The best music festivals on the Sunshine Coast
If you think Sunshine Coast culture is defined only by its beautiful beaches, think again, because beneath its laid-back exterior, you’ll find a music scene that’s just as hot as our sun-kissed locals.
From blues and roots, to country and electronic funk, whatever you’re musical tastes, you’re bound to find a festival that’ll have you fist pumping the air (or swaying from side to side, whatever your dance jam may be).
But what really sets these music festivals apart from the big city dos? Location. One month you’re singing soulful tunes by the beach, the next you could be camping in the hinterland or creek-side jamming in a national park.
Clear your calendars and pencil in these 6 music festivals to hit on the Sunshine Coast.
1. Gympie Music Muster
Never is there a more appropriate time to don an Akubra on the Sunshine Coast than at the Gympie Music Muster. Each year, thousands flock to the bushland of Amamoor State Creek with their camping gear in tow to celebrate four days of blues, roots and country.
Spread out over 50 hectares of national park, this festival is as much about getting back to nature as it is about the music. Think campfire cooking and whiffs of fresh bush eucalypt in between exploring eight venues showcasing a musical collage of traditional and modern country through to folk and bluegrass.
When: 25 August 2016
Where: A 20-minute forest drive inland from Amamoor along Amamoor Creek Rd
Getting there: Hit the road on a one-hour drive from the coast (or two hours if you’re leaving from Brisbane).
Cost: Starting at $10 for single day tickets up to $730 for a season pass.
2. Maroochy Music and Visual Arts Festival
Music and art lovers unite at this visually and audibly delicious festival smack bang in the Maroochydore CBD. While the MMVAF is the baby of the coast’s festy scene, there’s no denying it’s already cemented a name for itself as one of the hottest events of the year.
Balancing the highs of a big gun festival with that local laid-back vibe we know and love, you won’t find any frantic to-and-froing between stages to catch their top-tier line-up of Aussie artists (this year
mega-babe the incredibly talented Matt Corby is one of the main headliners), with one open-air amphitheatre to bring everyone together.
In between sets, wander the Visual Art Park and catch artists live at work, or head to the Oyster and Champagne Garden for some soulful tunes while lazing on a pink bean bag with a glass of bubbly.
When: 10 September 2016
Where: The former Horton Park Golf Course, Maroochydore (entry via Dalton Drive)
Getting there: Head to their website to grab a car parking pass (limited spaces available) or check their bus services running from Kings Beach up to Noosa and Nambour.
Cost: $118.35 for general admission or $212.20 for a double pass.
3. Mitchell Creek Rock N Blues Fest
You’re in for a riff rockin’ good time at this weekend musical bender of rock and blues.
Let me set the scene for you: camping under the stars on a 90-acre property in the Mary Valley (aka stunner Sunshine Coast hinterland), two alternative main stages set in a natural mountainous amphitheatre beneath bunya pines and cedar trees, and over 150 artists belting out rock, blues, soul and roots over three days and nights.
With a vibe that’s part carnival, part Woodstock, it’s a weekend the whole family can enjoy, even more so now that a kid’s only mini-festival with rides and activities has been added to the mix (and under 12’s get in for free!).
When: 16-19 September 2016
Where: Lot 3 Mitchell Creek Road, Kandanga Creek
Getting there: Drive one hour west of Noosa.
Cost: Starting at $45 for a single day pass up to $560 for a VIP weekend package for two adults.
4. Caloundra Music Festival
Set your GPS to Kings Beach and get ready for four bliss-filled days of sun, surf and soul. Going on 10 years strong, there’s a reason (or three) why the Caloundra Music Festival continues to be a favourite of locals and visitors alike.
First off, it’s right by the water, so after working up a dance-sweat you can cool down with a salty dip. Secondly, the not-for-profit celebration plays host to all ages, with a dedicated kid’s area in the Funky Forest holding activities like circus workshops and yoga.
Last and not least, the varied mix of music on offer across four stages. One minute you could be discovering local and international musos you’ve never heard of, the next, you’re swaying to the rhythmic reggae sounds of Bobby Alu or getting your groove on to The Cat Empire or Kim Churchill.
When: 30 September 2016
Where: Kings Beach Park, De Vene Avenue, Kings Beach
Getting there: Hop on a Sunbus or check their website for free ‘Park and Ride’ shuttle services from Caloundra locations. There is also a courtesy bus running from both Golden Beach and the Caloundra RSL.
Cost: Starting at $11 for single-day tickets up to $404 for a season pass.
5. Jungle Love Festival
There aren’t many festivals where thongs (the footwear) and bathers meet the standard dress code, but alas, that’s what you’ll find at this boutique music festival.
Jungle Love is an experience unlike any other on the coast: with the whole shebang running along Yabba Creek in Imbil, revellers can literally swim and watch the music unfold from their inflatable doughnut.
From their two main stages echoes a smorgasbord of genres from funk and pop to psych rock and disco (seriously, whatever your tastes, you’ll likely find it here), and this year will include a constant electronic dance party from morning ’til midnight.
Oh, and did we mention everything is BYO, and there are, I quote, “no queues ever” at the toilets? You’ll want to book your tickets quick smart, especially since it’s capped at a mere 1500 souls.
When: 25-26 November 2016
Where: Borumba Deer Park, Imbil
Getting there: Approximately a one-hour drive from the coast or two hours if you’re leaving from Brisbane.
Cost: Starting at $149 for early bird tickets up to $698 for a 5-person package deal.
6. Big Pineapple Music Festival
If you’re not a local, let me start by saying yes, there is actually a giant pineapple at home on the site of this epic festival, and yes, people take the pineapple theme quite seriously in their attire (it’s even turned into a competition for best dressed).
Its fourth year saw a sold out show, amusement rides and endless good vibes as party-goers danced the day and night away to an epic lineup of national and international acts, including RUFUS and Hermitude.
Spread across four stages, you can flit between checking out the coast’s own local talent before heading down the hill to catch headliners making music love across the two main stages.
When: TBC 2017
Where: The Big Pineapple, Woombye
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