Get ready to party, Northside style
As any smug Brunswick resident will tell you, there are endless reasons to get on the number 19 tram and roll down Sydney Road. There’s Dejour Jeans, outrageous wedding dress shops, endless Bonsoy lattes, and of course, all kinds of live music that streams from the well-loved pubs and clubs that beckon from almost every street corner.
And then there’s the Brunswick Music Festival. Coming into its 26th year, the festival is in the hands of a new team of directors, who kicked things off with a media launch at the Brunswick Town Hall.
“We’re new to organising the festival but not new to partying at it,” says organiser Natalie Lidgerwood. “I just wish I’d paid more attention… instead of dancing in the streets!” Judging from the musical offerings this year, we’re pretty confident that the team will have no problem getting punters booking tickets. The line-up includes:
Blair Dunlop (UK), David Bridie and Frank Yamma, FourPlay String Quartet, Jamie Macdowell and Tom Thum, La Sagra della Musica feat. Kavisha Mazzela, Santa Taranta, La Voce Della Luna, Love Over Gold (US/AUS), Mama Kin, Melbourne Rhythm Project, Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club, Mikelangelo and The Big Mouth Choir, Miles and Simone, Peter Rowan Bluegrass Trio (US), Rory McLeod (UK), Southern Cookin' feat. Andy Baylor, Coral Lee and the Silver Scream, Le Blanc Bros Cajun Band, Moonee Valley Drifters and The Brunswick Old Time String Orchestra, SumSum, The Royal Jellies and Zulya and the Children of the Underground (RUSSIA/AUS). Alaska String Band (USA), Altan (Ireland), Antonio Serrano (Spain), Breabach (Scotland), Funny Folk featuring Kransky Sisters and Mic Conway's National Junk Band (AUS), Hanggai (Beijing), Louis McManus Memorial Concert with The Purple Dentists and Saoirse (AUS) and The Tiger Lillies (UK).
“These artists represent our diverse community,” says City of Moreland Mayor Lambros Tapinos. In less than an hour, we’re treated to the smooth baritone of Mikelangelo who’ll be performing with a 50-piece choir, and the spirited Italian folk of Kavisha Mazzella which she will perform as part of La Sagra Della Musica.
Melbourne Rhythm Project got us all in a spin with their infectious blend of tap and lindy hop. They’ll be improvising and performing a new work with local jazz band Leigh Barker and the New Sheiks. Get in quick: we reckon these guys will sell out.
The international offerings are up there with any world music festival. Highlights include Mongolian rockers Hanggai, the world-famous Alaska String Band (US), dark street vaudevillians the Tiger Lillies (UK) and harmonica maestro Antonio Serrano (SP). We’re intrigued about Israeli gypsy folk band Sumsum, partly because they were originally coming to Melbourne just for a wedding. “The bride got in contact with us and thought we might like to hear them,” says Lidgerwood. “They’re amazing!”
If you only do one thing at the festival, then obviously it’s got to be the Sydney Road Street Party on Sunday March 2. The roaring fiesta is turning 20 this year, and will pack the street with six stages, roving performers, arty market stalls and all sorts of food vendors. Don’t miss the hilarious Massive Hip Hop Choir, ’80s dance divas Real Hot Bitches, and Melbourne soulsters the Cactus Channel.
Pumped for your Brunswick adventure? We’ve barely scratched the surface here. Visit the website for the full program (and tickets – events are free or individually priced), and get ready to party, Northside style.