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2016 Queensland Music Festival Guide

  • Written by Lani Pauli



Couldn't twist your bosses arm to approve your end of year annual leave and missed the call of Woodford Folk Festival?

Never fear, if you've got rhythm and live to hear the strum of a guitar from the front of the stage, pack your bags because the music festivals don't stop in Queensland at summer's end. In fact, they're just getting started! What are you waiting for? Grab your mates and hit the road to one of these top music events.

February

Agnes Blues, Roots and Rock Festival 19-21 February, Agnes Waters
If you needed an excuse to transport yourself to paradise, this is it. Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and a number of picturesque national parks, this tropical north festival delivers three days of the best blues, roots and rock music. Tour the region, the last stop in the stretch of Queensland's surf beaches, stay awhile and surf, swim, play and enjoy some of the best music this side of the Tropic of Capricorn.

March

Bleach*Festival 6-22 March, Gold Coast (Multiple Locations)
Celebrating all that glitters about the Gold Coast art and cultural scene, Bleach* takes visitors to the beach and beyond to the streets in one inventive festival. Plant your feet firmly in the sand and expect the unexpected with everything from eye-popping antics, street parties and picnics in unusual and whimsical settings. This festival of fun is now in its third year and delivers contemporary live music, pop-up art installations and exhibitions, outdoor film programs, theatre, and big ideas.

CMC Rocks Queensland 11-13 March, Willowbank
Billed as Australia's biggest international country music festival, CMC Rocks QLD is on track to be bigger and better in 2016. In a major coup, Jason Aldean, one of the biggest superstar acts in American music, will headline the March event at Willowbank. Local acts including The Sunny Cowgirls, Morgan Evans, Melanie Dyer and Travis Collins join the bill alongside Kelsea Ballerini, who has been touted as the next Taylor Swift. Queensland will also host the CMC Music Awards at Brisbane's Queensland Performing Arts Centre, the day before the festival. Yee-ha!

April

Brisbane Baroque 8-16 April, Brisbane
The drama, tension, exuberance and grandeur is back in all its glory when Brisbane Baroque launches an exclusive program of musical and opera performances that will introduce Australian audiences to global stars. Direct from the Gottingen Handel Festival, this year's production will present Handel's Agrippina opera and American mezzo soprano Vivica Genauxmaking her Australian debut. As well as free talks and recitals, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra will join with Brisbane Baroque for a concert version of King Arthur.

May

Music in the Mulga 12-15 May, Eulo (Paroo Area)
This one pub town will turn a local a working sheep and cattle property 16km south of Eulo's main street into the perfectly crafted Music in the Mulga festival this May With the atmosphere of an old fashioned family get-together, festival goers will be treated to performances by Tania Kernaghan, Anita Ree, Trainwreck Trio and Keith Done as the annual charity auction, yabby race and celebrity cook off. Recover like a rock star with Eulo's famous artesian mud baths!

Blues on Broadbeach 19-22 May, Broadbeach (Gold Coast)
One of Rolling Stone Magazine's 100 Greatest Voices of All Time, Eric Burdon, and The Animals will headline Australia's largest free music festival this May with the spectacular Gold Coast as the backdrop. Held over four-days, the jam-packed line-up gives music lovers from soul, blues and more food for their musical souls.

June

Cooly Rocks On 3-13 June 2016, Cooloongatta
If you're a rebel without a cause and with a James Dean demeanour, you'll want to be front and centre for the 11-day bash, Cooly Rocks On. More than 50 rock 'n 'roll and rockabilly bands will perform while more than 1,300 cars will line the streets for one of the biggest car displays ever staged in Australia. Fire up and bring the family and enjoy loads of free entertainment and retro markets.

July

Big Red Bash 3-4 July 2016, Birdsville
They say things are bigger and better in the outback, so shelve your stadium and try the acoustic on the edge of a desert. Two of Australia's biggest music acts Jimmy Barnes and Paul Kelly will belt out ballads against the backdrop of Big Red – The Simpson Desert's largest dune, just a coo-ee from Birdsville. This is a true blue event, so bring your tent, van or swag for this two-day music festival and get some red dirt on your dancing shoes.

Australian Festival of Chamber Music 29 July – 6 August, Townsville
Outdoor music festivals aren't just about neon shirts and shoulder rides. Townsville's set to put orchestra music in the ears of audiences by converting around 25 outdoor music venues into stages. Stay tuned as internationally- acclaimed orchestras will soon be announced for the 2016 festival.

August

Gympie Muster 25-28 August, Gympie
Like clockwork, thousands of revellers make the pilgrimage to pitch their tents, pull on their boots and celebrate the best of blues, roots and country at the Gympie Music Muster. Why not make 2016 your year to join in the fun? Spilling out over 50 hectares of bushland, you'll find yourself under the spell of this iconic event that brings music and mateship together under one big open roof.

September

Noosa Jazz Festival 1-4 September, Noosa
Pack your jazz hands this September and head to the Sunshine Coast, as Noosa Heads' Lions Park transforms into 'Festival Village' for the annual festival of jazz. Enjoy classic blues and folk music, nosh on local produce and swill a glass of Shiraz while listening to world-class jazz. Stay tuned for the 2016 line up.

Bigsound 7-9 September, Brisbane
If there was an event to put Brisbane firmly on the music festival map it might just be Bigsound ¬- Australia's premier festival of new music. Bigsound is where the world discovers Australian music over two action-packed nights in September. Next year, a vibrant collection of musicians, music industry professionals and music lovers from across the globe will assemble in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley. Earn bragging rights with your mates to say, "I heard them first" when you dance the night away at Bigsound, thrilled by 150 of Australia's best new artists.

Mitchell Creek Rock n Blues Fest 16-19 September, Mitchell Creek
Three days, late nights, live music and BYO = a recipe for a good time. Grab a bunch of mates and set off for the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, two hours north of Brisbane. With a free camping ground on site, you'll get to spend more time at the event than driving to and from this festival set in the heart of the Mary Valley. Stay tuned for the 2016 line up announcement!

October

Caloundra Music Festival TBC October, Caloundra
It's officially beach weather and what better way to celebrate the change of season than with a trip up the coast to listen to some tunes? The Caloundra Music Festival is a not-for-profit celebration that plays host to all ages and music tastes. Set up at one of Queensland's most popular beaches, and with a dedicated kids play area it's family-friendly! Keep your ears to the ground for the 2016 line-up announcement and book early as tickets fly out.

Opera in the Outback 6-8 October, Undara
The west will take music to a high note this October as Opera in the Outback turns sweet sixteen. Under the spotlight of a million stars, this event draws hundreds of visitors to the tiny town of Undara, about 350-clicks south-west of Cairns. Undara Experience has your accommodation covered with pioneer huts, railway carriages and a caravan park, so all you need to do is plan your escape to the outback and book in some time at the famous Undara lava tubes.

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