Happy’s Guide to The Gum Ball

Held every year in the Hunter Valley, The Gum Ball is one of Australia’s longer running rural festivals, celebrating it’s 10th anniversary this year. Over that time, the festival has cultivated a culture of it’s own – a relaxed and safe atmosphere for people who sit down at music festivals, not because they don’t want to mosh, but because their legs are reaching that age where they get a little sore standing up for the whole 45 minute set. Plus, they don’t want to get their $200 birkenstocks all muddy, and someone has to keep an eye on the kids. Accordingly, the festival is headlined by golden oldies like Adalita and Hoodoo Gurus, but as always, the lineup gets more interesting further down the bill. Here’s Happy’s Guide to this weekend’s Gum Ball.

gum ball

Who do we reckon you should see at this year’s Gum Ball festival?

The Septembers

The Septembers are a collaboration between two trans-oceanic lovers, who create sexy, smoothly produced soulful hip hop. It’s sexy, it’s well arranged and there’s a good chance that the duo’s tunes will translate into a super cool morning of live music. When I say morning, I mean morning. These guys are hitting up the stage on at a ridiculous 8:30AM, Sunday. In my opinion, it might be worth an all nighter on Saturday to fall asleep to these sweet tunes.

Wolf & Cub

Wolf & Cub are purveyors of a familiar sound. They’re a solid and established part of a movement bringing psychedelic music into the 21st century – catchy and accessible yet still trippy, unexpected and awesome. These guys have released a record on 4AD (so you know they got the psych chops) and have been playing shows since way back in 2002, so go check out how much these guys have grown since you first saw ’em. Or, in my case, missed them when they supported TV on the Radio. 9:00PM, Saturday night.

The Hello Morning

These guys are one of those bands who sum up where The Gum Ball is at – mature, folky, sophisticated music that simply sounds… good. There’s nothing complicated here, just a solid band making solid tunes that aren’t gonna scare anyone. Here’s a video of them performing “Don’t Let It” in a semi-studio setting, and they absolutely nail it. 3:20PM, Saturday arvo.

Tropical Zombie

Following in a long line of Aussie indie bands who wear straw hats on top of their long blonde hair, Tropical Zombie sound like they really liked Paul Simon’s Graceland, but are still 00’s indie kids at heart. Jungle drums and tom-heavy rhythms, fiddly guitar and cliched vocal harmonies, think Johnathan Boulet on malaria medication. Catch these guys kick things off at 4:00PM, Friday.


We’ve covered Sydney gal Ngaiire’s tunes a few times on Happy, and we’d feel pretty silly leaving her off any list. She’s an epic performer, a voice that travels for miles, and her tunes are absolutely on point. Check her out at 8:10PM on the Saturday night, just before Wolf & Cub.

King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard

Now a band with four, equally awesome LP’s under their belt, King Gizz don’t need an introduction, a blurb or anything. You all know who they are, and if you’re at The Gum Ball and don’t go see them then you are no longer allowed to read this blog. For serious. Get out. KGATLW are our #1 pick for The Gum Ball 2014 and on stage at 11:10 Friday night.