Beat's Guide to Brunswick Music Festival

Brunswick Music Festival has a localised history spanning back to 1989, decades before craft beer and man buns were synonymous with the much-loved Melbourne suburb. 2019 sees the festival catapult into an AAA national attraction, with music programmer Emily Ulman booking an array of international and local talent to represent Brunswick’s modern eclecticism. Beat takes a look at some of the excellent homegrown shows that stand toe to toe with headliners J Mascis and Snail Mail.

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Music for the Mob

Indigenous Australian hip hop firebrand Adam Briggs’ label Bad Apples is entirely First Nations owned and operated, hosting a small set of indigenous artists mentored artistically and professionally by Briggs. Bad Apples are throwing a free gig at BMF, featuring some of the country’s best First Nations artists: Emma Donovan & The Putbacks, Alice Skye as well as Native American activist/musician Calina Lawrence. It all goes down at Shore Reserve, Pascoe Vale on Sunday March 17 from 4pm.

Music at Home

Thanks to the streaming age, we have the greatest access to music worldwide now than we’ve ever had; what we might have lost in the process is cultural and social context. Local label Bedroom Suck Records and Music in Exile have collaborated to curate a meditation on the plight of displaced musicians, featuring the talents of Eritrean poet Manal Younus, local collective Music Yared and a special set from Neur spokesperson and musical legend, Gordon Koang, with full band in tow. Moreland City Band Room will host the event on Saturday March 16, and tickets are $20+bf. 

Dolly Parton Tribute

Dolly Parton is the unimpeachable queen of country music and a true icon – where would we be without her working class anthem ‘9 to 5’? BMF can’t book her, but they can get the next best thing: Alexander Gow (Oh Mercy), Emily Lubitz, Emma Donovan, Loretta Miller and Sarah Mary Chadwick faithfully paying tribute to Parton’s back catalogue. Dolly goes down Sunday March 10 at Estonian House, tickets are $37+bf. 

Deep Fried Disco

If that Armie Hammer dance scene in Call Me by Your Name got you hankering for some more Euro-pop, Deep Fried Disco is here for your fix. A delirious evening of camp tunes, drag and glamour via DJ Butch le Butch, Tanzer, The Huxleys, Fabio Umberto, Karen From Finance and more might just be the ‘80s reverie you’ve always dreamed of. Tag along on Sunday March 17 from 7.30pm at Brunswick Mechanics Institute, with tickets at $20+bf. 

Seen and Believed

Living and breathing the Melbourne music scene everyday sometimes makes you lose perspective on just how special it really is. Photographer Naomi Lee Beveridge has curated a new exhibition Seen and Believed, collecting the work of local rock photographers who capture the tremendous diversity and intricacy of the underground scene. The photos enshrine the efforts of the marginalised in a male-heavy scene. The exhibition is free to view from March 3-17 at Brunswick Mechanics Institute.


In a post-Grime UK rap landscape, Flohio is the next hottest thing. The British-Nigerian rapper/songwriter, aka Funmi Ohio, is set to take her gritty 808-fueled hip hop to Howler on Sunday March 10 at 8pm. Flohio’s EP Wild Yout marked her as an artist to watch by industry overlords, so don’t be surprised if this is the smallest venue you’ll ever get to see her. Tickets $35+bf.

Community Square

A Weekend With is known to most as a boutique meeting of refined Australian music, food and drink, hidden in rural Victoria – BMF have condensed the festival into Brunswick’s homely Community Square. The expert event programmers have packed it out with tunes from heaps of live acts, including electro-iconoclasts Sui Zhen X Mindy Meng Wang and fusion wunderkinds The Senegambian Jazz Band. Sup a Sample Brew beer, nibble at The Brunswick Whey’s bizarre cheese, marvel at the Blak Dot Gallery and more from 12.30pm on Monday March 11. Tickets are $15+bf.

Genesis Owusu

Put simply, Genesis Owusu is one of the best hip hop artists in the country right now. The Ghana-born, Canberra-based rapper has a wry, woozy flow over inventive future-soul production, a sound he has tongue-in-cheek labelled “21st century punk-jazz”. Fresh from a Noname support slot, Owusu will take to the Brunswick Mechanics Institute stage on Thursday March 7 from 7.30pm Tickets are $18+bf.


Anika Ostendorf, known to most as Hachiku, should be Melbourne’s bedroom pop patron saint. Her delicate auteur-pop sparkles with a unique guitar pickstyle and opaque, yet insular lyricism. The German-born singer-songwriter is one of Milk! Records best signings, with Courtney Barnett and Jen Cloher often seen hanging about her hometown shows – see for yourself when she supports Stella Donnelly on Saturday March 9 at 2pm (U18 show) and 7.30pm, with tickets at $20 and $30+bf for the shows respectively. 

Brunswick Music Festival kicks off Sunday March 3 with the Sydney Road Street Party. For more information, head to the festival website.