Festivals all over Australia
IN ANY month in Australia there is a selection of festivals in obvious and less than obvious locations.
They are being held in your own backyard or somewhere along the grey nomad road.
Music along with local produce, craft, culture, dancing, poetry and workshops often make up these events. And there are the old friendships to be rekindled and new friends to be made as seniors enjoy all that these festivals have to offer.
Here are just some to tantalise you:
Woodford Folk Festival (Qld)
Held in Woodford, just north of Brisbane, the 34th festival will be six days and six nights of fun with more than 2000 local, national and international artists, musicians and presenters. It begins each year with the iconic opening ceremony and closes with a spectacular fire event on New Year's Day. It's Australia's largest gathering of artists and musicians. The festival experience is deep, rich and colourful. December 27-January 1. Info: woodfordfolkfestival.com.
Port Fairy Folk Festival (VIC)
The four-day event has music, theatre, visual arts, spoken word, interactive workshops and street theatre. The historic coastal town attracts more than 100 acts from across the globe. March 6-9. Info: portfairyfolkfestival.com.
National Folk Festival (ACT)
It's Australia's longest-running major folk festival, with 180 acts over five days. The best and brightest in folk from around the globe converge on Canberra, with world-class performers hand-picked from 14 countries including Japan, Portugal and Italy, and a strong local component. April 9-13. Info: folkfestival.org.au.
Fleurieu Folk Festival (SA)
Fleurieu presents a variety of folk music, dance, spoken word, culture and workshops. The music genres included are folk (folk/rock, folk roots, acoustic folk, indie/folk, folk/pop, alt/folk and contemporary/folk), country and bluegrass, singer/songwriters, world music, jazz (gypsy jazz) and blues. October 23-25. Info: fleurieufolkfestival.oztix.com.au.
Gympie Muster (Qld)
Held in the Amamoor Creek State Forest, what was once a community fundraiser has grown to a four-day camping and country music festival attracting Australian and overseas musicians. Along with taking in the music, visitors can enjoy dancing classes, music workshops, a chilled Sunday session, bush poetry and more. August 27-30. Info: muster.com.au.
White Cliffs Music Festival (NSW)
Head 95km north of Wilcannia or 200km east of Broken Hill to the festival site. Its annual country music weekend festival is relaxed and welcoming. The 2020 performers will include Adam Harvey, Andy Toombs and The French Family. May 15-17. Info: whitecliffsmusicfestival.com.au.
Fairbridge Festival (WA)
It's an annual three-day family-friendly celebration of folk, roots, blues, acoustic, Celtic, a cappella and world music in a traffic-free, self-contained, bushland, heritage-listed village. About 100 acts perform at this magical escape within just an hour's drive of Perth. April 17-19. Info: fairbridgefestival.com.au.
Groundwater Country Music Festival (QLD)
Gold Coast streets, parks, bars and restaurants come alive as 12 stages host more than 110 live performances. The annual Queensland Tourism award-winning event is on July 24-26. Info: groundwatercmf.com.
Tamworth Country Music Festival (NSW)
Tamworth has it all when it comes to country music. Over 10 days, 700 performers will play across 120 venues. Hundreds of buskers provide a wide range of entertainment each day. The pinnacle event is the Country Music Awards, when the who's who of Australian country music gathers with fans to see who wins the famous Golden Guitars. January 17-26 Info: www.tcmf.com.au.
Big Red Bash (Qld)
With the 2020 event already sold out, it's probably a good time to go online to secure your tickets for 2021. Held 35km from the Outback town of Birdsville, it's the most remote rock music festival in the world. The festival is held on the striking red sands of the Simpson Desert in front of Big Red, a 40m-high sand dune that provides a spectacular natural amphitheatre setting found nowhere else in the world. July 2020. Info: bigredbash.com.au/bigredbash.
Stone The Crows Festival (NSW)
Held at the Australian Clay Target Association grounds in Wagga Wagga, it's the ultimate over-50s and grey nomads festival of music and fun. There's a talent quest, workshops, bush poetry, markets, seminars, crafts and the Australian Disc Bowls Championship. In 2020, Normie Rowe and Belinda Marks head up the stellar list of performers. April 10-16. Info: www.stonethecrows.com.au.
