Summer in Australia is the season of live music.
With predictably beautiful, sunny weather across the country, it’s the best time of year to enjoy outdoor music festivals (we’re side-eyeing you, winter events, with your rain and mud). Here’s what you need to know about heading to one of these festivals, and which ones we recommend checking out.
Our top 10 tips for summer festival attendees
Music festivals around the world can operate quite differently. In Australia, there is a big focus on safety and security. So, if it’s your first time attending a music festival as an international student, you can be assured that there is always help and support on hand, as well as plenty of free amenities.
Our team is personally gearing up for Heaps Good in Adelaide, so in preparation for festival season, we’ve refined 10 tips to ensure you have a brilliant live music experience.
1. Prepare in advance
Once you have your tickets secured, consider how you’re going to get to and from the festival. For city-based events, like Harvest Rock, it’s as easy as jumping on public transport. If the festival is further out, see if the organisers offer transportation, or if you and your friends can organise a minibus or a ride from a designated driver.
2. Plan your day
Festivals in Australia will almost always publish their set times in advance. For Harvest Rock, the set times were available a month in advance, meaning we’re able to coordinate a timetable of which shows we want to see.
When packing for the day, you will want to check out what you can and can’t bring onto the festival grounds, and whether there are size restrictions on bags.
3. Organise a meeting point
Phone service can be unpredictable at festivals. Once you’ve arrived with your friends, look for a central meeting point where you can congregate if you happen to get separated and can’t reach each other by phone.
4. Look for free amenities or giveaways
From water and sunscreen to makeup samples and snacks, music festivals in Australia will offer a range of free amenities or giveaways.
5. Be sun safe
Summer in Australia is hot. While the clear, blue skies make for incredible photos, you also need to make sure you’re being sun safe. This includes using and reapplying sunscreen throughout the day and covering your skin wherever possible.
6. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Free water is a necessity at any festival in Australia. You’re encouraged to bring your own empty water bottle to fill up from communal tanks during the day.
7. Take breaks
8. Buy merch
Not only a great souvenir of the event, purchasing merchandise is a great way to support the musicians you’re seeing.
9. Check out the afterparties
Don’t let the day come to an end too early! Festivals will often offer official afterparties at nearby venues so you can keep the festivities going. Sometimes, secret guests from the festival lineup might even make an appearance.
10. Enjoy yourself!
Everyone enjoys festivals in different ways. Some are solely focused on seeing musicians they love, while others might be on the hunt for new artists to support. You might just go for the excitement of the festival and the opportunity to spend time with friends. Whatever your festival-going style, make sure to soak up the atmosphere, take lots of photos, and be respectful of other attendees and staff.
The top 7 summer music festivals to check out
1. Heaps Good
There’s something for everyone at Heaps Good! For some raucous rock sing-a-longs, check out Foals and Declan McKenna (“Brazil” will have the crowd going crazy – guaranteed!); for a taste of Aussie talent, The Avalanches and Flume are icons; or lament love lost with Holly Humberstone and MAY-A. Held in Adelaide and Melbourne, expect a gorgeous, sunny day out with friends and food tunes.
With humble beginnings in Melbourne almost 20 years ago, Laneway is a predominantly indie music event. Featuring international artists including Stormzy, Steve Lacey and Dominic Fike, Laneway is coming to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney between 3 and 11 February 2024.
It’s free, fabulous and on the beach. What more could you ask for from a summer festival? Head down to the St Kilda foreshore on 17 and 18 February 2024 for a weekend of music.
WOMADelaide – World of Music Arts & Dance – celebrates world music. Although technically falling in early autumn (8-11 March 2024), you’re still guaranteed sunny, warm days at WOMAD. Previously headlined by acts like Florence + The Machine and Bon Iver, this is one of the most relaxing festivals you’ll ever attend.
A 3-day camping and music fest held in rural Victoria, Golden Plains is famous for good vibes, smiling faces and an eclectic lineup of acts from international jazz superstar Yussef Dayes to local favourite King Stingray. The event runs from 9 to 11 March so get in early and book your tickets!
Held on the foothills of the iconic Grampian Plains in mid-March, Pitch focuses on creativity, self-expression and inclusion. This is a good pick for electronic music fans.
7. Harvest Rock
After its unforgettable debut in 2022, Harvest Rock has cemented its place as South Australia’s go-to fest for top-notch alternative music. The lineup is a blend global acts with local legends, all in a family-friendly setting. Add to this a taste of Adelaide’s foodie scene, plenty of activities, and the lush backdrop of Murlawirrapurka & Ityamai-Itpina Parks – it’s not just a festival, it’s an experience.