Kyneton Music Festival blends music and local culture together in harmony

Kyneton Music Festival blends music and local culture together in harmony

Words by Augustus Welby

You don’t need to venture far to find a show.

The 2019 Kyneton Music Festival takes place on Friday October 25 and Saturday October 26. Friday night proceedings will be held in the Bluestone Theatre just off the historic Piper St and Saturday’s jam-packed lineup of performers will grace the main stage in St Paul’s Park.

“It’s good to take in the whole weekend,” says organiser Rob Jones. “It’s quite a picturesque little town, so it’s the perfect weekend away if you love music. There’s plenty of other things to do in this town – a lot of art galleries and nice restaurants and cafes and whatnot.”

Punters are welcome to come and go freely throughout the event, allowing people to visit the local shops, restaurants and galleries in between bands.

“The beauty about having it in Kyneton,” Jones says, “the main Saturday’s outside and it’s on Piper St, so we don’t necessarily lock people in to staying for the whole duration of the event. It’s a pretty relaxed kind of vibe. It’s for young and old.”

This is reflected in the music programming. Friday night places Black Cab and Ross McLennan, seasoned pros of the Australian indie and alternative music scene, side by side with Glitoris and Cry Club, two strong, expressive contemporary artists.

“The Bluestone Theatre is just this beautiful space that hardly gets used,” Jones says. “Friday night we go for a party. It’s only a small venue – about 250 capacity – beautiful stage and we just really want four bands that are very different from each [other] but all works together in quite a fun environment. It’s always been a really fun way to start the festival.”

Triple j favourite Ali Barter, Flightless-signees Stonefield, and recent Triple R album of the week honourees jade imagine lead the Saturday lineup. Joining them is a stack of leading lights from contemporary Melbourne including Martin Frawley, Hobsons Bay Coast Guard, Ryan Downey and Cool Sounds.

“Things that we’re excited about is probably the first thing that organically happens when choosing bands. We try to have a good mix as well, nothing too same same, and artists that will suit a big stage. It’s a nice outdoor festival, but it’s still quite boutique as well. So it’s finding that balance and keeping it interesting.”

Consideration is given not just to stylistic variety but also to things like equal gender representation.

“I like to go to a festival that has a good balance, so certainly previous years and this year that gender balance is something we do want to have,” Jones says. “Our three headliners are all women this year. It’s really easy, too, because there’s so many great female artists out there, so it’s not really a challenge.”

Kyneton Music Festival is officially presented by Melbourne’s hallowed community radio station, Triple R, an arrangement that’s been in place for the last handful of years.

“A lot of the bands will have been played on Triple R and a lot of the presenters, it’s bands that they support. So it’s always just been a good fit for us in terms of what music we like and what we think’s going to work at the event,” Jones says. “Triple R are great supporters of Australian music, so it just makes sense.”

There will be ample food and drink options available on site, while the nearby Kyneton town centre offers a surfeit of choices.

“We’ve got Young Henrys on board this year and that’s another great fit,” Jones says. “They’re very supportive of live music and local artists and they’re fine purveyors of great beer, so we’re pretty excited to have them on board. We have a few food vans. We don’t want to do too much because we’re in a food area so we encourage people to check out the bakeries and cafes and restaurants as well.”

All up, it’s a pretty easy festival. “We like to keep it affordable,” says Jones. “It’s a boutique festival and we like the size of it.”

Kyneton Music Festival is happening on Friday October 25 and Saturday October 26 at Bluestone Theatre and St Paul’s Park. For tickets, the full lineup and more info, head to the festival website.