Blues on Broadbeach (QLD)
For four days each year, one of Australia's largest free music festivals features more than 70 top blues, folk, soul and rock artists from Australia and around the world. May 14-17. Info: bluesonbroadbeach.com.
Lord Howe Island Rock Fest (NSW)
The backdrop is stunning and the music for all ages. This annual festival of free concerts and entertainment is the perfect reason to head to Lord Howe to explore the island during the day and party away the nights. It starts on Saturday at 5pm with dancing in the streets. Sunday is a day to chill and explore. Monday features a music trivia night. Tuesday is 1960s and '70s music. Wednesday afternoon it's music at Ned's Beach, where the whole community joins in. Thursday is open mic, with guests supporting the locals as they perform before the visiting musos finish the night. Friday is the closing night with a fireworks show. The music starts with the local schoolchildren and then gets louder and livelier as the night progresses. Be warned - the island accommodation is limited so book in early. March 21-28. Info: lordhoweisland.info.
Blues and Berries (NSW)
Coffs Harbour is the place to be in November. The festival showcases the region's amazing growers, fantastic produce and a line-up of great musical talent. It's a jam-packed program. November. Info: bluesandberries.com.au.
Byron Bay Bluesfest (NSW)
At its permanent home at the spectacular 120-hectare Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, just 11km north of Byron Bay, the Bluesfest in 2020 will have 200 performances across multiple stages over five 12-hour days, with up to 6000 visitors expected. There are five licensed bars, more than 100 food and market stalls and plenty of entertainment for all ages. In 2020, the performers list is impressive with Crowded House, George Benson, John Butler and Dave Matthews Band among the outstanding acts. April 9-13. Info: bluesfest.com.au.
Bellingen Fine Music Festival (NSW)
Classical, contemporary jazz and world music are now on the program at Bellingen. There are concerts, busking, workshops and superb food and wine. The venue is about 30 minutes' drive from Coffs Harbour. Last year's performers included David Helfgott, Joseph Tawadros (with James Tawadros), Ensemble Q and many more. September. Info: bellingenmusicfestival.com.au.
Festival of Voices (TAS)
Choral singers from all over the world gather in Hobart to perform, teach, learn, listen and connect. Audiences are encouraged to take part and find their voices. The free Big Sing Bonfire event in Salamanca attracts up to 5000 people. In between the choral events are performances by cabaret artists, actors, and jazz and contemporary singers from Australia and overseas. July 1-16. Info: festivalofvoices.com.
National Multicultural Festival (ACT)
The weekend festival of culture and music includes a parade that has everything from beautiful exotic costumed dancers and marching cultural bands to magnificent floats. People flock to the Canberra streets to what is a sea of vibrant colour and sound as 2000 performers from the local community and international groups dance and march. February 21-23. Info: multiculturalfestival.com.au.
Join Royal Caribbean Cruises for its on-water festivals. There is Cruisin' Country (Sydney, October 5) with Lee Kernaghan and 50 other artists, Bravo Cruise of the Performing Arts with Anthony Warlow and Ruthie Henshall (Sydney, October 13), and Rock the Boat with Suzi Quatro and Jon Stevens (Brisbane, November 24). Info: royalcaribbean.com/aus/en?country=AUS.
Other festival ideas:
Parkes Elvis Festival (NSW). January 8-12. Info: parkeselvisfestival.com.au.
Agnes Blue, Roots and Rock Festival (Agnes Water, Qld). February
21-23. Info: agnesbluesandroots.com.au.
Top Half Folk Festival (Alice Springs, NT). June. Info: alicespringsfolkclub.com.
Ballina Country Music Fest (NSW). November. Info: ballinacountrymusic.com.
By The Banks Indie-Folk Festival (Albury, NSW). November. Info: bythebanks.com.au.
Wirrina Bluegrass Festival (South Australia). November. Info: wirrinabluegrass.com.
Australian Festival of Chamber Music (Townsville, Qld). July 31-August 9. Info: afcm.com.au.