When you hear the word “festival”, whether you’re talking music, art or comedy, the U.S. and Western European countries almost always come to mind as the hosts. We’re not here to take anything away from the legendary events on the better-known U.S.-European circuit — they’re awesome, we know. We’re just looking to give a little credit to the highly underrated festival scene in the Land Down Under.
Whether you’re an American or European traveling to Australia and looking to line up your trip with a festival, or just an Australian looking to check out a new festival in your home country, we’ve compiled a guide to Australia’s best festivals to help you check out something new in the Australian festival world.
1. Caloundra Music Festival
What: “Sun, surf and soul” is the motto for the Caloundra Music Festival. While there is a special focus on Australian artists, the festival brings in big names from across the globe. It’s tough to get more relaxing than a soul music concert on the water.
Where: Caloundra, Queensland
When: September 29 – October 2, 2017
2. Meredith Music Festival
What: A three-day, two-night music festival held in a place called the Supernaturalest Amphitheatre is bound to be a good time. It’s tough to box Meredith’s lineup into one genre, so expect everything from alternative rock to space disco. This one gets a little out there, so be ready for an adventure.
Where: Meredith, Victoria
When: December 8-10, 2017
3. Rabbits Eat Lettuce
What: Rabbits eat lettuce and if they liked to party at environmentally-conscious electronic festivals out in the Australian wilderness, then Rabbits Eat Lettuce would be their festival. A mixed music lineup and the outstanding people watching will keep you occupied.
Where: Byron Bay, New South Wales
When: March 30 – April 2, 2018
Photo by Babylon Festival
What: A self-described “music, arts and lifestyle escape”, Babylon is a chance to listen to an international lineup of DJ’s bump their music deep in the Australian wilderness. Art exhibits and “community exploration activities” will also be on the list.
Where: Kara Kara National Park, Victoria, Australia
When: February 23 – 25, 2018
5. Yemaya Festival
Photo by Fotobiotic
What: The official website describes Yemaya as a “mother goddess signifying home, fertility, love, and family.” Yemaya is somewhat of a “self-discovery event” that brings like-minded folks together to enjoy art galleries, a wide range of musical performances (check out the drumming circle) and even “healing centers”.
Where: Fernihurst, Victoria
When: September 29 – October 1, 2017
6. Melbourne Music Week
What: Put on by the city of Melbourne, MMW is a celebration of the city’s music scene in which artists from all sorts of genres put on over 100 events for the city’s residents and those just passing through. Whatever your music tastes call for, you’ll find something here — not to mention the opportunity explore one of Australia’s coolest cities.
Where: Melbourne, Victoria
When: November 17-25, 2017
What: Earthcore has been making Australians dance for 24 years now and is one of the true “pros” of the Australian music festival scene. The festival brings big name electronic DJ’s to venues in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia, so you can pick the one in your region.
Where: Elmore Fields, Victoria (Summer Dreaming), Scheyville National Park (New South Wales venue), Ivory’s Rock (Queensland venue), Caversham (Western Australia venue)
Victoria: November 23-27, 2017
New South Wales: November 25, 2017
Queensland: December 2, 2017
Western Australia: December 3, 2017
8. Canberra Comedy Festival
What: If you’re looking for a break in the electro deep in the woods self-discovery festival monotony, throw the Canberra Comedy Festival on your list. Some of the best joke tellers from Down Under will grace the stages of the inland city known for its nature reserves and farmland.
Where: Five venues throughout the city of Canberra.
When: March 19-25, 2018
9. St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival
What: A diverse music festival that brings a wide range of artists from around the world to perform on stages in Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand, Laneway gives festival-goers plenty of opportunities to catch its star-studded lineup.
Where: Adelaide, Brisbane, Fremantle, Melbourne, Sydney
Adelaide: February 2, 2018
Melbourne: February 3, 2018
Sydney: February 4, 2018
Brisbane: February 10, 2018
Fremantle: February 11, 2018
10. Inner Varnika Festival
What: The festival describes itself as “all-inclusive, environmentally neutral and musically blissful”. Sound like a good combo? Inner Varnika strictly caps ticket sales at 1,700 and strives to dedicate itself to the music enthusiast looking to dance from anything from improv music to reggae.
Where: Camperdown, Victoria (about two hours from Melbourne)
When: April 2018 (exact dates TBA)
11. Pitch Music and Arts Festival
What: Three days of electronic beats in the meadows of Victoria is what Pitch is selling. The festival is brand new on the scene, but attendees from the 2017 inaugural festival are giving it rave reviews. Although its reputation is growing fast, you might be able to catch it in 2018 before it blows up.
Where: Moyston, Victoria
When: Dates TBA
12. Brunswick Music Festival
What: With nearly 30 years of experience under its belt, Brunswick knows exactly what it’s doing. The festival brings a genre-diverse lineup, awesome food options and of course, tens of thousands of attendees who fill the venues, the streets and anywhere else they hear music. The suburb of Brunswick has a tradition of musical creativity and the festival is when it’s at it best.
Where: Brunswick, Victoria (Brunswick is an inner suburb of Melbourne)
When: March 2018 (Exact dates TBA)
13. Wow Festival
What: Another festival that breaks from the electronic outdoor festival circuit, the Women of the World Festival Australia is an opportunity for women to gather and hear guest speakers, enjoy musical performances and discuss some of the challenges women face both in Australia and across the globe.
Where: Brisbane Powerhouse, Queensland and other venues in the surrounding area.
When: April 6-8, 2018