Australia has found a damn fine new festival in A Weekend in the Gardens

Has Australia somehow pulled another great festival out of the woodwork? Catch our take on A Weekend in the Gardens here.

Picture this; Melbourne’s beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens, the Shrine of Remembrance looming as a reminder of this country’s history, the plazas where the Melbourne Observatory telescopes have stood watch for over 150-years. The fences are lined with fairy lights, the smell of smoked meat and gourmet pizzas wafts through the air and the tips of Melbourne’s skyscrapers peek over the rows of ancient trees.

Got it? Good. Now add in three musical acts at the peak of their powers, a fire-spitting MC, a DJ who knows exactly what the crowd wants, a frosty can of Fat Yak and a Negroni chaser and what do you get? A Weekend in the Gardens.

It all kicked off just after six when Amy Shark strutted out onto the stage to open the show. Fresh off her huge Triple-J’s Hottest 100 result, where her single Adore came in at number two, Amy came out and killed it. She worked the crowd like a seasoned vet, storming through a set filled with up-beat crowd-pleasers, slowed-down vocal show-stoppers, some brand new music and a stage presence that was hard to keep your eyes off. It was an incredible show and a clear highlight of the weekend.

After a quick break and some slick beats from DJ Buster Stickup, San Cisco exploded onto the stage and sent the crowd into a frenzy. The Fremantle indie darlings hit the capacity crowd with everything they had. Some tracks off their most recent album Gracetown like the painfully catchy Too Much Time Together and super funky Jealousy, and a couple of old favourites like Fred Astaire and Awkward were enough to get everyone jumping.

When they tore into my personal favourite track B-Side, I was cutting up my picnic rug like a man possessed. It was a super fun set with a bit of everything.

Labour Day long weekend is always a busy one in sunny Melbourne. Moomba Festival brings people from all over the world to the banks of the Yarra River for free events like the Birdman rally, carnivals, parades and fireworks; fireworks which welcomed the amazing Boy & Bear to the stage.

The Sydney-siders were tasked with closing day two of the three day event and, holy shit, did they ever close out day two of the three day event. Not only did they have the crowd stomping their collective feet with folk-bangers like Southern Sun, the anthemic Shape of Love and the rousing Feeding Line, they had everyone singing along to their humongous cover of Crowded House’s Fall at your Feet.

It was a powerful performance, oozing with emotion and passion. Lead singer David Hosking is a true lynchpin of a frontman, demanding the crowd’s attention with his vocal acrobatics and imposing stage presence.

This was just day two of A Weekend in the Gardens. Friday night was a sit down affair as three legends of Australian music John Farnham, Ross Wilson and Daryl Braithwaite, proved they still had it and much, much more.

And Sunday was a night for the rock lovers as Clare Bowditch opened for Australian Crawl frontman James Reyne and Icehouse. It was an incredible weekend.

One thing’s for certain, Australia has yet another great annual music festival.


Thanks to Ziggy Cross for the photos.