Music festivals in Australia that you didn't know about (but should)

Music festivals in Australia that you didn't know about (but should)

Set free

Text: Megan Koh


Missed Splendour in the Grass? No worries, we’ve got you covered with the remaining Aussie music festivals that await 2018


4 till 7 September 2018
Fortitude Valley, Brisbane

Reputed as the largest music industry conference and marketplace in Australia, BIGSOUND is a music festival that has everything under its roof. The well-established, veneered and loved festival returns with its 17th edition with the same focus on new music and its spotlight on budding artistes. With added attention to build closer ties between Australia and the Asian music markets, homegrown talents Linying, Charlie Lim and Intriguant will take the stage at BIGSOUND come this September. Sharing the stage will be an international line-up featuring the likes of Cast Down, Eilish Gilligan, and MANE.

The festival is a hive of activity complete with strong sound, parties, visual arts showcase and music tech showcase. Parties are curated to identify vastness in the scene with Women in Music, LoveBusk Launch and Korea Showcase to be the few among many to look out for. 15 emerging artists will be coming from South East Queensland for the visual arts showcase to join the Festival Design team in creating the installations to reflect a creative space.

15 September 2018
Sydney International Regatta Centre, New South Wales

The largest and most successful hardstyle outdoor festival to date, Defqon.1 is an international festival held annually in Australia as well as other countries like the Netherlands and Chile. A fan favourite of the genre, this year's line-up includes almost everyone in the harder styles of dance music including Endymion, Dilltek and Coone. While relishing in the sounds of hardcore techno, hard house and hard trance, Defqon.1's incredible stages elevates into unforgettable realms. The festival's stages are preened with lighting displays and decoration extravagancies with the highly anticipated Endshow deemed as the highlight of the event. Within large crowds and in high energies, Defqon.1's tradition is to culminate in a finale of synchronised explosion of music, lasers, fireworks, light projections and flames.

The festival will be the biggest party weekend of the summer and will incorporate 5 stages colour-coded to represent the degree of the harder styles: RED, MAGENTA, BLUE, GOLD and UV. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Defqon.1 will present a throwback of the previous editions on the Magenta stage, while on the Mainstage in Red, there will be a commemorative performance called Defqon.1 Legends Presents: A Decade of Dedication, composed by several DJs that have graced the festival in the past years.

You'll like this if you like: Over the top hardstyle stages with lasers, fireworks and flames.

Listen Out
22 till 30 September
Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Brisbane

The nation's primary national dance music festival, Listen Out will be a guaranteed crowd pleaser with its strong 2018 line-up and its yearly promise of dance, music and fun. The festival travels across the country and stops in Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Brisbane. Having sold out in all cities the past two years, this year saw the tickets to the Melbourne and Brisbane legs of Listen Out selling out in record time.

The line-up for 2018 is a mix of both local and international heavyweights. Featuring the likes of Skrillex, Skepta and A$AP Rocky, the international line-up will also include Grammy-nominated artist CamelPhat, French producer Petit Biscuit, US group Brockhampton and British EDM duo Snakeships. Stretching its diversity and reach around the globe, US rappers Noname, Lil Skies, and all-American internet boyband BROCKHAMPTON will also be gracing the stage. Representing the Australian scene will be local acts Confidence Man, Kira Puru, Haiku Hands, Kllo, Enschway, and Imbi The Girl.

You'll like this if you like: Dancing to music you know.

Burning Seeds
26 September till 2 October
Matong, New South Wales

Developed from the idea of an experimental gathering, Burning Seed softens the focus on music and harnesses its energy into being participant-driven and building a transformative experience. The sister festival of America's alternative arts festival, Burning Man, this creative festival rides on ideas and imagination, and is filled with art, theme camps, live performances, music and fire. A series of mini events will underscore the festival in endless music from genres of reggae, dubstep and jungle among others. The creative ambiance of Burning Seed is best eclipsed in their theme camps that create interactive and communal spaces brimmed with activities. Guests can look forward to food and fun with the sound camps and bars, chill and chai tents, theatrical and artistic venues, fetish temples, safe spaces and kids corner. Past editions even saw yoga workshops, dance parties, live music and chill out spaces.

You'll like this if you like: Chai, yoga and other hipster things.


Dragon Dreaming
2 till 5 November 2018
Wee Jasper, New South Wales

Birthed from an intention to build a tribe immersed in art and music, Dreaming Dragons is engineered with a focus on nurturing local artists, live bands and DJs. In a tradition strong with nature and the freedom of self-expression, the festival will be held at an environment friendly for families and children of all ages to enjoy music and energy. Featuring varied styles including live bands, gypsy, dub, tribal rhythms, psytrance, breaks, dubstep, glitch, progressive, ambient, house and reggae, the festival will play host to a range of tastes and genres while shining the spotlight on regional and local talents. While the 2018 line-up has yet to be announced, previous acts included Ant TC1, Genius and Apex. This year's run will be the 10th edition and Dreaming Dragons is expected to deliver like always.

You'll like this if you like: Discovering local talent and adding them to your obscure playlist.

