First published on 26 Aug 2011. Updated on 24 Jan 2013.
Meredith Amphitheatre, Dec 7-9
Aunty Meredith has done it again with a stellar line-up for 2012, which includes Grimes, the Sunnyboys, Primal Scream, Four Tet, and this year's J Award winners, Tame Impala. Also representing some of Australia’s freshest talent will be Chet Faker, Saskwatch, Snakadaktal the Twerps and the Toot Toot Toots.
What sets Meredith apart from the rest?
If the music wasn’t enough to grab you, the annual nudie run held at the festival, known as the Meredith Gift, will be MC-ed by DJ Smoove along with Meredith veterans, the Town Bikes. Their "no dickhead policy" ensures the 22nd Meredith Music Festival will be saturated with the sort of music and people you want to be around. See you in the Sup’!
In the words of Aunty: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. Here is a good tip: sensible shoes. The #1 treated injury by the St John Ambulance Hit Parade is cut feet. Also, waterproof clothing is ideal, as Meredith is notorious for some epic rainfall. Combine those two warnings and you have the ultimate, essential Meredith item: Gumboots.
Melbourne Showgrounds, Sat Dec 1
Australia's largest electronic-dance music festival is back. Stereosonic 2012 boasts its biggest line-up ever, featuring Dutch DJ Tiësto, who is headlining the festival, plus Calvin Harris, Example, Carl Cox and Sweden’s Avicii.
Please, for the love of god boys and girls, keep your shirts on. I know the temptation to get your rig out on the first day of Summer is uncontrollable, but a sweaty man-boob in the face while tearing up the Melbourne Showgrounds is not going to land you a potential festival snog.
Cowes, Dec 29-Jan 1
Spend NYE camping on Phillip Island with the likes of 360, Karnivool, Xavier Rudd, Kate Miller-Heidke, Anti-Flag, Closure in Moscow, Illy and many, many more who'll rock the crap out of that infamous rock in the sea. It’s pretty hard for any music fan not to be excited about this so get your friends together, pack the tent and bring in 2013 drunk, sweaty and moshing.
Your favourite new band
Surfy Spaniards Los Coronas know how to party, know how to work a mariachi trumpet, and could potentially steal the show.
What sets Pyramid apart from the rest?
The location! The Pyramid-shaped rock formation can be seen from parts of the festival venue. It's said to have mystical powers...
Set your tent up nice and early, find a chilled space on the hill and watch the sunset with friends. Bliss.
Lorne, Dec 28-Jan 1
Nothing says summer holiday like a trip down the Great Ocean Road, which makes the Falls Festival site in Lorne a winner in our book. Confirmed acts include the Flaming Lips, Angus Stone, Ash Grunwald, Ball Park Music, Beach House, Best Coast, Bombay Bicycle club, Boy & Bear, Cosmo Jarvis, Django Django, Lisa Mitchell, Matt Corby, the Hives and more.
Your new favourite band
Young Chicago blues whiz Willis Earl Beal, reckons Falls director Simon Daly.
The one thing we always forget about Falls? The dramatic changes in temperature from day to evening! "Wear warm clothes in the evenings – thermals are a favourite – and lots of sunscreen and light clothes for the hot summer days," advises festival director Simon Daly.
Marion Bay, Dec 28-Jan 1
Many Melburnians consider a trip across the water to Tassie part of their essential NYE ritual and make the trek to the Marion Bay Falls Festival site. Confirmed acts include Angus Stone, Ash Grunwald, Ball Park Music, Beach House, Best Coast, Bombay Bicycle club, Boy & Bear, Cosmo Jarvis, Django Django, Lisa Mitchell, Matt Corby, the Flaming Lips, the Hives and more.
What sets the Falls Festival apart from the rest?
Stunning sites and a genuinely music loving crowd. "Fifty-six percent of the patrons in Marion Bay have travelled across water to be there," says Daly.
Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Tue Jan 1 2013
With a line-up of electronic, dance and pop acts, including M.I.A, Knife Party, Fedde Le Grand, Kimbra, and DJ set from the Chemical Brothers and Mark Ronson, Summadaye is the discerning dance fan's jam – right in the heart of Melbourne on New Year's Day.
