NSW is home to a thriving music scene, with plenty of vibrant festivals taking place throughout the year. Check out some of the biggest and best music festivals in NSW, and start planning your festival favorites for the year ahead.
Since its debut in 1990, Bluesfest has grown to claim an annual audience of more than 100,000 people. Today, Australia’s premier blues and roots music festival attracts leading names in blues, roots, rock, folk, world and soul music, with past performers including Bob Dylan, Erykah Badu, Paul Simon, Joss Stone, Earth, Wind & Fire, James Brown and Mary J Blige. This famously laidback festival also boasts more than 100 food and market stalls, five licensed bars, beer gardens, children’s entertainment, and camping facilities for up to 6,000 people. With five days of fun to enjoy at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, Bluesfest is one of the most unforgettable ways to soak up the Easter long weekend in NSW.
Known simply as ‘Falls’ to the festival-going crowd, Falls Music & Arts Festival is held at four locations around Australia over the New Year’s period. The third leg of the festival takes place at Yelgun, a small valley located roughly 30 minutes north of Byron Bay. For three days, the North Byron Parklands sets the backdrop for a stellar lineup of music acts, as well as art installations, dance performances, comedy and theatre, makers’ markets, pop-up bars, beer gardens and more. As of December 2015, Yelgun is also the only Falls Festival venue to feature a custom-built water park. Dubbed ‘Palm Springs’, this play area combines inflatable pools and tropical party music, all with a 1980s Californian vibe.
Held in Port Macquarie, Festival of the Sun is one of NSW’s best boutique music festivals. Festival of the Sun limits its capacity to just 3,000 people, allowing festival-goers to enjoy a unique, family-friendly atmosphere. The festival begins with markets, art and craft workshops, and free performances at the Comedy Stand. Guests can also enjoy food stalls, art installations, and buckets of local talent from the likes of Ball Park Music, Tash Sultana, The Smith Street Band, Gang of Youths, and The Preatures. Festival tickets include free camping, but those looking for a touch of luxury can upgrade to a powered site or even purchase a pre-pitched tent package. With fantastic music and a beachfront location, Festival of the Sun is the perfect way to welcome summer in NSW.
Splendour in the Grass began in 2001 with modest aspirations: to bring one day of music to the Australian winter. Today, this three-day event is officially the largest winter music festival in the country. Splendour in the Grass is known for delivering eclectic lineups, with past programs featuring everyone from Vampire Weekend, Sigur Ros, Bonobo and The Strokes to Kanye West, Lily Allen and Death Cab for Cutie. There are also a number areas to explore away from the main stage. The Tipi Forest sees DJs and visual artists cast a transfixing spell of techno, trance, drum and bass, trap, breakbeat, deep house, and more. The Global Village is where you’ll find world music, yoga and meditation classes, and dance performances, while the Bohemian Lounge hosts workshops during the day, with poetry and jazz performances at night.
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