The sniffer dogs are out, the shirts are off, the skirts are short… and the media is using the phrase “festivalgoers”, which apparently is a term people use to describe people.

Oh, and the music is loud. Music festival season is revving up, with Homebake, a mainstay, held at the weekend.

We're here so you don't need to be rescued from the mosh pit

But sadly, for many Australians, their days of being “festivalgoers” are but a distant, sweaty memory. And, tragically, that is often because they are old.

So today, we’re presenting a guide to this season’s festivals that is not just for the Mad Dogs pinging under the sun to dubstep music this summer - but for everybody, featuring helpful festival alternatives for those who don’t plan to crowdsurf again anytime soon.

Falls Music Festival

Falls is the festival for musos. But life is all about the journey, not the destination. The only real way to get to Falls - held in Lorne, Victoria, and Marion Bay in Tassie - is by roadtrip. Preferably with 8 of your closest mates and including at least one incoherent call to radio station Triple J.

It’s a bit of a trek and attracts a group of people who really appreciate their music. This year it’s worth it for up-and-comers Ballpark Music, Oh Mercy, and for women to go weak at the knees at Matt Corby’s dreamy eyes.

Falls alternative: Roadtrip, shmoadtrip. Drive up the road to your local Westfield on Boxing Day and head straight for JB Hi-Fi’s vinyl section. You’ll grab a bargain on The Travelling Wilburys box set. And you’ll be home in time to avoid the cricket.

Future Music Festival

The typical “festivalgoers’” festival, feat. Gangnam. Awwwww yeah. Drown yourself in your vodka redbull and get ready to wig out. Future’s the last big festival in the summer line-up, but it’s also one of the biggest, held right before that pesky uni semester begins for many. What’s so good (or not, up to you) about it? Well, it’s got some top dance music stars performing, like The Prodigy. Oh, and The Guy From Gangnam Style himself is coming to Oz to play his Gangnam set.

Future alternative: Older folks, you’ve heard of Gangnam Style but this isn’t for you. Listen to Pink Floyd on your back deck and sip a lemon, lime and bitters instead.

Big Day Out

BDO has become the festival of the oldie. It must’ve been disappointing if you missed the BDO in 2000. Especially given the supercharged headliners - The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Grinspoon…

Well, there’s no need to worry. In 2013 you can watch the exact same show all over again, as those fresh, young, break-out songbirds The Red Hot Chilli Peppers strum psychedelic tunes. And these shit-hot young blokes Grinspoon bash out new punch-your-mum-in-the-face rock. Just like they did when Pokemon was a thing and Nikki Webster a) wasn’t married and b) hadn’t stripped all her kit off for Zoo Weekly.

BDO alternative: Actually, even if your festival days are behind you, you might want to hit it up. Not just because the music might be your taste, either. Organisers have dumped the old corn-on-the-cob and are serving up a smorgasbord of gourmet dishes from top inner-city restaurants, at least at the Sydney show. But where’s Killing Heidi?

Peats Ridge Festival

Peat’s Ridge, it’s a gorgeous place, and it’s home to the festival for hippies. Are you garbed up in your Sunday (industrial hemp) Best? Are your karmic energies in balance? They better be if you want to grace this New Years festival of “music and art”. After all, a couple of years ago in 2010 it was Australia’s “sustainable event of the year”. At the top of the bill is the John Butler Trio, and there’s also some other great local acts starring like The Herd, Hey Geronimo and Deep Sea Arcade.

Peats Ridge alternative: Pull your Che Guevara T-shirt on and head right to your nearest second-hand bookstore. There, grab yourself a copy of The Magic Eye. You’ll lose yourself for the weekend - and not in the bush on NSW’s Central Coast while you’re potentially as high as a kite.

We aren't sure whether this works on the computer, because we can't see anything either. Picture: Magic Eye

Laneway Festival

It’s like totes the festival for hipsters. A GREAT set list this year for all the Triple J or community radio fans out there, with top indie bands you’d never hear on Nova like Alpine, Bat For Lashes and Yeasayer.

