Music is always better live and even better when you get to hang out with your friends, out in the open, under the sun or the stars and listen to your favourite acts … and some that will become your favourites.
For some people, music is so important that the menu of music festivals dictates there choice of where to live, study or holiday. If the River City is on your radar, then you’ll love this run-down of Brisbane music festivals.
So maybe you don’t like to rock out with the kids. Perhaps a bit of classical music is more your taste. Let’s go through a variety of Brisbane music festivals and you can see what takes your fancy.
- Stradbroke Chamber Music Festival (July) – If the island setting isn’t glorious enough, wait until you start hearing the music. The Stradbroke Chamber Music Festival runs for three days at as many venues on the idyllic island, all very civilised. Some of the world’s finest musicians come to play and revel in the convivial atmosphere. Enjoy the exquisite strains of the clarinet, violin and cello and all the other usual suspects. Vocalists also perform and the whole event is a journey through beautiful sounds and sights.
- Quandamooka Festival (Jun/Jul/Aug) – Also on ‘Straddie’ is a wonderful Indigenous festival that celebrates the Quandamooka people and their connection to the land on Stradbroke Island. Of the 55 or so events that take place during the festival, many of them are musical and feature dance performances as well as singing and the use of instruments.
- CMC Rocks (Mar) – Country music fans gather in their tens of thousands in Ipswich for the annual CMC Rocks Qld Sponsored by the Country Music Channel, it’s a massive event on the country music calendar and attracts famous overseas headliners. The 2018 event sold out in less than an hour! Camp sites are available, or you can book accommodation in town.
- Woodford Folk Festival (Dec/Jan) – Ring in the New Year surrounded by likeminded music lovers! The Woodford Folk Festival attracts crowds of around 125,000 to watch 2,000 performers over more than 400 events. International and local artists take to the various stages over the six days and nights and the genres include anything from rock music to Tibetan chanting. Be prepared for any kind of music and also expect to see wacky entertainment like circus acts, debating, comedy and street performances. There’s always something happening on site – including children’s performances – and it’s always colourful and engaging. WFF happens at ‘Woodfordia’, a 500-acre rural property close to the town of Woodford. It’s about an hour and a quarter’s drive from Brisbane but well worth the trek and you can camp there too.
- Brisbane International Jazz Festival (May/Jun) – A feast of jazz for lovers of the genre, the Brisbane International Jazz Festival welcomes famous names from overseas and shines a spotlight on some of our own homegrown talent. Held over a smattering of Brisbane venues, some intimate, others necessarily grander to accommodate the crowds of enthusiasts, the festival proves that Brisbane’s music scene continues to mature and puts it on the world map of musical hotspots to visit.
Turn up the volume, things are about to get NOISY! Brisbane’s music festivals are always a hit and those who attend are always keen to find out when the next one is.
- FOMO Festival (Jan) – The Riverstage in the City is the setting for FOMO Festival which is a one-day event. The brilliant thing about it is you don’t get FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) because everything happens on the one stage on the same day so you’re there for it all. Promoted as an inclusive festival experience, it’s also a charity gig that raises money for important causes. Grab tickets if you love hip-hop and electronic music but once they’re released, you have to move fast!
- Jerome’s Laneway Festival (Feb) – Also referred to simply as ‘Laneway’, St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival is an indie music event that started in Melbourne but inevitably had to branch out to other cities due to popular demand. It’s also now in Auckland and Singapore. February is Brisbane’s turn and attendees have to be aged 16 or over. Held at the Brisbane Showgrounds, it’s an outdoor event with lots of food and beverage offerings to keep everyone cruising along.
- Valley Fiesta (Aug/Sept) – Get into the Valley for five loud and lively days of music, theatre and arts, along with plenty of tasty food and some very cool inflatable art installations. Valley Fiesta is an epic event loved by Brisbane locals and visitors alike. It’s put on in Brisbane’s Chinatown by independent radio station 4ZZZ to showcase the city’s thriving arts scene and help gain exposure for emerging talent. Part street party, part indie talent scout gig, its themes are all part of the fun. In 2018, there was a 1950s boxing tent in Brunswick Street Mall where a contemporary circus troupe performed!
- Listen Out (Sep) – Australia’s premier dance music gig rolls into Brisbane and sets up in The Sporting Fields, Victoria Park. It’s an over-18s one-day extravaganza of pumping beats and huge names. Listen Out 2018 featured heavyweights such as Camelphat and Skrillex. If you love a bit of mosh pit craziness and go crazy for the drop, then Listen Out is the place you need to be.
- RNB Fridays Live (Nov) – Plan not to sit down until it’s over because RNB Fridays Live is BIG! Sure, you can buy tickets for the ‘seating’ but with the huge acts on stage, there’s no chance you’ll want to sit like your Grandma knitting in front of the TV. At the 2018 event, US superstar Usher was the headline act, with Salt N Pepa, Ginuwine and Fatman Scoop just some of the other performers on the bill. This travelling show hits all the majors and when it’s Brisbane’s turn, the city shows up in force. Some of Brissie’s best food trucks are on site to keep the revellers from starvation!