Epic Australian Festivals to Tick Off Your Bucket List: 2019/2020

Electric Sounds Sitchu

Hurrah! Spring has finally sprung. The countdown to summer is on – and that can only mean one thing: festival season is almost upon on us. Promising a smorgasboard of hedonistic delights, this year’s delicious music line-up is guaranteed to have you hooked. From Aussie giants to boutique wonders, we’ve whittled down the best festivals of the season to add to your summer calendar.

So, festival queens everywhere: get ready to feast on feathers and bucketloads of glitter, these are the 2019/2020 music festivals you won’t want to miss out on. 

NOVEMBER

Return to Rio

The Riopians are set to return to Sydney’s favourite Del Rio Riverside Resort this year for another weekend of madcap mayhem. Get ready for a three-day blow out of big beats and laid-back summer grooves, as Return to Rio once again spreads her wings. A festival with all the frills, this theatrical extravaganza goes all out with outlandish costumes, giant river floats, water skiing, crazy golf, tennis, cocktails by the pool, hidden discos and some of the biggest names in house, soul, disco and hip-hop. 

Topping this year's bill are Puerto Rican house lords The Martinez Brothers, '90s garage duo DJ Luck & Mc Neat and Acid Pauli, whose whimsical sets are always a Burning Man highlight on the Playa. Argentina’s El Maestro, Hernán Cattáneo, will reunite with Nick Warren for a very special performance – touted as the hottest back to-back duo on the planet right now, this one is not to be missed – and kicking off the pool party in style is prominent party-starter, Nightmares on Wax, bringing his sun-drenched dubbed out soul sounds to the banks of the Hawkesbury.

Disco queens, don your best festival get-up, and get ready to party poolside.

Accommodation options include luxury glamping (think beautiful bell tents with aaaall the trimmings), camping, BYO campers/caravans, or floating houseboat. Excited much?

When? 8th-10th November 2019

Where? Del Rio Wisemans Ferry, Webbs Creek, NSW

How much? Weekend tickets $300

Harbourlife

Returning to the atmospheric setting of Sydney Harbour once again this November, this one-day music-fest offers a winning formula of infectious house beats and a skyline backdrop that’s hard to beat. As the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House sparkle in the distance, prepare for the mild euphoria that will ensue as the headliners climax with an impressive firework show. This year look forward to punching soundtracks from British house giant Duke Dumont, Solardo, Cassian, Cristophe and more. The perfect soundtrack to start the summer. 

When? 16th November 2019

Where?  Fleet Steps, Mrs Macquaries Point, Sydney, NSW

How much?  From $128

Grapevine Gathering

A music, food and wine-fuelled haven, Grapevine Gathering is as refined as they come serving a delicious line-up of indie, dance and alternative grooves, alongside wood-fired pizzas, gourmet burgers, slow-cooked meats and dangerously moreish, homegrown wines. With three locations, set in the picturesque Hunter Valley, Victoria and the stunning Sandalford Estate, WA, prepare to kick back and relax to the sounds of Two Door Cinema Club, Flight Facilities and Crooked Colours with a glass – or two – of shiraz in hand. This one-day wine-fest is one seriously snazzy bouquet. Bottoms up.

When? 23rd November 2019 VIC; 30th November NSW; 1st December WA

Where? Grapevine Estate, VIC; Roche Estate, Hunter Valley, NSW; Sandalford Estate, Swan Valley, WA

How much? From $96.90

Festival X

This new kid on the festival block – brought to you by some of the creative minds behind Splendour, Stereosonic and Falls Festival – promises a stellar line-up of pop, hip-hop and electronica from all corners of the globe. This newcomer is set to kick off the summer festival season in true party style. Debuting in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, this epic line-up is dressed to impress with big names including Grammy, Billboard and Brit Award winner, Calvin Harris, Armin van Buuren, Lil Pump aka Gazzy Garcia, Ohio’s rap legend Trippie Redd and Australian global sensation Alison Wonderland. 