Some words of warning though. You’ll feel a little less welcome if you don’t have a Newtown or Brunswick postcode. And if your skinny jeans are looking a little too clean. Smother them in mud beforehand for the full hipster effect.

Laneway alternative: Dust off your Pet Shop Boys cassette and move the tape deck to the kitchen. Don’t pretend you’ve thrown it out, we know it’s packed under the stairs. ‘Go West’ is the ideal fire-up anthem for preparing chicken drumsticks and a summer salad.


Hell's Satan appears at Soundwave

The festival for metalheads and punk-rockers. If you’ve got a passion for headbanging, this festival is for you. Before you get started, ensure your earrings (the size of dinner plates) are firmly in place. The bigger the better, if you’re going to protect yourself from both the harsh sun of the far-western suburbs of Sydney and the equally rough music.

Soundwave alternative: Carefully smash your head into some fine china. Yeah, you’ll hurt yourself. But you’ll make a racket and at least you won’t get sunburnt.

- With Chris Paine. Dan on Twitter: @drpiotrowski

Comments on this post will rock on until 8pm AEST.

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    • Poita says:

      05:11am | 12/12/12

      One of the good things about being old is that you don’t feel the need to see a bunch of shitty bands surrounded by a bunch of meatheads and tarts or hipsters. Waiting for about a century before the good bands come on, then giving up about 5 o clock because you’re sick of sitting on a shitty patch of grass all day trying to pretend that it’s all eclectic and paying $10 for a drink and lining up for a half hour to take a slash in some disgusting port a loo.

      Assuming one was stupid enough to do so in the first place.

    • BMJ says:

      06:31am | 12/12/12

      One of the bad things when you get old is you find problems everywhere. If something isn’t 100% you let it dominate you.

    • Bob from the bush says:

      03:54pm | 12/12/12

      The best thing about being 60 is that I saw all the great bands live when they were on top! !

    • SAm says:

      05:45am | 12/12/12

      so bummed no soundwave tickets left. The premier festival nowadays. Laughably BDO hasnt even sold out 1 Sydney show lol

    • Train Without A Station says:

      07:19am | 12/12/12

      Soundwave certainly appears to have surpassed BDO as the premier rock festival. Probably due to BDO getting complacent asking for $150+ for a ticket while pumping out substandard line ups since 2009. All the while Soundwave’s have continued to improve, going from great punk rock line ups, to great rock line ups in general.

    • T-rev says:

      07:21am | 12/12/12

      Get tickets to Bruce Springsteen and watch how a real concert is held…

    • Kel says:

      08:15am | 12/12/12

      I’m with ya, T-rev. 

      Soundwave is a terrible setup & the music really is cheap - compared to what it could be (Big Day Out #2, coming right up!). 
      You never get to see half the bands you want because they all overlap, the ticket prices are inexcusable (considering the amount of bands you actually get to enjoy a full set with) and you end up surrounded by a bunch of hotheaded “festivalgoers” who don’t give a shit about the music and it’s all about the “scene” and once again, image. 

      Excuse me, Sam, if you’re one of those people.  But I’m still in my 20’s and have a keen ear & eye for a good festival and some bloody good music.  Soundwave is just as terrible as BDO. 

      Soon you’ll all realize that, and I’m sure your opinion will change with the rest of the crowd.

    • Elphaba says:

      08:20am | 12/12/12

      I’ve got mine!  Metal up your ass!! \m/

      And my MetClub membership arrived today - now I’m eligible to enter the ballot for the fan meet-&-greet with Metallica.  I doubt I’ll get picked, but you’ve got to be in it to win it!

