Celebrating the return of good weather and even better times, the ‘Almost Summer Music Festival’ has revealed its full three-day schedule of music, food, and festivities.
Day trip it, or set up shop for the whole three days, our money is on the full experience because let’s face it, it’s BENDIGO, it has the most stunningly beautiful heritage-lined streets, jam-packed with art and culture this side of VIC.
So start planning your road trip, because ‘Almost Summer Music Festival’ is taking over the heart of Bendigo from Friday 25th to Sunday 27th November.
With the main outdoor stage behind the iconic Capitol Theatre ‘Almost Summer’ is taking over the View Street arts precinct where you will find Bendigo’s famous art Gallery, a string of local boutiques, restaurants, bars, and cafes as well as the gorgeous Rosalind Park – all within two minutes’ walking distance from the Almost Summer Music Festival site.
The festival has dropped it’s full three schedule, starting off on Friday at 5pm with a Welcome to Country and Smoking ceremony, paying respects to the Dja Dja Wurrung traditional owners before Yorta Yorta Dja Dja Wurrung singer-songwriter Carissa Nyalu takes the stage to open the inaugural festival.
Friday nighters will be wowed by former Snakadaktal lead singer and songwriter, Phoebe Lou, who’s most recent solo project Phoebe Go was a highlight of Bigsound and Triple J says of her latest project “be warned, it could break you”.
South Sudanese rapper, songwriter, composer and producer Pookie brings her powerful stories to the stage with force and passion followed by rising Australiana folk-artist Suzi, who’s honest and relatable lyrics, will disarm even the toughest of critics.
DJ duties fall to Melbourne’s most exuberant human buzzing about the music industry, DJ Joey Lightbulb will take on MC from 5pm until the last person is being ushered off the event site.
Grab your coffee and croissant at a reasonable hour on Saturday, because doors open at 11am with Triple J’s Pip Rasmussen on MC and DJ duties. Kicking off what has been forecasted for a sunny Saturday are local favourites, Aplegate, followed by Melbourne psych/pop disco outfit Sunfruits.
Indie-guitar pop artist Geoffrey O’Conner (Sly Hats, The Crayon Fields) is next, performing his solo work, following up from his most recent release after a seven year hiatus. Next up is emerging dreamy offbeat Freeds who blends hip-hop storytelling with catchy pop that projects an optimism to shake off any dark spell.
As the sun sets over Dudley House, right of stage, Melbourne psychedelic five-piece Bananagun will bring their unique blend 60s and 70s afrobeat and exotica to Fela Kuti-esque repetition, rhythmic fury of The Monks and grooves of Os Mutantes, creating a lost world of exoticism to the lucky audiences of Almost Summer.
All female festival headliners Kardajala Kirridarra will grace the stage for their Bendigo debut for this very special intimate performance having received rotation on Triple J in 2017 with their single Ngurra (Rain Song) and over four years since their last Melbourne appearance. Honouring language, culture and family with songs inspired by country, it was no small feat to bring this very special act to regional Victoria for their first ever performance on Dja Dja Wurrung country, coming all the way from the sandhills behind the community of Malinja, NT.
Saturday’s programming comes to a close with no other than driving 80’s electronica legends Black Cab who’s most recent release, Rostler’s Rules, was described by music journalist Bernard Zuel as “a record to dance to” so yes, audiences will get a chance to shake out their cobwebs with bars open until late.
With enough time to catch up on beauty sleep, day 3 kicks off at 11am on Sunday with Pip Rasmussen back as MC and PBS’s Headhunters announcer DJ Friday mixing it up on the decks between sets.
Castlemaine native singer/songwriter Nadia Phillips is up first, and keeping things local, Bendigo gal Flora brings her seven-piece band to the Almost Summer stage with their mix of progressive alt-country and indie pop.
Alt/country singer-songwriter, Gabriella Cohen will woo you with her four-part harmonies and effortless rock n’roll style. Blending 70’s grooves and sunshine pop Aussie/English outfit Greatest Hits are next, and it’s almost time to head home, but not before indie pop alt-country six-piece legends Cool Sounds present their unique blend of 80’s pop, cheerful funk, and disco sounds to the lucky people with us until the end, and Melbournites can still make it back home before dark.
Almost Summer Festival Director Lior Albeck-Ripka says, “This is not your standard music festival in a field, with queues, rubbish and big crowds that make you want to curl up and hide. We’ve got bands to make you move, laugh and smile – all on one stage in the heart of Bendigo’s arts precinct. We’ll have ice-creams and fruit, local coffee and food and a beer garden, pop-up cafe and vinyl store for the moments you need to recalibrate. Think music, mangos and beer. It’s almost summer.”
Less than two hours from Melbourne’s CBD by train or car. Traipse around the View Street arts precinct on your way to and from the music
festival site, pop into the famous Bendigo Art Gallery, take a stroll in Rosalind park or kick back in the Almost Summer beer garden and hang with your friends and family and soak up some seriously great Australian music.
Almost Summer is taking place on the traditional lands of the Dja Dja Wurrung people of the Kulin nation. They are the traditional custodians of this land. Respect.
Almost Summer Festival, 25th – 27th November, Bendigo
$150 – full festival pass
$42 – Friday night 5.30pm – 11pm
$82 – Saturday all day/night 11-11pm
$58 – Sunday day 11- 6pm
For ticket and accommodation info head to Almost Summer Music.
Presented by ALWAYS LIVE, Hear Them Holler and supported by the City of Greater Bendigo
Check out the official Almost Summer Spotify playlist here.