They might not be on the same scale as Burning Man and Tomorrowland, but Australia’s boutique music festivals are worth taking note of. From world music to arts festivals, there are a handful of Australian festivals that should be on your bucket list.
Before you get stuck in to planning your festival ticket purchases across the globe for the next 12 months, take these five Aussie offerings into consideration.
#1 Spilt Milk
If ever there was a way to get more young’uns visiting the Australian Capital Territory, Spilt Milk is it. Although still only in its infancy, the two-year-old festival has already gained an impressive following. In fact, tickets to this year’s event sold out in just a few days.
Only a three-hour drive south of Sydney and seven hours north of Melbourne, Spilt Milk is the ultimate excuse to grab your friends, pack up the car and head off on a road trip. It attracts punters from all over the east coast and, with artists like Alison Wonderland, Lorde and Tash Sultana on the bill for 2018, it isn’t hard to see why.
Where: Commonwealth Park, Regatta Place, Parkes
When: November 25, 2018
There’s an assumption that Adelaide is a sleepy city, but it’s so much more than historic buildings and wineries. Some of Australia’s most-loved festivals happen here, including WOMAdelaide – a four-day music, art and dance festival.
Taking place in March each year, WOMAdelaide sees musicians from as far as Cuba, Mali and Mauritiana – as well an array of Australian Indigenous artists – come together in a worldly display of song. It may not boast the heavyweights that sell out festivals like Coachella, but catching the smaller acts that play WOMAdelaide is an essential experience of a different kind.
Held in the lush Adelaide Botanic Park, the festival’s vibe is much more chill than what you would expect of a typical music festival. Think more BYO camping chair and flower crowns, less EDM rave. Oh, and the best part is that they allow multiple pass-outs!
Tickets to WOMAdelaide 2018 are on sale now, starting from just $148.00.
Where: Botanic Park, Plane Tree Drive, Adelaide
When: March 9 to 12, 2018
#3 MONA FOMA
The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is Tasmania’s pride and joy. Not only has the quirky MONA gallery put Tasmania on the map, but it’s equally as quirky annual summer festival (and its winter spin off, Dark MOFO) breathe life in to Hobart, Berriedale and Launceston.
Curated by the Violent Femmes’ bassist Brian Ritchie, MONA FOMA, or MOFO, is a full sensory event. Celebrating all things music, art, food, drink, craft, spa and fun, MOFO has something to spark everyone’s interests. The hundreds of shows and events take place at the MONA, on-site in Berridale and at various locations around Hobart and Launceston.
Past years have seen Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Regurgitator play to crowds of thousands, and more intimate events featuring more obscure bands and musicians play to crowds of anywhere between one and 20. There’s also a cinema, market, light spa and underage nightclub to add to the festival experience.
MOFO is slated to return in January 2019, and offers specially discounted tickets for residents of the island state!
Where: Hobart, Launceston and MONA, Tasmania
When: January 2019
#4 Splendour In the Grass
Beginning as a one-day festival back in 2001, Splendour has grown to accommodate four different stages and dozens of gigs over three days. Ten years ago, the festival closed with sets by some of the biggest names of the time – The Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party and The Kaiser Chiefs – and, just this year, Stormzy, Queens of the Stone Age and LCD Sound System headlined.
With not much else on the event calendar in July and an always-impressive line-up, tickets to Splendour are some of the country’s most hotly contested.
Located a 30-minute drive from central Byron, road-trippers are plentiful, and Splendour offers a multitude of on-site camping options to accommodate. Punters can choose to BYO tent, book a spot in a pre-pitched tent city, or even hire a campervan and park it for the duration of the festival.
Just be sure to pack some gumboots and a poncho, because the trek from the campsite to festival can be a wet and slippery one!
Where: North Byron Parklands, Tweed Valley Way, Yelgun
When: July 20, 21 and 22, 2018
#5 Rainbow Serpent
Festival fashion takes on different meaning at Rainbow Serpent – it’s all about eclectic costumes, glitter, beads and bright colours. Even the site is a crazy display of colour and pattern, with large-scale art installations and light displays installed especially for the weekend.
Although it’s essentially an EDM festival, one of the five stages at Rainbow Serpent is also home to live reggae, hip-hop, funk, comedy and even fire-twirling. The Village is host to environmental workshops, yoga classes, massage sessions and a solar-powered cinema.
The festival is dedicated to sustainability and environmentally friendly practice. If you notice the site go quiet at any stage, don’t fret – that’s just your cue to pick up a rubbish bag and get to collecting some rubbish to get the music to kick back in.
Where: Jack Smiths Lane, Lexton, Victoria
When: January 2019
(Lead image: @gleesonjess via @splendourinthegrass / Instagram)