      I had to laugh when Ken West unveiled his gourmet food tent stuff for BDO.  Um, pretty sure festival goers couldn’t give a shit about gourmet food.  I think if they’re hungry, hot dogs and hot chips will suffice.  IF they get hungry, that is…

    • Ohcomeon says:

      08:45am | 12/12/12


      im getting tickets to the Hanging Rock show. Ive been waiting years for this. To my mind probably the greatest working rock band in the world. They did 4.5 hours recently in Helsinki.

      Its rumoured hes also playing at Bluesfest.

    • The Thing That Should Not Be says:

      09:48am | 12/12/12

      Nice work Elph!!

      Ive been a Metclub member for a few years now. Spewing I missed out on the meet and greet’s for the 3 shows I went to when they toured in 2010, but keeping fingers crossed for Soundwave.

    • Elphaba says:

      10:07am | 12/12/12

      @The Thing That Should Not Be - I’m also hoping this little baby pays for itself next year.  Orion, here I come!  Discount Ultra passes and 2 days of Metallica madness. smile

      Yeah, the meet & greets are highly unlikely, but I thought I’d give it a try!

    • fml says:

      11:33am | 12/12/12

      Got me Boss tickets and the Stone Roses, both in march!!

      Wooot Wooot. So glad was Stone roses were able to do a solo show in melb. Cheaper and couldn’t be bothered going to the festival! smile

    • The Thing That Should Not Be says:

      01:05pm | 12/12/12

      @ Elph

      My jealousy know no bounds! Was saving for a wedding this year so couldn’t get to Orion, and next year will still be paying the honeymoon off… It will happen one day…

    • Elphaba says:

      01:34pm | 12/12/12

      @The Thing That Should Not Be, it’s not set in stone yet.  It will depend of flight prices.  I want to do the whole thing for $2500.  The concert pass, accommodation, food etc will be fine, but flights are currently fluctuating between $1400-2400.

      I’ll buy a ticket in Feb and see what happens after that.

      Speaking of which, my e-tickets for Soundwave just arrived!  Aww yeah - celebrate!

    • T-rev says:

      01:40pm | 12/12/12

      Just got my Boss pre-sale tickets for Brisbane. Super pumped!

    • Seaview says:

      07:10am | 12/12/12

      Oh to be young and so full of sarcasm again!
      Festivals.. am I really missing something here? Let’s talk about the good old days when you could see great bands at unrenovated pubs or venues like… The Venue… at any time of the year and not have to wait until Summer and share festy, over crowded spaces with wasted 15 year olds. Just because its in the past doesn’t mean it wasn’t good!

    • Kel says:

      08:11am | 12/12/12


    • hammy says:

      08:27am | 12/12/12

      NO!  Pro-Christianity is banned on the Punch.

    • Trevor says:

      12:03pm | 12/12/12


      The word ‘Amen’ was poached by the Christian Church from the Roman Pagan gods. It’s a bastardised version of ‘Ave’. As in ‘Ave Caesar!’.

    • hammy says:

      02:39pm | 12/12/12

      Wrong it’s Hebrew.

    • Trevor says:

      03:33pm | 12/12/12

      I believe you mate- it was a joke.

      Pretty piss poor on reflection…


      07:13am | 12/12/12

      Hi Daniel,

      Who actually suggested that older Australians have no particular interest or taste in music?  And FYI not all Australians are old only they maybe slightly older than your generation? Well that isn’t a fault of their own, as you may know time marches on before we all have realized that we happen to be a little wiser and older.  However for me personally the very handsome and stylish Hell’s Satan happens to be a personal favourite pick off all time and I would do my very best to make it to his concert of head banging style with my family and friends, any day. 

      I was also wondering since music festivals such as the Sydney Festival is a big thing in Australia, why not invite some international acts along such as Rihanna, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez to see who is old and boring and who is not!  Heavy rock is only one kind of music, there happens to be all other kinds like jazz, R & B, classical and pop. And by the way going to a big day out concert while consuming large amounts of alcohol would make the pressure off what sort of music we should be entertained by anyway. 

