REVIEW: Queenscliff Music Festival
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REVIEW: Queenscliff Music Festival




‘Music is the language of us all,’ Melbourne based ska and jazz infused rock band, The Cat Empire reminded the pumped-up crowd at the Queenscliff Music Festival. There was plenty of evidence of that over three days of music, great food and amazing music loving people.

REVIEW: Queenscliff Music Festival
Tim Finn

Queenscliff knows how to put on a festival. The festival vibe permeates through the whole town, with buskers, the market and the always popular Queenscliff Blues Train in full swing. In its 23rd year, and always the last weekend of November, the Queenscliff Music Festival has been attracting music fans to its coastal shores, luring them with the promise of a cool, relaxed and enjoyable weekend, with some of the best music from around Australia and overseas. This year was no exception. With a broad range and genres and styles on offer, and lots of women and culturally diverse artists too (Yay!) this is an inclusive and welcoming event that lives up to the great reputation it has built up over the decades.

REVIEW: Queenscliff Music Festival
Ross Wilson

As with any festival of this calibre there were plenty of ‘house-hold names’ in this year’s line-up. Friday night saw Australian classic rock legends Ross Wilson and Tim Finn (okay New Zealand- but we love him just the same) kick things off in great style. Treating the all ages audience to a trip down memory lane, covering all their classic and beloved hits. Whether it was a Daddy Cool, Mondo Rock, Split Enz or Crowded House standards, each song was accompanied by an impromptu choir of voices from the crowd singing along. The opening riff of Australia’s unofficial national anthem, “Eagle Rock” was the instant crowd pleaser fans came for.

REVIEW: Queenscliff Music Festival
The Cat Empire

Saturday’s big-name act, The Cat Empire, were on fire as they brought their high energy, polished and frenetic performance they known for. That they maintain such a high level of musicianship, while jumping around all over the stage is a feat that is worthy of applause all on its own. Their energy is infectious, and it is impossible to walk away from one of their shows feeling anything other than elated.

REVIEW: Queenscliff Music Festival
Kent Burnside

By Sunday afternoon, as the festival was drawing to a close, we were treated to the most exquisite experience in the name of one Kent Burnside took us all on a trip to Mississippi. Oozing cool and wielding his guitar like it was an extension of himself it was a masterclass in the blues and was the perfect finish to an unbelievably brilliant weekend.

REVIEW: Queenscliff Music Festival
Fenn Wilson

It wasn’t just about the headliners though, one of the great things about a festival like Queenscliff is that is gives other lesser known artists a chance to be heard and find a new and enthusiastic audience. For me it is these acts that are the reason for holding a festival. Festival goers are given the opportunity to sample new bands, artists and genres that might be outside their comfort zones, in a way that is ‘safe’. I know that I discovered some great ‘new’ stuff, and my Bandcamp wish list is now bursting with new favourites.

REVIEW: Queenscliff Music Festival
Hiatus Kaiyote

Hiatus Kaiyote were one such group. Formed in 2011, in Melbourne, this group describe themselves as a future soul quartet- although for me they defy any kind of neat description. You need to hear them and experience them to truly ‘get them’. They have a unique sound that had me hooked immediately. Not for everyone, but they are for anyone that likes it when artists take risks with their music and try to take it to new places. Their look was visually stunning and in keeping with their eccentric and experimental sound.

REVIEW: Queenscliff Music Festival
Dubarray

Queensland based funk, dubstep group Dubarray (with their hot off the presses new single- ‘Conscious Soldier’) were another pleasant surprise. They were fabulous, cool, funky and infectious. I confess that this genre is not normally in my wheelhouse and were it not for a festival like this I would never have found this treasure- my loss I can assure you.

Then there were the folk, country and blues offerings that make any open-air festival complete. Co-mingling with the chai tent, the ethically sourced food trucks offerings and environmentally sustainable ethos of the festival the strains of guitars and great songs provided the perfect soundtrack and added to a blissful afternoon.

REVIEW: Queenscliff Music Festival
Clare Bowditch

Acts like Troy Cassar-Daley, Clare Bowditch, Missy Higgins, The Delta Riggs and The Waifs played alongside Fenn Wilson (son of Chris Wilson), Fools, Ash Bell and Sara Tindley and many others.

REVIEW: Queenscliff Music Festival
The Delta Riggs

Queenscliff Music Festival is a festival that is welcoming, relaxed and family friendly, there is no wonder it sells out each year. This was my first, but it most certainly won’t be my last, I already have it marked in my diary for next year, can’t wait!

REVIEW: Queenscliff Music Festival
We'll see you next year at Queenscliff.

PHOTO CREDIT:
Photography by Carbie Warbie and Paul Griggs
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