Live Business Breakfast: Variety Australia, Twilio Present Shortlist for ‘Best Australian Music Festival’

Australian music festival of the year

Australia’s premium youth publisher, The Brag Media, presents Variety Australia and Twilio’s inaugural Live Business Breakfast, June 13 at Sydney’s 12-Micron. On the morning, seven special awards will be handed out for excellence in live entertainment.

Variety Australia now unveils the shortlist for one of those categories, Best Australian Music Festival.

Crisis or not, Australia’s music festivals circuit is fresh, fantastic and globally renowned. A difficult climate for the industry has forced out several high-profile brands, a situation not dissimilar to the reset of a decade ago when four of the biggest names in music festivals hung up their muddy boots in quick succession.

Respect, then, to the festivals that welcome thousands of party goers, countless international and homegrown performers, and ensure the warmer months are buzzing.

Among them: Strawberry Fields, Beyond the Valley, Lost Paradise, Good Things, Listen Out, Yours and Owls, and Meredith.

Three festivals stand apart.


1. Bluesfest

Peter Noble’s Bluesfest isn’t just a party. It’s a pop-up village, a destination event, with more years under its belt (35) than most of its visitors. Presented each year in northern Byron Bay, over the Easter long weekend, Bluesfest has enjoyed the highs, endured the lows, outlasted everyone else.

Its trophy cabinet is heaving, with six Australian event of the year awards, and 10 Pollstar nominations for best international festival of the Year, and an Order of Australia Medal for its director, Noble. Its most recent edition featured the likes of The Teskey Brothers, Peter Garrett, Taj Mahal, Snarky Puppy, Katie Malua, Drive-By Truckers, Tom Jones and Brad Cox. Organisers declared it a “triumph” and promised “we’re not done yet.” Bluesfest will “be 125 million per-cent back in 2025.”


2. CMC Rocks QLD

Country music isn’t just back, it’s hotter than ever and lassoing fans in countries that had, until now, defiantly resisted the genre’s allure (we’re looking at you, Great Britain). Established in the early 2000s, CMC Rocks has been rocking it since well before country music’s renaissance.

CMC Rocks QLD 2024 was another sell-out, shifting more than 23,000 tickets and featuring a lineup that included Grand Ole Opry 2024 inductee Lainey Wilson, plus Tyler Hubbard and Chris Young, Morgan Wade, Megan Moroney and Casey Barnes. The 2025 edition is locked in for Willowbank Raceway next March. “Another stellar lineup is already in the pipeline,” says legendary promoter Michael Chugg, whose Chugg Entertainment teams up on the event with Jeremy Dylan and Potts Entertainment, founded by his late friend Rob Potts, a tireless supporter of Australia’s country scene.

Stormzy performs at Laneway Brisbane

3. Laneway

From humble beginnings in Melbourne’s New Caledonian Lane, to legs around Australia, and as far afield as Singapore and Detroit, St Jerome’s Laneway Festival is the rarest of outdoor music events – a feast of cutting-edge, cooler-than-snow acts from here and around the globe, many of them at the tip of greatness. Consider, Billie Eilish played Laneway in 2018, as she took the express elevator to the top of pop music.

The most recent, trans-Tasman edition was its biggest yet, with more than 125,000 people entering its gates and featuring a lineup led by Stormzy, Dominic Fike, Steve Lacy and Raye. Co-founded by Danny Rogers and Jerome Borazio, and now part of TEG’s live entertainment portfolio, Laneway Festival will return in 2025 for its 20th year. “This Laneway Festival goes down in the history books as the biggest crowds we’ve ever had,” Rogers and Borazio said following the 2024 leg, which ran across two weeks and six cities. “We are truly grateful and inspired. Bring on 25.” TEG entered a partnership with Laneway in 2021.