      After a while even Hell’s Satan may begin to look a bit like Johnny Depp, Richard Gere or George Clooney, right?  Guess what? These actors may be slightly older but they happen to be in a class of their own.  Kind regards.

    • Racquel says:

      07:40am | 12/12/12

      It works on computer and it is a shark.

    • SimpleSimon says:

      07:54am | 12/12/12

      Can’t wait for Soundwave. Going to Brisbane (for some reason), so the heat is going to suck, but the metal will be epic \m/o.O\m/

    • Elphaba says:

      08:26am | 12/12/12

      Still waiting for Metallica to announce a sidewave at the 11th hour… I know it won’t happen, but still, all fingers and toes are crossed…

    • Philosopher says:

      04:37pm | 12/12/12

      Metallica? Has-beens. What are they arriving in, golf buggies? Please. You’ve passed the mantle on guys, now step back and let Mastodon etc take over.

    • Mark says:

      07:59am | 12/12/12

      Daniel - You missed the best of them all - the Woodford Folk Festival. Just north of Brisbane commencing 27 Dec through to Jan 1

    • subotic says:

      08:01am | 12/12/12

      Yea, bugger the festival scene. I’d much rather do a side-gig and get to see the bands i really wanna see, instead of paying $300 to see a bunch of crap I wouldn’t even listen to on the radio.

      Got tix for Black Sabbath next year, going to see Earthless tomorrow, and if I have a few chits left I would love to do Rodriguez. Only regret is no side shows in Brisbane for Kyuss Lives. Ah well…

      Great year next year for bands indeed!

    • Kika says:

      09:38am | 12/12/12

      Are you serious? How come I haven’t heard that Sabbath is playing next year? I love them. My Dad used to play them when my sister and I were naughty to make us comply. Strangely enough I came to like them a lot. Geezer Butler is favourite bassists ever.

    • Ohcomeon says:

      08:14am | 12/12/12

      Daniel. Written like someone who hasnt been out to see a band in 10 years.

      In order to satirise, one must have a good grasp of the source material, you do not. Your barbs about festivals are about as punchy as my gramps complaining about Today Tonight.


      Laneway: Awesome. Ive been every year, and have been blown away by the standard of up and coming bands. There are a lot of hipsters, but there are also a lot of music fans. You also get none of the tourists or rednecks that go to the bigger festivals. Seeing the then obscure Florence and the machine in front of 1500 people, sublime.

      Bluesfest: One of the best lineups of modern times, and you dont even include it. A crowd that goes from young to old, folkie to rocker.

      Future Music: Full of pinging idiots, but often great lineups. The fact that youd single out PSY instead of the very solid lineup shows your ignorance.

      Womad: Best music fest in Australia. Plenty to poke fun at there, but its also a great event if youre actually into music.

      Soundwave: Well run metal show the two times Ive been, had a ball. Crowd of scary looking metalheads much more friendly than your average roid munching, flag waving Big Day Out meth lover.

      Big Day Out: Spot on. But its shooting fish in a barrel having a go at this venerable event.

    • Cammie says:

      09:33am | 12/12/12

      Ha, you’ve nailed it!

    • Benny says:

      08:15am | 12/12/12

      JB has a vinyl section?
      Don’t panic, you don’t need to go to shitty Future Music to see the Stone Roses, they are doing a side show. (what the hell are they doing at Future Music anyway?)
      Its a shark!

    • Kel says:

      08:20am | 12/12/12

      If you want a festival for older people or for families alike, get amongst the respectable punters at Bluesfest. 

      A truly amazing festival experience to be had of ALL AGES.  And all the young “festivalgoers” usually write themselves off on the first night, only to never hear from them again the rest of the weekend.  I’m in my 20’s, have had my fair share of shenanigans & festivals (purely for the music) and this is one of the best organised ones I’ve ever been to - and 100% welcoming for all. 

