If you’re a normal person, you might freak out by this title because you’re still mentally ticking off all the Christmas presents you have to buy in the near future (12 weeks to go, people!). But when you think about it, do you really have to get your great uncle Alfie that porcelain dog with the bobbing head for his dash? Truth be told, family members are the most likely to insist ‘your presence is my present!’ as my mum so keenly reminds me every holiday season. So this year, why not give them your presence present and lap up some of life’s great experiences at the same time. Because after all the stress that Christmas gatherings bring, what better way is there to blow off some steam and get into your holiday groove than to dance, drink and relax in the magnificence that is a Melbourne summer festival? Check out these bad boys and book the one you think sounds most fun. Go on, you deserve it.
The Falls Music and Arts Festival
December 28 to January 3
This little beauty began back in 1993 among the indescribably transcendent Otway Rainforest mountains. Now, the festival plays in Lorne (Vic), Marion Bay (Tas) and Byron (NSW), each running for several days between December 28 and January 3. It’s a stellar line-up this year, with Bloc Party and Weird Al Yankovic among many quality international acts gracing our shores. But it’s the Australian performers who really steal the spotlight: Art Vs Science, Hilltop Hoods, Birds of Tokyo, Meg Mac, Seth Sentry and Jarryd James (Do you remember him? haha) are all part of this musical congregation. In between acts, don’t forget to check out the arts section of the festival. You can contribute your creative expertise to Art Camp, which Falls will put on display the following year (stick figures may not make the cut, sorry). Or partake in a yoga class, circus workshop or watch a comedy show in The Village. Expect the unexpected at Falls, and you will be pleasantly surprised. Click here to get your tickets.
Rainbow Serpent Festival
January 22 to 25
If all your family commitments mean you can’t make it to Falls, head down to Rainbow Serpent Festival, which runs from January 22 to 25. They’ve got music, markets, arts, workshops, guest speakers and healing centres. Have a free reiki session for inner reflection and clarity, and buy some hot, sweet churros for emotional comfort afterwards. Then, try your hand at transforming your camp into a work of art. The music scene focuses on international acts, and Rainbow Serpent has gathered some of the best and brightest from around the globe, including our far-flung friends from the UK, Argentina, Israel and Denmark, Austria, Sweden and Brazil. But hurry, book now—tickets to Rainbow Serpent are running out the door!
A one-day wonder in late January, this summit of music and art is a one-stop festival for all your new media desires. Sugar Mountain is determined to showcase the best in contemporary visual pieces, music and the intersection of all types of art. Because once creative lines are crossed, who knows what amazingness will emerge from within? Sugar Mountain has been described as a ‘boutique music and arts festival done right’, and a ‘premier art event’. Previous acts have included the unique wonders that are SWANS, Midnight Juggernauts, and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. The 2016 line-up has yet to be released, though if we go by the previous acts, we know this Sugar Mountain is set to be sweet.
Port Fairy Folk Music Festival
March 11 to 14
Gather your good vibes and head south this coming March for the 40th annual Port Fairy Folk Festival. Enjoy some sun, surf and oceans of music with more than 100 acts ready to share the love during this four-day celebration over the Labour Day long weekend. With international guests ranging from DakhaBrakha (Ukraine) to Moxie (Ireland), the line-up also includes Australian acts such as Katie Noonan’s Vanguard and the Grigoryan Brothers. Something for everyone! The first round of tickets has already been snapped up, so if this sounds like your scene, get in quick!
March 12 to 14
Could you live with yourself if you missed out on the TENTH birthday of Golden Plains? The ticket ballot is open until October 20, so best you put your hat in the ring for your chance to see Melbourne rock legends Eddy Current Suppression ring, ten years to the day that they first performed at the Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre, breaking their six-year hiatus. The rest of the line-up is yet to be announced, but you just know it's going to be stellar. Running from March 12 to 14, this epic long weekend of camping is BYO and has a strict No Dickheads policy with just one stage. All that's left for you to do is pull up a pew and relax.
St Jerome’s Laneway Festival
From humble beginnings, hidden down Melbourne’s Caledonian Lane, to a riotous carnival encompassing three countries and seven cities, St Jerome’s Laneway Festival has become a firm favourite of our summer social calendar. Boasting a solid mix of popular and break-through artists, fans will be able to catch Beach House, Chvrches, Grimes and Purity Ring, as well as local acts Big Scary, Flume and Violent Soho. Just to name a few. And forget questionable festival food, at Laneway you’ll be able to tuck in to top-notch treats from some of Melbourne’s best restaurants who will pop up on the banks of the Maribyrnong River. Tickets have just been released, so click here to claim your piece of the party.
So Frenchy, So Chic
Inject a oui bit of Parisian chic into your summer with So Frenchy, So Chic, a fancy celebration of all things French. Get ready to munch on gourmet baguettes and fromage picnic hampers while you rock out to some of France's most talented musicians, including Moroccan-born Hindi Zahra, wildly popular duo Brigitte, chanteuse Lou Doillon and Balkan-electro collective Soviet Suprem. Chilled Laurent Perrier will be flowing, as will French beer, rosé from Provence and the best reds and whites from Bordeaux. A vintage caravan will also be mixing up special cocktails to add to the sophisticated summertime vibe. There'll be games of croquet and pétanque for any competitive festival-goers and small humans will be entertained by puppet shows and face-painting. For a day of joie de vivre, book your tickets now.
Admittedly, every Soundwavian last year had (at best) mixed feelings about the festival’s founder and promoter AJ Maddah. But why don’t we let sleeping dogs lie and appreciate Soundwave for what it is: the only successful, long-time running, full-day metal concert that Australia has to offer. Headliners in the past have included some of the greatest bands to have graced this green earth: Slipknot, System Of A Down, Blink 182 and Metallica among many. Soundwave 2016 is taking place at the end of January, which is much earlier in the year than its usual time slot, but this just means we can see our beloved bands even sooner. The entire line-up is yet to be announced, but Bring Me The Horizon and Dead Letter Circus will be there, so too will Bullet For My Valentine and Northlane. After Slipknot’s incredible set for 2015, this year’s headliners will have to be just as great, if not better. For tickets, click here.
If you like your beats constant and bass drops earth-shattering, this is the festival for you. This gathering is for the energetic, the constant groovers and shakers, and buff peeps who like to dress as if they’re at the beach. It’s relaxed in its party atmosphere. This year, Stereo plays on December 5, with such masterminds as Armin Van Buuren, Axwell ^ Ingrosso, Major Lazer, SHOCKONE, Peking Duk, and Diplo. Get ready to have your heart set on fire by the contagious beats that can only be found at Stereosonic and buy your tickets today.
Image credit: St Jerome's Laneway Festival