A seasoned festival promoter having worked for many years “for a commercial blues festival” Michael Carrucan has come down to help put together the fourteenth year of Queenscliff. The festival is unique in the way that it involves the entire community and township of the sleepy seaside village located on The Bellarine Peninsula overlooking Victoria’s Port Phillip Bay.
“The one thing that makes this event so amazing is the volunteers that the event attracts. We will have over five hundred volunteers during the festival, all wanting to do whatever they can to help run the event.” With the festival taking place on two main stages right in the heart of town, plus scattered throughout local restaurants, bars and cafes, there is always a chance to find something pleasing to the ear.
“This year I’ve tried to re-engage with younger festival goers and attract a more contemporary audience,” says Michael of this year’s bill. “We’ve got younger artists like Kate Miller-Heidke; Ash Grunwald; Little Red; and Washington and The Vasco Era mixed with artists like Mark Seymour; Colin Hay; John Williamson; and Vika and Linda Bull for the older crews such as myself, hahahaha.”
The inclusion of the Aussie institution John Williamson is one inclusion that Michael is most excited about. “It’s John’s fortieth year and if I get the chance to introduce him to a new audience, that’s great.” The other headliner is not a musical act but a musical game show in SBS, cult game show Rockwiz heading up Saturday’s proceedings. I asked Michael how the Rockwiz guys got involved. “Well after their theatre tour last year that was a sellout, one of the guys saw them up at Byron and was impressed with how interactive the show was. The audience got involved and it was a fun couple of hours.”
Aside from the established artists, the festival also runs its own young artist initiative called Foot-In-The-Door where each night young and upcoming talents can showcase their music to a larger audience. The FreeZA funded youth program is split into three categories of acoustic, blues and roots, and pop/rock with acts being judged and cash prizes awarded. “It’s a real stepping stone for some artists; take for example Holly Joyce, who was a contestant a few years ago and is coming back to play on the main stage this year.”
Offering such a wide array of musical acts at a time when the summer season is cluttered with music festivals, what makes Queenscliff so appealing is its community spirit and structure to cater for a wider audience. With ticket and accommodation packages available through the website, Queenscliff Music Festival is one well worth checking out.