Mordialloc Food, Wine & Music Festival; a gold coin for a weekend of goodness

“I try and pick bands that aren’t as well known as well, to give them the opportunity to shine in a later spot.”

Even if you’ve nothing in your pockets but hope and a $2 coin, there are certain places in the world that welcome you with open arms (and bounding, lifesaving stilt-walkers) for two days of excitement and exuberance. A cavalcade of music, art and conversation, the Mordialloc Food, Wine & Music Festival is back again, the jewel in Kingston’s already-impressive festival calendar. Festival director Petti McInnes gives us a taste of what’s in store.
“It’s quite well known now, and people really look forward to it,” McInnes says. “People come and reserve a table to have their engagement party or hen’s party, to sit there and enjoy a wine or beer with good food, good company and great entertainment. It’s a really nice atmosphere.
“Kingston Council puts on [the festival]. They see it as an important thing to give back to the community, and provide a culture of festivals, of enjoying where we live and what we have to offer. The entry to all our festivals is $2 for an adult, which is minimal, and they’re quite proud of the festival and the events team. We get maybe 35,000 people through the doors, and it’s awesome to see people have such a good time, and for $2, to have two days of full-blown entertainment on three stages, with really diverse food and music, it’s great.”
Between the trio of stages providing non-stop entertainment, and the 45 different food vendors selling their wares, punters will struggle to find a dull moment. Each day provides a slightly different tone, but McInnes and her team have been very conscious to curate the broadest and most engaging sweep of music you could hope for.
“I never [program] from my personal preference. I do it for the demographics of the audience I know is out there at that time of day. We try and flow the tempo that way. Saturday is a younger crowd, so we head into a younger headliner on Saturday night. We’re changing it a little this year. In the past, we’ve had someone like Delta Riggs, but this year I’ve gone a little leftfield and chosen Electric Fields. It’s different to what we’d normally end with, but they’ve got such great stage presence, they’ve won a few awards lately.
“I try and pick bands that aren’t as well known as well, to give them the opportunity to shine in a later spot. I really want the crescendo to keep growing throughout the day until you have this big party at night. Sunday, it’s a real bluesy crowd. We still have the young crowd, but you get an older crowd as well, so we try and cater to that. Hence having Joe Camilleri closing the festival this year, and some bluesy stuff through the day, like Hat Fitz and Cara, Jeff Lang. We’ve also got some touring bands along this year, like The Eskies, who are from Ireland, and Yolanda Brown who is from the UK.”
While the music on offer is undoubtedly a strong draw card (as are the smells of freshly cooked food mingling in the air), it’s not the only thing to experience at Mordi Fest. The content is remarkably varied and, most importantly, able to be enjoyed by all.
“Lens Mist has been part of Morti for five years, which is a $5000 photography prize. We’ll be displaying that as a banner in the festival site this year rather than in a marquee, to take the exhibition to an audience that mightn’t already go into the marquee. We also have quite a bit of street-theatre, because it’s one of my personal passions to surprise people by what comes walking towards them. Like Big Rory and Ochie, the giant Scotsman and his dog.
“We’ve got stilt-walkers who’re bouncing around 25 metres at a time on giant springs, who are Life Guards. They’re quite fun, trying to rescue people and doing crazy stuff throughout the day. We provide entertainment for kids as well, face painting and such. We want the whole family here to have fun, to enjoy the music, to have some good food.”

Mordialloc Food, Wine & Music Festival will take over Peter Scullin Reserve on Saturday March 3 and Sunday March 4.