      I’d even take my 70 year old Dad, if he was keen on good music…

    • Tubesteak says:

      08:25am | 12/12/12

      Last festival I went to was 2011 BDO because Tool and Rammstein played. I only turned up for them. It was beyond awesome. Utterly brilliant from the two best stage acts in the world and two of the best bands in the world

      I also was at the 2000 BDO and RHCP were nowhere near as good as NIN. Back then Reznor was still on drugs and his music hadn’t begun to suck in lameness. Bill Hicks was right. Musicians on drugs make better music

    • KK says:

      08:59am | 12/12/12

      Yeahhhh….I think you missed the point Bill Hicks was trying to make…

      Agreed tho, reminds me of this person that had a Tool song as their ringtone only because they liked the riff in it and they liked it so much that they actually kept it once I told them what the song was actually about…even tho the title is a bit of a giveaway. (Track 2 from Undertow)

      I gave up going to BDO’s and Splendour as they went from awesome and full of music fans and started to blend into crappy and full of drug taking, drunk, fighting wankers somewhere around 2006.  With the exception of the 2011 one you mentioned, I haven’t seen a good line up for a good decade.  As for Reznor - I think you missed the billion other good songs he wrote at this time, because he was writing most of them for games and they were not brought out under his name or label so you have to search for the good tracks, but they are still out there.

    • patsy says:

      09:20am | 12/12/12

      @Tubesteak-Sobriety changes people. It may keep them alive but kills their creativity. Ozzy for example. New stuff, blah. Same as Alice Cooper. I’m replacing my CD collection alphabetically (my home burned down) And I didn’t get anything of his after “Goes to Hell.” Thank goodness Ian Gillan’s still on the piss.

    • Redeker Plan says:

      09:29am | 12/12/12

      Agreed re: NIN. Saw them at the disastrous washed out Alternative Nation festival back in the mid-90s and they were mind-blowing. I was 3 rows from the front, knee deep in mud, soaking wet and screaming my head off.  Saw them at the BDO in 2000 and they were great, but not as dark. 

      Saw them in 2004 at the Tennis Centre and fell out of decade-long love with Trent. He seemed to be muscled up, clean, sober and just about ready to hand out free bibles.  If the tickets hadn’t been so expensive I would have left early. 

      Now he seems to have got his mojo back a bit by ditching the record label and doing his own thing.  I liked the first EP from How to Destroy Angels…

      Best festival around at the moment? Harvest (although not really a summer festival) is amazing for a festival that’s only 2 years old.  Laneway is great, as is Bluesfest.  BDO sucks hairy dogs balls now, it might as. well be sponsored by Triple M

    • Tubesteak says:

      10:23am | 12/12/12

      Not really missing the point but distorting what he said. Without the drugs those artists would not have been able to make all that great music that has enhanced our lives throughout the years
      Not sure how someone can misconstrue track 2
      You’re right about festivals these days. They’re geared toward boring middle of the road teenieboppers and bogans that just want to party on pingers for a day. Today’s music is unremarkable and bland. There is no intensity and passion anymore
      I don’t think Reznor has done anything good since The Fragile. I’ve got most of his stuff since then. You know something’s gone wrong when Daft Punk did a darker soundtrack for Tron Legacy than Reznor did for The Social Network. They should have swapped but that would have meant Reznor working for Disney and that would mean worlds ending

      Redeker Plan
      Same as you. Saw them a few times in the 90s and early 2000s. They rocked. Then saw them at Hordern Pavillion around 2004 and it was bland. Haven’t bothered since then. Ghosts was a terrible disappointment. He’s lost the fire and fury and darkness that made The Downward Spiral one of the greatest albums of all time

    • Bruce says:

      09:04am | 12/12/12

      Magic eye….. It’s a shark.

    • DG says:

      09:10am | 12/12/12

      Easter Saturday @ Blues Fest:

      Robert Plant
      Iggy & the Stooges
      Status Quo
      Drop Kick Murphys

      Hmm need to organise a baby sitter…..... 3yo & music festivals don’t mix… mum & dad need to prove we’ve still got it!!