Your favourite new band
“Maya Jane Coles,” says Future Entertainment director Brett Robinson. “Her profile is still building here but she's already pretty huge in Europe and the US. And Booka Shade. If you've never seen them live before, it's a pretty amazing show. Disclosure: I think their set is going to blow peoples minds.”
What sets Summadayze apart from the rest?
“The diversity of the line-up,” says Robinson. “I made a conscious decision to be forward thinking with this line-up and really showcase what's new and cutting edge from around the world. Of course, we've also got some biggest names in the business on the bill too with the likes of the Chemical Brothers, M.I.A, Mark Ronson and Fedde Le Grand.”
“It wouldn't be a bad idea to wear an Indian head-dress and come vibe with your tribe!”
Fleminton Racecourse, Sat Jan 26 2013
The biggest, sweatiest, most musically-jam-packed day around in Australian music is back for 2013 and is now legal in America (21 years old!). Red Hot Chilli Peppers headline – visiting Oz after five years away – with a host of renowned band including the Killers, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Vampire Weekend, Bloody Beetroots, Band of Horses and Foals.
Your favourite new band
Gary Clark Jr – a young man from Austin, Texas who The New York Times has suggested "may be the next Hendrix". Gary Clark recently released his first album, Blak N Blu.
What sets BDO apart from the rest?
In 2013, Big Day Out pushes the boundaries of ‘music festival’ by introducing the El Jimador Mexican Bar where headliners Lucha VaVOOM will be putting on a non-stop action-packed show with Mexican wrestling and hi-octane striptease.
Don’t get stuck eating the same old boring festival food! Head to Chow Town for some of the best cuisine Australia has to offer, curated by top chefs.
Footscray Community Arts Centre, Sun Feb 3 2013
Hipsters and indie kids everywhere rejoice! Laneway has once again provided a line-up that is so cutting edge you are bound to go home with some new favourite bands.
Bat For Lashes, Yeasayer, and Alt-J will all be present, as will the Reubens, Real Estate, Polica, Nicholas Jaar, Jessie Ware, Flume, Alpine, High Highs and Harry Wagons & the Unwelcome Company, among many others.
Organisers have proclaimed 2013 to have their "mega-dream line-up". As you can see, they weren’t kidding around. Barely any of the acts are performing sideshows so if anything here appeals to your musical sensibilities, don’t miss out on a ticket.
Westgate Entertainment Centre, Feb 16-17
Co-curated by Melbourne's hometown heroes the Drones as part of the All Tomorrow’s Parties global festival take over. Start digging out your old vinyl: My Bloody Valentine, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Beasts of Bourbon, Swans, Einsteurzende Neubauten, the Dead Sea, HTRK, Lost Animal, Three Oh Sees, Sleepy Sun, Harmony, Standish/Carlyon and Cam Butler & the Shadows of Love.
Your new favourite band
Gareth Liddiard told The Age that "[Einsturzende] Neubauten was one I didn't think we'd get," and that persuading the original Beasts of Bourbon line-up to play together after years of squabble was "good timing". Keep an eye out for these two acts for sure.
What sets I’ll Be Your Mirror apart from the rest?
Organiser Barry Hogan acknowledges that the last venue choice for the All Tomorrows Parties in Mount Buller was a costly affair, but Altona promises to be impressive – and convenient to get to.
Melbourne Showgrounds, Fri Mar 1 2013
How do you define 'huge'? Well, you could do worse than flicking to next year's Soundwave line-up. Repeat after us: Metallica is coming! The just-announced line-up includes Linkin Park, Blink-182. A Perfect Circle, ffspring, Paramore, Garbage, Tomahawk, Sum 41, Gallows and tonnes more.
What sets Soundwave apart from the rest?
All Soundwave events are licensed and are all ages. There will be no mercy shown to the young ones who scramble into the moshpit, but we have a feeling they’ll feel right at home in the thick of it. Have a wonderful, sweaty day!
Mega tip: Don't forget your onesie: this site's stuffed with every variety of animal!