When?  29th November 2019 Brisbane; 30th November Sydney; 1st December Melbourne 

Where?  Brisbane Showgrounds QLD, Sydney Showgrounds NSW, Melbourne Showgrounds VIC

How much?  From $154.95

DECEMBER

Wine Machine

Back for its fourth season, this grape-laced gathering is as boujee as they come. Drink delicious drops by day then party by night with epic soundtracks from the likes of Hayden James, Hot Dub Time Machine and Bag Raiders. Set over six dates in some of Australia’s most spectacular and picturesque wine regions, wine and food lovers are in for a treat with gourmet delights at every corner. From local farmers markets to cellar doors and long table lunches, navigate your way through some of the best produce and Chardy Australia has to offer, and with a great music line-up too. Winning. 

When? 7th December 2019 McLaren Vale; 7th March Huon Valley; 14th March Hunter Valley; 21st March Canberra; 28th March Yarra Valley; 4th April Swan Valley

Where? Serafino Winery, McLaren Vale, SA; Home Hill Winery, Huon Valley, TAS, Roche Estate, Hunter Valley NSW; Commonwealth Park, Canberra, ACT; Rochford Wines, Yarra Valley, VIC; Oakover Grounds, Swan Valley, WA

How much?Tickets from$69

Fairgrounds

Small yet perfectly formed, Fairgrounds is one of the hottest newcomers on the Aussie festival scene. And with good reason. Set in Berry’s idyllic countryside – just two hours from Sydney – festival goers have the best of both worlds: lush mountains, beautiful beaches, and an indie line-up that could rival any Glastonbury set list. Now back for its third year, fans will once again flock to the pretty town of Shoalhaven for two days of carnival-themed frolics. 

This year’s line-up includes the likes of Britpop icon Liam Gallagher,  Dope Lemon – a.k.a. the other half of Australia’s indie pop duo Angus & Julia Stone – soulful diva Meg Mac, '90's alt-rockers The Lemonheads, and Aussie guitar-pop trio, DMA’s. There are plenty of delicious food options too – including Paperbark Camp’s pop-up restaurant – serving an array of local treats, a mini-Fairgrounds festival for little ones, a swimming pool, record fair, and games-a-plenty. Tug-o-war, egg-and-spoon or sack racing anyone?

When? 6th – 7th December 2019

Where? Shoalhaven, Berry, NSW

How much? Weekend tickets from $199.90; one-day tickets from $89.90

Subsonic

A feast of the senses, Subsonic is a festival like no other. Disappear down the rabbit hole into a world of mystery, where the lush sloping hills of Riverwood Downs magically transform into a land of glittery, psychedelic sparkles, pink flamingos and dreamlike shamanic rituals. Burning Man playas – Subsonic is calling.  

Look forward to three days of explosive DJ sets with some of the hottest names in dance, electro, techno, house and trance (this year look forward to Craig  Richards, Ricardo Villalobos, Bobby and Late Night Tuff Guy) along with theatrical stage sets, elaborate costumes, burlesque shows, friendly crowds, chic stalls filled with fashion, crafts and delicious food, and a rippling river providing essential ‘cool-down’ from the blistering sun. Magical, hedonistic and gloriously euphoric, Subsonic is a festival that ticks all  the boxes.

When? 6th – 8th December 2019

Where?  Riverwood Downs, NSW

How much?  Weekend tickets $340

Meredith Music Festival

Returning to the magical setting of Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre, Meredith Music Festival’s audio-visceral Odyssey welcomes thrill seekers, fun lovers and sonic discoverers in their droves, as they embark on a journey into parts of the unknown. Get ready to disco until dawn with the inimitable sounds of Irish pop superstar Róisín Murphy, Brit-pop legend Liam Gallagher, activist rapper Briggs, German DJ Helena Hauff, heartbreak maestro Julia Jacklin and Melbourne's own Amyl and the Sniffers. A weekend of boundless reverie, Golden Plains’ big sister – or The Sup’ as its been lovingly nicknamed – is where you’ll find fun, frolics and a whole lotta love this festival season. 

When? 13th – 15th December 2019

Where? Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatere, VIC

How much? Contact Aunty Meredith to enter the ticket Ballot 

Origin Fields Festival

Western Australia’s biggest New Year festival, Origins boasts an eclectic line-up of diverse acts, with everything from pop and rock to indie and grime. Look forward to two days of unadulterated, festive fun as Tyler, The Creator, grime king Skepta, RL Grime, Ella Mai and local dance giants RÜFÜS DU SOL take to the stage for a dizzying line-up that will see in the New Year with a bang.

