When Bluesfest was cancelled for the second year in a row and just one day before its kick-off this past March, many event organisers (including Bluesfest’s founder, Peter Noble) were surely shocked.
Suddenly, questions about the feasibility of staging any outdoor gigs anytime soon started being taken more seriously again. Even the ones with proper COVID-safe protocols in place.
Luckily, that didn’t stop new music projects in Queensland from flourishing. One of them is the Coochiemudlo Island Festival whose first edition is set to take place on the second Saturday in May in circumstances “where the music meets the sea”.
PART 71 OF “AM I EVER GONNA SEE YOUR FACE AGAIN?” A RANDOM COLLECTION OF UNKNOWINGLY OBVIOUS FACTS ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN MUSIC SCENE
I heard about Coochiemudlo Island for the first time when the festival’s press release reached my mailbox. I don’t know how I could have missed that blissful spot during my epic road trip through Queensland in 2019. What an awesome place to stage a music event! Let alone the local talent that will perform and the range of accompanying activities.
Before exploring the festival’s offering, let’s get the island’s name right. As you would expect, its origin is Aboriginal. The two words that make it up are English language versions of the Yuggera “kutchi” (meaning red) and “mudlo” (meaning stone). That short history lesson should also help you figure out the correct pronunciation that I had problems with at the beginning.
And if not, here’s a song by one of the bands playing at the festival, The Double Happiness, that will instantly drill it in your brain 🙂 This is also the tune that inspired the whole event.
Located just 35 km South-East of Brisbane and easily accessible by ferry from Victoria Point in the Redlands, this natural wonderland is less than an hour from the centre of Brisbane. If you need more info about transport and logistics, go to the Coochiemudlo Island website. You’ll find heaps of useful tips about getting out and about there.
The festival will take place in the Mudlo Gardens area, in a picturesque setting inviting “punters (…) to leave the concrete jungle and their everyday worries behind and enter a well-kept secret island paradise.” And if that still doesn’t convince you, maybe the below pictures will.
We, the ones who have set foot on the Australian soil even once, know very well that having network coverage in some places Down Under is tricky (not to say non-existent) sometimes. So you will be relieved to find out that the island has its own tower. Yes, you will have reception good enough to report live from the festival making your friends totally jealous they’re not there with you.
Arcadian surroundings aside, festivals are all about music. And if you’re into up-and-coming local talent, then this event is definitely for you.
Seven acts are on the bill, and they all promise a chilled-out afternoon with a dash of groovy vibes. The range of genres is quite impressive, but it was all carefully curated with the island vibe in mind.
There’s “Tropical Ambassador” Bobby Alu who skilfully blends world, roots and pop music. On the other hand, Adele & The Chandeliers serve up a solid pop-punk experience. A rising star Ruby Gilbert offers a nostalgic mix of indie rock and Americana. And Chocolate Strings add their hint of funk, reggae and Latin rhythms.
Don’t sweat it if some of those names don’t sound familiar at first. The whole idea is to focus on the local music scene and spread the word about it outside of Brisbane/Queensland.
Whilst you might not have heard of The Holy Rollercoasters in other states (or countries), you will definitely remember the blues/soul/jazz band after seeing them live. And you might actually recognise Karl S. Williams from having performed at other events like Woodford Folk Festival, Dark Mofo or Queenscliff Music Festival.
Check out this cheeky teaser playlist to see what you can expect on the day:
Advertised as “Queensland’s newest COVID-SAFE, family-friendly and bespoke island experience”, the event surely has heaps to offer. As reported by the organisers, every activity “was curated with happiness in mind.”
Apart from the musical entertainment, there will be stalls representing local businesses, community groups and creative circles. Emphasis is also placed on protecting the island’s natural habitat and sustainability.
Last but not least, whilst you’re enjoying an essential dose of live music, your kids will be entertained, too. They can choose face painting, treasure hunts and more fun activities. So you don’t have to worry about having to constantly watch them.
The organisers know very well that punters everywhere are starved of live music. Their idea was “to bring communities together and lift spirits in the wake of the challenging year that was 2020”. Not only the ones Down Under.
The great news for Australian music fans from overseas is that the event will also be live-streamed worldwide. So you can watch it from the comfort of your couch for now. And start planning your trip to Queensland for next year’s edition. Online viewing will be possible thanks to the StageIt platform.
Two local institutions are behind the festival.
The Ministry For Fun (wishing it was your company’s name now, hmm?) is a not-for-profit collaboration by Coochiemudlo Island businesses whilst 4000 Records is a well-established indie record label from Brisbane.
It’s great to see that – despite the constantly challenging pandemic conditions – Australian event organisers are not giving up and continue to create new music experiences for fans locally, nationally and overseas.
Hopefully, next year more of us will be able to visit the Coochiemudlo Island Festival in person!
Coochiemudlo Island Festival
Mudlo Gardens, Coochiemudlo Island, QLD
Saturday, 8 May 2021
12 PM – 9.30 PM
For all other info (tickets, accommodation options, FAQ etc.), visit the festival’s website
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