A guide to summer festivals especially if you wouldn’t go
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.
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.
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.
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
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