When? 31st December 2019 – 1st January 2020

Where? Langley Park, Perth, WA

How much? Day tickets from $158.70; Weekend tickets from $283.95

Falls Festival

This national festival heavy-hitter – a perennial favourite for any festival calendar – will be ringing in the New Year with a bang. A John Farnham power ballad bang, to be precise. The Aussie legend will be belting out ‘You're the Voice’ alongside indie rockers Vampire Weekend, Disclosure, Peking Duk, Banks, Lewis Capaldi and Halsey, among many more. One of the most hotly anticipated music events of the season, Falls Festival promises a melting pot of alternative music with a generous serve of fun.

When? 28th-31st December 2019 Lorne; 29th-31st December 2019 Marion Bay; 31st December 2019 – 2nd January 2020 Byron Bay; 4th-5th January 2020 Freemantle

Where? Marion Bay Tasmania; Byron Bay NSW; Fremantle WA

How much? Two-day tickets $276.08; three-day tickets $327.06; four-day tickets $367.84

Lost Paradise

If the thought of spending New Year’s Eve in a nightclub fills you with complete dread, Lost Paradise may be the answer to your party prayers. Held in the beautiful Glenworth Valley, just an hour north of Sydney, Lost Paradise is a hidden wonderland of late-night discos, art installations, heavenly massages, yoga classes, karaoke, bouncy castles, communal dining experiences and impressive pop-up foodie offerings, all hidden away in the depths of the wilderness. Four days of “mind-blowing” fun, this is a New Year’s Eve party to get excited about. Acts on this year’s bill include Rüfüs Du Sol, Hilltop Hoods, Golden Features, Matt Corby and The Veronicas along with dance heavyweights Green Velvet, Dom Dolla, Denis Sulta and Honey Dijon. And fancy dress is mandatory. Dust off those headdresses, girls.

Can’t face camping? Go off grid and stay in the luxe teepee Glamping Village. With concierge, luxury toilets and showers, a breakfast café, cocktail bar, grooming parlour and a complimentary porter-trolley service to transport your bags to your beautifully prepped boudoir – think double beds, Moroccan textiles and pretty lanterns-galore – believe us, it’ll be worth the splurge.

When? 28th December 2019 – 1 January 2020

Where? The Glenworth Valley, NSW

How much? 3-day tickets (including camping) from $389


JANUARY

Field Day

Returning to The Domain on 1st January, Field Day will bring in the New Year with an epic line-up of big beats and raucous revelry. Mixing hip-hop, house, indie, and electronic artists from around the world, Field Day promises to carry on the New Year party vibes well past midnight (if you’re planning on going, you might want to book off the 2nd Jan in advance). This year look forward to sets from Antony & Cleopatra, Chris Lake, Claptone, Disclosure, Tyler The Creator and Dom Dolla. 

When? 1st January 2020

Where? The Domain, Sydney

How much? Tickets from $170 + booking fee

Rainbow Serpent

For hardcore partygoers, Rainbow Serpent’s explosive two-day party session will have you hooked from the start. And when we say two days, we mean two days – the festivities run morning, noon and night. And then right through till morning again. Rainbow Serpent is not  one for the fainthearted. A magical woodland of bright lights, beautiful installations and rolling Victorian countryside, where art, music and culture collide. Promising endless revelry, look forward to an atmospheric mix of DJs, producers and live bands spinning every groove under the sun. This has Burning Man written all  over it.

When? 24th-27th January 2020

Where? Lexton, Victoria

How much? From $420 + booking fee

St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival

When the likes of Kevin Parker (Tame Impala) label Laneway as “Australia’s best festival”, who are we to argue? In fact, we’re jumping right on the band wagon to get a taste of the action. This much-loved, long-standing music-fest is an indie-rocker’s mecca, each year showcasing some of the biggest, most exciting names on the Australian music scene. Starting out as a hole-in-the-wall pub in Melbourne, Laneway has quickly become one of Australia’s biggest festivals – there are now locations in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Fremantle – each year boasting an impeccably cool line-up of homegrown and international talent. 

