The best music festivals on the Sunshine Coast

The best music festivals on the Sunshine Coast

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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

Gympie 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 Forest 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: 24-27 August 2017
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 $56 for adult single-day tickets up to $696 for a season family pass.

2. Maroochy Music and Visual Arts Festival

Maroochy Music and Visual Arts Festival

Photo by Joshua White

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 closing with native DJ Alison Wonderland), 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: 26 August 2017
Where: The former Horton Park Golf Course, Maroochydore (entry via Dalton Drive)
Getting there: Head to their website to check their bus services running from Kings Beach up to Noosa and Nambour.
Cost: $120 for general admission.

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 100-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 space with rides and activities has been added to the mix (and under 12’s get in for free!).

When: 15-18 September 2017
Where: Lot 3 Mitchell Creek Road, Kandanga Creek
Getting there: Drive one hour west of Noosa.
Cost: Starting at $95 for adult single-day passes up to $560 for their VIP Big Weekender Pass for two adults (tickets include free onsite camping!).

4. Caloundra Music Festival

Caloundra Music Festival

Set your GPS to Kings Beach and get ready for four bliss-filled days of sun, surf and soul. Going on 11 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 crooning sounds of Ronan Keating or getting your groove on to the Hot Potato Band.

When: 29 September – 2 October 2017
Where: Kings Beach Park, De Vene Avenue, Kings Beach
Getting there: Hop on a SUN Bus 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 $60 for adult single-day tickets up to $415 for early bird Kings Club season passes.

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 Festival 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), with this year seeing a few new epic surprises including a massive two story treehouse-bar and secret micro-venues dotted across the site.

And to celebrate what they’re all about – LOVE – they’re even adding an onsite chapel, The Sanctuary of Seduction, for those hardcore Jungle Lovers who want to (unofficially) tie the knot.

Oh, and did we mention everything is BYO, and there are, I quote, “no queues ever” at the toilets? #hellyes

When: 3 November – 2 December 2017
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: Tickets on sale 7 June 2017.

6. Big Pineapple Music Festival

Big Pineapple Festival

Photo by Mitch Lowe

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 fifth year saw amusements rides and endless good vibes as 13,000 party-goers descended upon the Pineapple Fields to dance the day and night away to an epic lineup of national and international acts, including Peking Duk and Safia.

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 2018
Where: The Big Pineapple, Woombye

What’s your favourite music festival on the Sunshine Coast?