Melodic Rock Fest is turning back the clock with its world-class lineup of ’80s and ’90s favourites

Melodic Rock Fest is turning back the clock with its world-class lineup of ’80s and ’90s favourites

Kip Winger
Words by Fergus Neal

Melodic Rock Fest comes to Australia for the second time with an even bigger and more dynamic lineup than its first instalment.

The music of the 1980s and 1990s will go down in history for its unbridled love of rock and its unashamed glam rock that still echoes in today’s music. It’s a period that, despite initial scepticism, flourished and turned into a worldwide phenomenon with new fashion cultures spreading as rapidly as the music itself. Melodic Rock Fest looks to tap into and reinvigorate this culture, with Creative Director Peter Hoffman spearheading the project.

“Our mission is to bring acts to Australia that have never been here before,” says Hoffman. “Out of the thirteen acts coming from overseas, only one has been here before.

“All the acts we’re bringing out are world-class and unbelievable musicians. Kip Winger writes for the movies, Tony Harnell has one of the most amazing voices you can hear live, XYZ are just a straight-out good-time band – everyone has their speciality.”

Melodic Rock Fest 2020 promises to turn the clock back to the final two decades of the 20th century, rolling out the best bands and artists of that period and unleashing them back into a musical climate that’s vastly different from when they played their first chords.

Headlining Melodic Rock Fest will be FireHouse, while the likes of FM, Eclipse, Crazy Lixx, Janet Gardner, Enuff Z’Nuff, Paul Laine, Ron Keel, XYZ, Tony Harnell (TNT) and Kip Winger round out the international contingent. Melodic rock has been heralded for its ability to bring people together and uplift a crowd, which is exactly what Hoffman expects the acts to cultivate in their audience.

“At the end of the day, all of the bands are about having a good time,” Hoffman says. “Especially after what we’ve gone through in Australia with the bushfires – we want the festival to be about people being able to take a deep breath and say, ‘Let’s go and have some fun’.

“We just did Gumbuya Sounds of Nature, sitting out and watching 5,000 people smiling and clapping and having a great time – for me that’s what music is about. That culture of the melodic – it’s all about relaxing and enjoying yourself.”

Held from Friday March 6 to Sunday March 8 at The National Theatre in St Kilda, this year’s Melodic Rock Fest features many of the bands who dominated that period of the ‘80s and ‘90s, and are still touring and performing today – a testament to the enduring nature of rock.

The festival is unique in this sense, and its focus on international acts is supplemented by local talent such as White Widdow, BB Steal, Serpentine Sky, The Radio Sun, among many others. The lineup promises an event shaping up to be one of Australia’s great pure rock events; Hoffman hopes it’s just the start of a trend.

“We want class acts coming to Australia for a good price. All I ask is that if you’re into melodic rock, get out and support it because the more you support it the more we’ll bring.

“We already have 12 acts signed up for 2021 and they’re going to blow people away just as much as 2020’s event. At the end of the day, it’s the public who decides.”

Melodic Rock Fest will take place at The National Theatre from Friday March 6 to Sunday March 8. Visit for more information and tickets.