This year includes everyone from popstress Charli XCX and wildly popular rapper Earl Sweatshirt to international hitters The 1975 and J.I.D. A stack of local talent will also join the bill, including Ocean Alley, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, The Chats, Hockey Dad, DMA’s, Stella Donnelly, Ruel, Tones and I, Kucka.

When? 27th January 2020 Auckland; 1st February 2020 Brisbane;  2nd February Sydney; 7th February Adelaide; 8th February Melbourne; 9th February Fremantle

Where?  Albert Park Precinct, Auckland; Brisbane Showgrounds, Bowen Hills; The Domain, Sydney; Harts Mill, Port Adelaide; Footscray Park, Melbourne; Esplanade Reserve and West End, Freemantle

How much? From $179.94

FEBRUARY

Electric Gardens

From the brains behind London’s legendary ‘90s dancefest South West Four, founders Damian Gelle and Anton Marmot’s latest DJ-fuelled spectacle is back on homegrown Aussie soils, ready to launch into its fifth year. Set in Centennial Park, Electric Gardens will once again welcome the crème de la crème of electronica with a dizzying line-up of world-class talent. This year's line-up is yet to be announced, but if last year's bill was anything to go by – think Fatboy Slim, Underworld, Erick Morillo, Patrick Topping, Eats Everything and legendary Ibiza clubsters Amnesia – you won't be disappointed. 

When? 22nd February 2020

Where?  Centennial Park, Sydney

How much?  TBC

MARCH

Golden Plains

Earning itself a glowing reputation as one of the country’s best boutique festivals, Golden Plains will transport you into a magical wonderland of glorious mayhem. The sister festival to Meredith Music Festival, Golden Plains is your grown-up alternative – it’s shorter, less busy, wildly spontaneous and promises an eclectic line-up that swings from hip-hop to indie to Afrobeat and jazz, in one fell swoop.

The line-up is yet to be released, but previous years have seen the likes of Public Enemy, Bon Iver, The Buzzcocks, Nile Rodgers, George Clinton and The Village People all grace the stage. And with no commercial sponsors or market stalls, you can bring whatever you like to the festival – food, drink furniture, you name it. You can even bring a sofa if it takes your fancy! An immersive adult playground that promises endless adventure, Golden Plains is your ticket to weekend of intimate fun, minus the commercial frills. 

When? 7th – 9th March 2020

Where? Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatere, VIC

How much? Enter the ticket Ballot before 10:14pm on Tuesday 22nd October 

APRIL

Bluesfest Byron Bay

With its 31st anniversary looming, Bluesfest’s five-day spectacle is set to be a big one, with plenty of big names tipped to head the bill. A festival in the truest sense – less of the frills, more of the musical kicks – each year music lovers of all ages gather together in Tyagarah Tea Farm’s stunning Byron surrounds, to hear the reverberating pulse of blues, roots, country, pop, reggae, folk, hip-hop and jazz. 

A long list of musical greats have graced the stage over the years – think Bob Dylan, James Brown, Robert Plant, Iggy Pop and Led Zeppelin – and next year is no exception, with the likes of Crowded House, Dave Matthews Band, Patti Smith, George Benson and Morcheeba all set to take to the stage. Laid-back, family-friendly with a side serving of fun, this annual Blues-a-thon is a guaranteed must for any festival goer.

When? 9th– 13th April 2020

Where? Tyagarah Tea Farm, Byron Bay, NWS

How much? Tickets go on sale in December 2019

Splendour in the Grass

An eclectic Australian gem, Splendour in the Grass brings together some of the world’s biggest bands to the scenic setting of Byron Bay, for three days of interrupted rock, pop, indie, hip-hop, electronica and much, much more. As well as colossal headliners – previous years have seen everyone from The Strokes, Coldplay, Tame Impala, Bloc Part, Outkast and James Bay – you’ll find comedy shows, philosophical discussions, art installations, dance and circus workshops, plus a range of artisan food stalls and craft markets where you can stock up on local handmade delicacies. Fancy.

When? 2020 dates to be announced – watch this space

Where? North Byron Highlands, NSW

How much? Ticket prices TBC

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