Strawberry Fields
16 till 18 November 2018
The Wildlands, Tocumwal, New South Wales

An annual celebration of art, sound and creative expression over the span of three days, Strawberry Fields is a music festival that returns to the wildlands for its 10th birthday to bring a refreshing and riveting experience. Held on the banks of the Murray River just a few hours outside of Melbourne, the festival basks in their unique location to provide a new experience for guests to enjoy. Imagine swimming in a wild river, grooving in a treehouse and dancing on the beach. Aisles of market stalls, artistic installations, live performance art, workshops, forum discussions make up the festival area in more adventures that await.

Featuring a mix of renowned and breakthrough electronic music, the renowned stage will be shared with a tasteful selection of local and international acts. The full line-up has yet to be introduced but last year's saw the likes of Yothu Yindi & The Treaty Project, Sampa The Great, CC:DISCO! and Andrew Weatherall. In addition, the first act for this year has been announced and it is none other than Chicago's Honey Dijon, a DJ and producer that is a pioneer in the underground electronic scene.

You'll like this if you like: Dancing beside a river and beneath a canopy of trees.

17 November
Mrs. Macquarie's Point, New South Wales

Playing on Australia's ultimate dancefloor location at the Mrs. Macquarie's Point, 17 November will be a date sealed with high energies and blood-pumping beats in Sudney's waterside party Harbourside. Known for their handpicked selection of the best international and local house music artists, the venue will be livened by the great soundtrack and vibes like always and is veered as the perfect Sydney party to kick off the summer season.

Last year's line-up of producers Claptone, Jax Jones and Set Mo headlined the show and the new year continues with the big names featuring heavyweights US acts MK and Green Velvet, as well as Franky Rizardo, Shiba San, Roland Tings, Eli Brown and Dena Amy in the 2018 edition.

You'll like this if you like: Summer vibes, making friends and big roaring crowds.

22 to 25 November 2018
The Wildlands, Victoria

The pioneer in the scene, Earthcore celebrates 25 years of existence with music that brings crowds back to the roots of the original bush doof festival. Held in the beautiful Victorian wilderness outside Melbourne, the festival will indulge in days of revelling in music creative and uncommercialized from genres of progressive to techno with this year's line-up featuring No Comment, Mad Maxx and Angy Kore to name a few.

A haven of lifestyle, art and culture, Earthcore also supplements the music stages with a wide array of activities to be explored. The festival grounds will include zones with the likes of Boutique Camping, Monster Market Precinct, Speakers Forum, Art Zones, Chill Out, Cinema, Lifestyle Village, Theme Camps, Freak Shows, Mind-Bending Art Installations. There will also be The Market Food Zone with a host of lounges, dens, hide-holes, Psy cafes and a Chai tent while you indulge in the gastronomic opportunities from vegetarian delights to filling meats. The Creative Colloquium will also be brimmed with workshops where visitors can learn more about the multimedia arts, history, theory, processes, from leading international artists in their respective fields.

You'll like this if you like: Camping outdoors and waking up to electronic music


30 November till 2 December
Riverwood Downs Mountain Valley Resortm, New South Wales

With the gorgeous Riverwood Downs Mountain Valley Resort as its picturesque backdrop, Subsonic is a weekend filled with electronic, roots and soulful music from Australia and around the globe. With beginnings as a 700-people doof in 2009, Subsonic has since expanded into a 5000-capacity event, a host of five stages and a venue of the finest electronic talent. The festival enters ten years with its 2018 edition and celebrates with a show-stopping line-up headlined by US hit, Honey Dijon. Other international acts also include German producers Andhim, Zip and Move D plus British sensation Subb-an.

Specialising in genres of underground crop including hip-hop, house, jazz, world, funk, techno and bass, this year's line-up will highlight the hip-hop craze by including A.B. Original, the award-winning duo that charted on Number 16 on Triple J's Hottest 100 and hit Number 1 on iTunes in the first week of their debut album release. They will also be joined by Melbourne's own Combat Womat and Sydney's Big Village All Stars. Carrying a wide range of music that caters to a dynamic crowd, fans will not be disappointed with the inclusion of pioneering artists in dancehall and reggae like Mista Savona, arguably Australia's leading exponent of the genre.

You'll like this if you like: The familiarity of hip-hop but want more.

Festival of the Sun
13 till 15 December 2018
Port Macquarie, New South Wales

Celebrating its 15th year this December, Festival of the Sun (FOTSUN) is one of the longest running indie boutique festivals in Australia. Also reputed as one of the best boutique music festivals in New South Wales, FOTSUN peaks with activity with its venue at Port Macquarie. Hosting a unique and family-friendly atmosphere, the festival area will be filled with food trucks, free workshops, camps, Aussie bands among other attractions.

While the line-up has yet to be announced, last year's was headed by the likes of Meg Mac, Ball Park Music and The Preatures. Honed as Port Macquarie's flagship live music event, FOTSUN is guaranteed to continue the stellar line up in an eclectic feature of live Aussie and international bands. It will be three days of food stalls, art installations and local talent from the likes of Ball Park Music, Tash Sultana, The Smith Street Band, Gang of Youths, and The Preatures while camping at the scenic beach.


You'll like this if you like: A non-intimidating event where your family can come along.