If all the promised festivals hitting Gold Coast and Brisbane go down without a hitch this year, we could see Queensland become the new premier spot for live music in Australia. Seeing as Gladys B (I don’t know how to spell it; not worth Googling) is running festivals out of NSW so kids can keep taking dubious pills, and Melbourne is going through the motions, Queensland is prepping to host a dizzying amount of big names over the next few months, playing across several recently announced festivals.
Reflecting the tremendous changes to Queensland’s two star destinations of Brisbane and Gold Coast, this kind of aggressive growth makes sense. Particularly for the Gold Coast, who are now past the disappointing Commonwealth Games and looking forward to building the place up as a hub for creatives and artists. As for Brisbane – they just got a huge wave of new hotel openings, their Howard Smith Wharves has become one of the most exciting new lifestyle precincts in Australia, and the food scene has never been stronger. Oh, and Brissy’s music scene is still one of the best in the country.
To give you an idea of just how many international and Australian acts will be descending upon our sunniest state we’ve put together a quick list of the festivals set for Queensland over the next few months, spanning everything from hip hop and mumble rap to electronica and metal.
Listen Out has done well to carve out its own identity and rise in a post-Parklife, post-FMF world to become one of the most popular annual events in the country. That won’t change with this kind of line up, bringing in heavy hitters like ScHoolboy Q, Flume and Diplo, R&B stars Denzel Curry and 6LACK, and homegrown favs like Triple One and Young Franco.
Top Picks: Denzel Curry, 6LACK, Flume, ScHoolboy Q
Dates: Saturday 28th September
Yes, Festival X will also be heading down to Melbourne and Sydney, but not before kicking off in Brisbane. This interesting line-up splices trendy mumble rap with leading DJ’s and producers, pushing a kind of hybrid the Australian festival landscape hasn’t seen much of beyond Listen Out and sorely missed mega events Future Music Festival and Parklife.
Leading the line-up is Calvin Harris and Armin Van Buuren, hold up the side for dance aficionados, right alongside meme turned mumble rap hero Lil’ Pump. What follows is a “absolutely nailed the target audience here” list of names including Alison Wonderland, Blueface, Trippie Redd, and Steve Aoki. For the full line-up head to the official website linked below.
Top Picks: Cosmic Gate, Thandi Phoenix, Armin Van Buuren, Calvin Harris.
Dates: Friday 29th November | RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane
Now this one grabbed a lot of attention when it was announced. The curious choice of Coolangatta Beach as a festival venue was one thing (**UPDATE** SandTunes will know be at Gold Coast’s Metricon Stadium), but the line-up is a mixed bag of huge names and some surprising additions, all of which actually work quite well together.
Travis Scott and Logic are headlining, pushing the vitality of good hip hop as still a major force in the Australian market alongside quality emcees Kwame and Sampa the Great. Then you’ve got the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen, Juice WRLD, Chvrches, and Dean Lewis. Huge.
Notably, this will be the first Australian performance for both Logic and Carly Rae Jepsen. A full line up can be seen on the website linked below.
Top Picks: Travis Scott, Logic, Sampa the Great, Kaiit, Carly Rae Jepsen.
Dates: Saturday 30th November and Sunday 1st December | Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast
Fans of something a bit faster, harder and louder will be flocking to Good Things this year, with a cracking line-up topped by Parkway Drive and A Day To Remember. Not only that, but it’s probably one of the most unexpected and wide-reaching programs for the festival to date, with everyone from metal heavyhitters Trivium and surf rockers Skeggs, to Reel Big Fish and pop duo The Veronicas.
Top Picks Parkway Drive, Karnivool, Violent Soho, Skeggs, Trivium
Dates: Sunday 8th December | Brisbane Showgrounds
Tickets goodthingsfestival.com.au (on sale September 5th)
The Grass is Greener
Coming down from North Queensland to the Gold Coast, The Grass is Greener eyes their biggest iteration yet as the local-focused festival brings in a swathe of home-grown talent with the likes of Amy Shark, Hermitude, Peking Duk and The Veronicas. Cali rapper Tyga joins to bring a bit of international flavour, capping off an exciting line-up that should definitely be waving the flag high for Queensland.
Cairns folk shouldn’t worry though. The festival organisers haven’t forgotten where the event was born, so it will now be two separate dates. With Gold Coast first, and then Cairns the following week
Top Picks: Amy Shark, Hermitude, The Kite String Tangle, Golden Features.
Dates: Saturday 19th October | Broadwater Parklands, Gold Coast — Saturday 26th October | Barlow Park, Cairns
All throughout September, Brisbane is definitely the place to be for live music fans. Once again, Brisbane Festival, one of the city’s signature events, will bring in some big-tickets acts including City and Colour playing the same night as The Jezabels, and The Middle East with special guest Banff. It’s almost too much to wrap your head around on one look, so make sure you’re carefully reading through the festival’s biggest line-up to date and plan accordingly. Check out the full line up on the website linked below.
And remember, it ain’t just live music that makes up Brisbane Festival. Make sure you’re across all the various theatre performances and eccentric art shows that will spring the city to life all month.
Top Picks City and Colour, The Middle East, The Jezabels, Amity Affliction, Carmouflage Rose
Dates: Saturday 7th to Saturday 28th September
Where to start with Wildlands? The debuting Brisbane festival has one of the most exciting line ups of the year, bringing in a bevy of international heavy-hitters and homegrown heroes with a nice split between hip hop artists like Tyler, the Creator and Skepta, and dance-minded acts like What So Not, RL Grime and world-dominating Aussies Rufus Du Sol, who will be hot off a flaming North American tour come December.
Throw popular artists like R&B songstress Ella Mai and L.A collective Shoreline Mafia; you’ve got one heck of a Brisbane-exclusive festival.
Top Picks: Tyler, the Creator, Skepta, Ella Mai, Rufus Du Sol, RL Grime
Dates: Saturday 28th December | Brisbane Showgrounds, Brisbane
The industry’s big showcase event will once again flood the streets of Fortitude Valley with nothing but live music, keynotes, and raucous parties. Held across three days, it’s the biggest platform for the Australian music industry each year, and will once again illustrate where the scene is heading with emerging and established acts putting on their very best. Don’t miss it.
Top Picks: Luboku, Tones and I, Zan, yergurl, Caracal, .jpg
Dates: Tuesday 3rd to Friday 6th September