If you’re seeking sweltering temperatures, friendly people, and world-class tunes, then don’t look past our list of the top music festivals in Australasia. Drawing thousands of music enthusiasts from far and wide to their bustling grounds, these festivals hosted down-under are some of the most worthwhile things to do whilst exploring the region and are an ideal way to combine sightseeing with ear-pleasing fun. Boasting a loyal following even as the generations turn over, the following Australasian music festivals look set to offer good melodies and vibes for years to come.
Falls Music and Arts Festival
Falls has been annually raging for over 20 years now, and for good reason. It’s a New Year’s Eve tradition that takes place concurrently in three different Aussie towns – Lorne, Marion Bay, and Byron Bay – with artists traveling between. For all the indie and techno beats that Australia has in store, Falls Festival will be your summer destination of choice. Even better, Falls brings together musicians, DJs, and comedians, so you definitely won’t be short of entertainment options when you visit one of its three locations.
If a more boutique music experience sounds appealing, then New Zealand’s three-day Splore Festival might be the event for you. With Splore’s director encouraging attendees to put on their costumes and become a part of the festival’s “visual culture”, fun and frivolity is guaranteed! Better yet, Splore promotes a sweet set of values that make its community one of the friendliest and most respectful music crowds to be a part of – no nasty mosh-pit antics here. Splore’s gorgeous beach location near Orere Point is just over an hour’s drive from Auckland and is located near the beautiful Tapapakanga Regional Park.
Hitting five cities through November and December, Stereosonic is the quintessential Aussie summer festival. With the production team always doing an incredible job on stage visuals and lighting, the vibe onsite as electric as the music. This is one festival that draws crowds year after year, with first-time attendees of the festival quickly catching on to the buzz. Even if you’re not usually into electro-beats, you’ll be hard-pressed not to break into dance when listening to a set at Stereosonic.
St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival Auckland
Affectionately referred to by locals as “Laneways”, the New Zealand version of St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival retains all of its indie flavour, with 2017’s event featuring acts like Tame Impala and the Glass Animals. Now one of New Zealand’s most popular festivals, Laneway takes place around January, at the height of the jandal-wearing season. And if that’s not enough to sell you, then the festival’s new location should: having just moved to the spacious and scenic Albert Park, there’ll be lush surroundings to enjoy alongside the entrancing music sets.
Splendour in the Grass
A veritable Australian institution, it doesn’t get much better than Splendour in the Grass. The upside to the festival’s timing in the winter months is that it draws major artists like Flume and The Cure – and besides, it never gets too cold and miserable in beautiful Byron Bay, where the festival’s based. Don’t hesitate to block out a few days in your mid-year schedule for a much-needed musical reprieve at one of the best music festivals in Australia. Get in quick with those tickets, though, as this is one popular event.
Bluesfest Byron Bay
Picking up on a trend? You’d be right; Byron Bay is a serious music hub. With Bluesfest, the Bay offers a diverse selection of artists and musical styles, not always sticking to conventional blues-y sounds (and with bands like The Lumineers popping up as headlining acts, we’re certainly not complaining). Listening to world-renowned artists whilst hanging out in one of the best places to visit in Australia? Yes please.
Rhythm and Vines
R&V encapsulates all that it means to be a Kiwi music lover. Held at the beautiful Waiohika Estate in Gisborne at the end of each year, the three-day festival culminates on New Year’s Eve, and has long been the event of choice for those wanting to bring in the coming year in style. A full-blown festival experience, R&V offers both a friend-laden camping experience and unparalleled access to some of the best musicians in the world (Angus & Julia Stone or The Kooks, anyone?). If you’re keen to be one of the first people in the world to witness the first sunrise of the New Year, then book your R&V tickets ASAP.
Melbourne International Jazz Festival
Helping to keep the beautiful sound alive, the Melbourne International Jazz Festival always manages to secure top-rate acts (Stefano Bollani headlined in 2016). Dishing up a diverse menu of traditional and more experimental jazz, MIJF is not to be missed for those with a penchant for all things soulful – and if you’re looking for music that doesn’t break the decibel scale, then this is the festival for you. With hordes of Australian attractions lining the streets of Melbourne, there’ll be much to do even outside of festival hours, too.
About the Author
Angela Hallberg is Marketing Manager for Omega Rental Cars, a trusted supplier of Auckland and Wellington Airport rental cars. With a passion for travel, and years spent in the New Zealand tourism industry as a travel agent, tour organizer and incentive travel specialist, she loves to help others discover all the best things to see and do in her home country. Sharing local knowledge, feedback from Omega Rental Cars customers, and actively seeking information on activities and attractions, Angela can help you plan an itinerary to maximize your time in New Zealand.