Festival life,  travel

Australian Travel – 5 boutique festivals you NEED to experience

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In the current climate of festivals in Australia, there are literally thousands of one-day, weekend and week-long music festivals popping up.

How to know which to attend, before they become too popular and over-crowded?

Whether it be celebrating Australian summer or a mid-year getaway, here are 5 quality festivals you NEED to experience!

Wide Open Space – Central Australia


Three days of the best Australian underground beats held in a resort at the MacDonnell ranges, each May.  What an experience if you are planning to travel Australia!

Wide Open Space is around an hour’s drive out of Alice Springs.  A ‘best kept secret’ this festival relies on volunteers and grant funding to proceed each year.  Offering a “mental, emotional, social, cultural and environmental landscapes of the desert” 

Eleven years strong, this festival is the only event of its kind in the area, providing the ultimate cultural experience while travelling Australia.

To top it off, in the true Australian way, the festival has an official “Good People Policy”
Quite simply “DON’T BE A DICKHEAD”

Add it to your list!

Best Australian Travel Accommodation.

Riverboats MusicFestival – Echuca, Victoria


On the third weekend of February Riverboats Music Festival occurs in Echuca-Moama, 2.5 hours from Melbourne, on the Murray river in a natural amphitheatre.

A novelty of this festival is the Historic Paddle Steamers (showcasing sideshows, potentially the first for Aussie gigs!) along the river during the weekend. One stage with iconic Australian music artists and plenty of food trucks.

‘Riverboats’ has many environmental initiatives including single use water bottles, re-usable coffee cups and wine glasses and they state  “All food containers, cups and disposable wine glasses sold on-site are made from either bioplastics, sugarcane, or paper sourced from managed plantations”

Every year has a stellar line-up. 

Past artists include:

The Waifs
Kasey Chambers
Mark Seymour
Paul Kelly
Dan Sultan
Tracy McNeill
Mick Thomas 

*Hosted by MC extraordinaire, Brian Nankervis.

Bass In The Grass – Darwin, NT


This festival was one-of-many I had never heard of, and was the ultimate festival experience! Set in the heat of Darwin (usually a town on the quiet side) 10 thousand people attended this festival in 2019. 

The festival is known for showcasing a selection of widely recognised artists and Triple J regulars, to a range of ages, though the target audience seems to be 20 something.

We arrived this year, at Darwins’ Mindil Beach, where there was a lot of grass (you’d hope so!), open spaces and phew!- water misting machines to deal with the extreme heat.

Friendly staff greeted us around lunchtime, and the atmosphere was chill-but-party.  We laughed at the silent disco, ate from the food trucks and enjoyed the ciders to keep the temp down, and always had a good view of our preferred acts of the day.

2019 artists included:

Amy Shark
Meg Mac
Hilltop Hoods

Mt Beauty Music Festival – Mt Beauty Victoria


This festival is three days of music and culture (including indigenous and traditional) from 26-28 April each year, with the aim of involving community groups to celebrate and raise money.

The town comes alive with arts and interactive installations, catered for the whole family,

Part ticketed and part free event,  there is an outdoor main stage, with markets, car displays, children’s entertainment, games and activities.

The markets range from quality stalls, a food and drink area, and showcasing local products and services.

A small town with a population of 2300, but over 100 community groups showcasing the true spirit of the residents.

Past artists include:

Affinity Quarter
Ann Poore 
Alana Wilkinson 
Slim Dime  
Matt Joe Gow
Little Wise
Charm of FInches

The town of Mount Beauty is worth the visit itself and with a weekend festival, this is highly recommended!

Beechworth Celtic Festival, Beechworth Victoria


A ‘true country Celtic festival which incorporates all facets of community involvement’, the Beechworth Celtic Festival runs 8-10 November, in North East Victoria.

A diverse event with something for everyone, including music and food at hotels around the town as well as the popular Bridge Road Brewery. Pipe Bands, Highland Dancers, Irish Dancers and Folk bands, you name it (in Celtic), it’s bound to be here.

General Admission tickets for the Festival start from $20 per person.

Past productions include:

The musical ‘Barry Versus Kelly’, dramatising the historic trial and execution of Ned Kelly.

‘The Old Gaol Tattoo’, a 90-minute spectacular in the style of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo featuring 200 musicians and dancers performing in the Old Gaol exercise yard celebrating the legends, traditions and heroes of the northeast.

If you’re into Celtic in any way, check the website for details!

There you have it, 5 festivals that definately should be added to an Australian travel itinerary.  Love to hear your thoughts if you have attended one or all of these festivals!

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