    • Thunderoad says:

      09:30am | 12/12/12

      Hopefully the Quo treat us to a romp through Down Down Prices are Down.

    • Randy Marsh says:

      09:23am | 12/12/12

      I love music festivals I have been working on my abs all year for them. I love getting shirtless around drunk girls they always want to feel my muscles. I get so many girls numbers at music festivals.

      Cant wait for summadayze, Yeah boi! I have been hitting up the tanning beds so i have a killer tan for the event. cant wait to show off my killer bod. I plan to get with soooo many girls wink  Like a couple of weeks ago at Stereos a this chick took me back to her motel room, we were having good times then her drunk female friend walked in, and joined in! :D

      Bring on summadayze! I got my tan set, my abs look great and a motel booked in, its going to be a killer night brah!

    • Tim says:

      11:02am | 12/12/12

      you forgot to add taking plenty of roids and then only doing upper body weights.

      You “lift” bro?

      Nah, you don’t “lift”

    • AdamC says:

      09:32am | 12/12/12

      Why would the security guy in that photo be carrying the backward-cap fellow around?

    • Tim says:

      10:59am | 12/12/12

      They’re recreating a scene from The Bodyguard.

    • Zeta Ist Kreig says:

      09:34am | 12/12/12

      There are no black metal bands touring this festival season, so I’m spending the summer locked in my basement recording my solo project’s debut album MOUNTAINS OF BLACKNESS.

      Then I’m going to burn some churches.

    • subotic Torquemada 71 says:

      11:18am | 12/12/12

      Send me the rapidshare link…..

    • Your name:Geez.... says:

      09:47am | 12/12/12

      I was at Sunbury ‘73 & ‘74…now THAT was a music festival.
      Billy Thorpe, Max Merritt, Skyhooks, Blackfeather, Chain, Daddy Cool, Johnny O’Keefe, Sherbet, to name a few… ACDC were on the card, put pulled the plug at the last minute after their roadies ended up in a punch up with the organisers.
      Today’s ‘Mickey Mouse’ bands would not hold a candle to these icons…real music from real artists…not computer generated head banging crap served up as music today.
      Ten bucks for three days and could take in as much booze you could carry.
      Sunbury was Australia’s ‘Woodstock’.....

    • Ohcomeon says:

      10:53am | 12/12/12

      Its funny that you actually believe that any of those ramshackle blues jam bands you mentioned have anywhere near the chops of the average touring band nowadays.

      You also forgot to include ‘And get off my lawn you kids’

    • patsy says:

      11:43am | 12/12/12

      I would’ve loved to be at Sunbury, In the late ‘70’s when it was 2JJ, they’d put on a lot of free conerts. I even saw AC/DC free at Paddy’s Markets.

      @Ohcomeon-Billy Thorpe is one of the most under rated guitarists.

    • DG says:

      02:27pm | 12/12/12

      Saw Chain 2 years at Broadbeach Blues for free.

      They still got it.

    • TheHuntress says:

      11:26am | 12/12/12

      I’m irritated that I have to go to Future Music Festival to see The Stone Roses. I don’t want to miss them, but I don’t want to go to a festival either. I think it will be my usual trick of arrive a band or 2 before they play, get as close to the stage as I can and leave straight afterwards. Usually works for me.

    • fml says:

      12:10pm | 12/12/12

      You don’t. (if you live in melbourne)

      Stone Roses
      Festival Hall Melbourne, West Melbourne, VIC
      Thu 7 Mar 2013, 20:00


    • Swamp Thing says:

      03:26pm | 12/12/12

      Daniel - you might have got the sniffer dogs & short skirts a bit close together there.

    • Warp says:

      04:25pm | 12/12/12

      Ha ha. yeah. So true.

    • Loddlaen says:

      05:25pm | 12/12/12

      You do realise the Soundwave is held at the same venue as the BDO?

    • expat says:

      05:34pm | 12/12/12


      Don’t wast your money with watered down Australian festivals..


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