Who should you see at this year’s WAMfest? We asked the coordinators for their hottest picks

With over 200 acts occupying the full lineup for this year’s WAMFest showcase nights, we’d understand if you felt a little spoilt for choice. We’d even understand if you felt overwhelmed.

Which is why we asked WAMFest coordinators Mark Neal and Skinny O’Leary to share their wisdom. Straight from the horse’s mouth, here are a few suggestions to get your WAMFest schedule off the ground.

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A little overwhelmed by how much talent is on display at this year’s WAMFest? We asked the event’s two coordinators to lend a hand.

Mark Neal’s Picks

Impossible to pick my own ‘top’ acts on such a huge list of talented people who are all worth checking out. But… you made me… so here’s a couple of interesting regional act suggestions to check out.

Isla Imogen

She’s from Albany. My old hood, hometown represent (pulls gangsta sign). I saw her live for the first time a couple of weeks back and she has a song which features funny/accurate monkey noises, and I’m all about that kinda thing.

Catch Isla Imogen: 8:15pm Saturday 4 Nov at Jack Rabbit Slim’s; 2.30pm Sunday 5 Nov Regional Showcase at Railway Hotel (Outdoor)

Michael Strong

Formerly from Bridgetown, now a long time Perth dude. He’s a pal – we’ve done musical things together and I love the guy dearly, so there may be a little bias here, but, regardless, his new solo IDM electronic project is some crazy engaging whack-as music.

Watching him creepily breathe into a distorted microphone while he smashes old school synth toys and play drums all at the same time is well worth checking out.

Catch Michael Strong: 9pm Saturday 4 Nov at The Bird

Pete Byfield

Hailing from Northam, he’s like a country version of Roy Orbison. That voice will soak into ya. Pete hasn’t been writing originals for very long, he’s kinda just started in the scheme of things, but he’s already a powerhouse songwriter.

Two albums down and many decades of experience to include in his songs, expect the goods.

Catch Pete Byfield: 9.30pm Saturday 28 Oct at The Tivoli, Merredin; 6.10pm Saturday 4 Nov at The Sewing Room; 5pm Sunday 5 Nov Regional Showcase at Railway Hotel (Indoor)

Tracey Barnett

Got lucky enough to tour manage her on a WAM Wheatbelt Touring Circuit earlier in the year. There’s stomp box, there’s a bit of a blues-folk thing going on, and there’s a bit of a John Butler influence.

Catch Tracey Barnett: 9.50pm Friday 27 Oct Clancys Fish Pub, Dunsborough; 5.30pm Sunday 5 Nov Regional Showcase at Swan Hotel (Lounge Stage)

Skinny O’Leary’s Picks


Really interesting electro/pop with layered vocals and lots of cool instrumentation.

Catch Kopano: ​10:50pm Friday 3 Nov at The Bird; 9pm Saturday 4 Nov at Jack Rabbit Slims

​Sly Withers

Closer is such a banger of a song and I finally caught it live at The Bird last Friday. They’ve been a band for eight years, they’re about to release their second album, and yet they’re all in their early twenties. Ridiculous. I can’t wait to see them on the big outdoor stage.

Catch Sly Withers: 4:25pm Saturday 4 Nov at Lot Party


Indie-pop with all of the right sensibilities. The new single The Wandering was produced by Joel Quartermaine and is really great!

Catch Segers: 6:20pm Saturday 4 Nov at Hen House Live

Vacant Home

The best melodic hardcore band to come out of Perth in the last couple of years, hands down.

Catch Vacant Home: 10:35pm Friday 3 Nov at The Boston.

Ziggy Ramo

Ziggy was an absolute no-brainer and will be the perfect vibe for Lot Party – upbeat and fun with clever and hard-hitting lyrics.

Catch Ziggy Ramo: 8:30pm Saturday 4 Nov at Lot Party


Entry to the WAMFEST showcases are, as always, free with a WAMCon ticket. Grab yours here.

WAMFest takes place November 1-5 this year this year. Head here for the full lineup and a list of who’s playing where.