Australia’s summer is a marker of many awesome things—balmy nights, well-deserved annual leave, sizzling barbeques and Mr Whippy vans all spring to mind—but it also signifies the beginning of a cracking music lineup brimming with bucket list-worthy international acts to check out. And this summer, both Sydney and regional New South Wales have vibing music events in spades.
From grass-stomping day festivals and one-off intimate gigs to globally-revered performances and three-day camp-outs, you’re spoilt for choice; no matter where you are in Australia, we guarantee these music events are well worth the flight, train or road trip convoy with your crew.
There are so many gigs and festivals to choose from but, sadly, we can't fit them all. So without further ado, here are five awesome—albeit underrated—events across Sydney and New South Wales to add to your burgeoning summer calendar.
Mount Panorama, Bathurst
Postponed until March 2023
Relocating to Bathurst’s Mount Panorama after a string of years in Forbes is Vanfest—Australia’s regional boutique festival celebrating youth music and arts culture with a stellar lineup of Aussie and Kiwi stage weapons. Spread across two days, you can soak up the colossal awesomeness of Tones and I, Hilltop Hoods, The Presets, Hocket Dad, Six60, Tash Sultana and many more while you weave your way through a welcoming mix of pop-up bars, activations and market stalls. If you want to kick your festival experience up a notch, be sure to nab a glamping ticket and bliss out between sets at the glamping village with private toilets and firepits.
Art For All
In case you missed it, Sydney’s beloved Art Gallery of New South Wales has scored a major upgrade and expansion with the unveiling of a completely new building dubbed the Sydney Modern—and it’s throwing one helluva party to celebrate. Expect nine days of inspiring art, music, performances and talks, with the Art For All headliner event as the crescendo; a world-class unique one-off concert featuring Grammy-nominated international pop star Ellie Goulding, and supported by Aboriginal Australian electronic music duo Electric Fields and Australian award-winning artist Meg Mac. The best bit? The event is absolutely free and open to all. Head here to book your free ticket.
Parkes Elvis Festival
If Baz Luhrmann’s recent Elvis blockbuster had you spinning some throwback vinyl these past few months and belting out 'Hound Dog', then the 30th Elvis Presley Parkes Festival might be right up your alley. Attracting over 24,000 die-hard Elvis Presley fans and recognised as one of the top festivals on the Australian event calendar, the festival—which coincides with Elvis’ birthday—is dedicated to absolutely everything Elvis. Expect a slew of playful impersonators, memorability and rock ’n’ roll. Don your blue suede shoes and start oiling up those hips because this is a joyous celebration the whole family will love.
51st Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth
Want to go big? Why not road trip to Australia’s largest music festivals? Ranked as one of the top 10 music festivals in the world, the 51st Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth boasts over 2000 musical performances across 100 venues with the Golden Guitar Awards as the pinnacle. Sprawling right across Tamworth over two weeks, the festival serves up an inviting mix of ticketed and free events, including performances by Kasey Chambers, Lee Kernaghan, Beccy Cole and The Whitlams, to name a few. As this one’s a biggy, accommodation can speedily sell out, so get booking to save disappointment.
Byron Bay Blues Festival
Byron Events Farm
Byron Bay draws a number of iconic events throughout the year but Bluesfest is by far the biggest and most spectacular. Returning for the 34th time across the Easter long weekend, the three-day camping festival (five if you count both Thursday and Monday) is a feast for the eyes, ears, belly and soul with its zealous celebration of blues and roots music. Attracting music lovers from across Australia and around the globe, this year’s Bluesfest lineup is bursting at the seams with a broad array of legends including Gang Of Youths, Counting Crows, The Cat Empire, King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizzard and Tash Sultana.
Sydney and regional New South Wales are both jam-packed with awe-inspiring music events. A feast for the eyes and ears, be sure to check out what’s on offer here.
Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Destination New South Wales and proudly endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.
Image source: Bluesfest Instagram