Australian Music Festivals

Australian music festivals splendour

Australian music festivals get wild

Forget museums, sightseeing and galleries. In my experience, there’s no better way to immerse yourself in a country’s culture than going to a music festival. There’s a sort of primal bond that occurs between festival-goers as they dance together, euphorically sweaty, under the untainted stars. You see a different side to people: more genuine, more honest.

Australian music festivals are as diverse as they are wild. Although most are fantastic, what you get out of them will depend on what type of crowd you’d fit in with and what sort of music you enjoy.

Here’s our guide to Australian music festivals:

Splendour in the Grass

Australian music festivals splendour

Held in July every year, Splendour in the Grass is Australia’s largest and most well-known winter festival. Besides 2010 and 2011 when it was held in Woodford in Queensland, Splendour has its home in Byron Bay’s Belongil Fields. It’s a three-day festival, which hosts a range of musical artists from all sorts of genres. Previous artists include:

  • Coldplay
  • Florence + the Machine
  • Kanye West
  • PJ Harvey
  • Mumford and Sons

Woodford Folk Festival

Held just outside of the semi-rural town of Woodford, 72 km north of Brisbane, the Woodford Folk Festival runs from 27 December to 1 January each year. Unlike Splendour, which is more of a 18-25’s festival, Woodford is fairly age-balanced. There are young people, old people, families and retirees: all sorts of people. It’s also massive. Each year, around 130,000 people attend Woodford, compared to Splendour’s mere 30, 000.

Woodford line-ups have included artists like:

  • Angus and Julia Stone
  • John Butler Trio
  • Blue King Brown
  • Cat Empire

Also, because it runs over New Year’s Eve, each year Woodford hosts a “Fire Event” to mark the end of the year and the birth of a new one. Basically, they just burn a colossal sculpture. Above is the 2000 millennium Fire Event, which was globally televised.


BluesFest is the cool uncle of Australian music festivals. It’s more relaxed, has maturer tastes and, usually in Byron Bay, it’s definitely a bit hippy. Past artists include:

  • John Mayer
  • Santana
  • Paul Kelly
  • Los Lobos
  • Xavier Rudd

About Sam Oldfield

Growing up in Santa Cruz, California, I was a keen surfer and beach junkie from early on. My first overseas trip was to the Caribbean, and I've been chasing the summer sun ever since. I wrapped up my media degree at uni, and decided to move to Australia. The land downunder is full of beaches, babes and brilliant adventures. I'm just hitch-hiking my way around this sunny paradise, one travel blog at a time.
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