sunday, January 5, Ballarat will enjoy the expansive sounds of critically-acclaimed songwriter Ali Barter. Two years on from her blistering debut A Suitable Girl, Barter made her triumphant return in October with Hello, I’m Doing My Best – a revealing collection of songs that track her most formative relationships: to her body, her instincts, sobriety and the old vices it counteracts, and the people she loves most.
Joining Barter on for the first Summer Sundays will be Ballarat’s own Meraki Minds – the five-piece indie pop band renowned for their electric stage presence, dreamy guitars, and harmonious female vocalists driven by groovy bass and drums; emerging First Nations singer-songwriter and local Melbourne-based artist Maylene Slater-Burns whose soft ballads are haunting, uplifting and thought-provoking; and Melbourne’s sister duo, Charm of Finches, aka Mabel and Ivy Windred-Wornes, who will be bringing their dreamy harmonies and haunted folk tunes about heartbreak, solitude and whispering trees to the stage.
The following week will see four more musicians take over the gardens on Sunday, January 12, including the likes of Ballarat’s own Ari Lane and Gunditjmara singer-songwriter Jayden Lillyst who will provide a refreshing dose of country rock, with a mix of soul and blues. Completing the lineup are the hip-shaking Melbourne soul band That Gold Street Sound; and Melbourne via Ballarat indie-rock group Purr Usual, who will take over the stage with their beaut brand of swirling jazz-pop, sure to get you grooving!
Rounding out 2020’s Summer Sundays, Sunday, January 19 will see Ballarat’s Anna Bilbrough and Kuku Yalanji, Jirrbal and Badu Island songbird Kee’ahn ease us into the afternoon, while local purveyors of funk and dedicated disciples of the groove, Sunnyside, will take punters on a journey of body heat discovery with tunes made fresh from the bedroom for the final session. Guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, they’re known destroyers of bad vibes and dedicated designers of the groove. That’s not all though.
Alongside Sunnyside, Australian rock royalty and You Am I frontman Tim Rogers will also be heading to the gardens for the last hoorah. A man who needs no introduction, Rogers has cemented himself as one of the greatest songwriting talents this country has ever produced. We imagine there’ll be all the favourites from Tim’s solo records, You Am I classics and familiar collaborations.
Alongside the music, a selection of Ballarat’s favourite food vendors will also be on-site serving up the best in local produce. You’ll find gourmet burgers, seafood and smoothies from Grill Your Hunger, traditional gourmet woodfire pizza from The Forge Pizzeria, natural homemade dumplings (chicken, beef, pork) from The Dumpling Man, street food with authentic Indian dishes from East India Trading Co-Food Truck, Vietnamese inspired food from the Lil’ nomnoms truck, as well as premium ice-cream from Luigi’s Gelato, juice and smoothies from Boost Juice, quality coffee from Bean Me Up, and there are even delicious donuts from Dinkum Donuts. Please note, the food lineup does change slightly each Sunday.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Sunday session without some cheeky beverages from the Garden Bar. This fully-licensed pop-up bar will showcase some of the region’s best wine, craft beer, cider and even the classic PIMMS cocktail, and is the ideal place to relax and take in all the action with the best line-of-sight to the stage. We hear there’s even a free VIP experience for Garden Bar guests this year, so get in early to secure your spot.
The Summer Sundays concert series is presented by the City of Ballarat and runs January 5, January 12 and January 19 at Lake Wendouree. For more information like @SummerSundaysBallarat on Facebook.
Feature Photo by Ilsa Wynne-Hoelscher
Story Photo by Guy Heath Photo