A lot of festivals promise a similar thing – a “boutique” experience, a tight-knit community vibe – but it can be hard to find one that actually delivers. Rural Victorian festival Meadow, now in its seventh iteration, has steadily developed a devoted following over the past few years for its small, communal aesthetic and heart, and it’s not hard to see why.
Here are the ingredients we reckon have made Meadow Music Festival one of the best-kept secrets on the Aussie event map.
Since its humble beginnings, Meadow ticket allocations have grown modestly each year. This time around, only 1100 tickets will be sold, making for a distinctly homey atmosphere, and some pretty intimate performances as far as these things go.
There are other opportunities for unique festival experiences, too, such as the optional Saturday afternoon picnic. There are just 40 tickets sold, which gets you into a cosy garden party complete with bubbles, beers, oysters and other local fares. Count us in, please.
#2 Location, location, location
Taking place on a private farm in the stunning Otway Hinterlands, Meadow offers a lush escape from the grind that’s only 90 minutes away from Melbourne. The ruggedly gorgeous scrubland, with its “end-of-the-world type beauty”, is the perfect setting for parking yourself on the hill with a blanket and taking in a serene sundown set.
The intimate nature and limited ticket sales of Meadow means, chances are, you’ll be seeing some pretty familiar faces over the course of the weekend – festivalgoers in the past have described the three-day festival as akin to a big house party.
As such, rather than simply another countless punter through the gates, you feel like you’re a part of something special at Meadow, an experience shared by a lucky few with love and mutual respect and understanding for one another.
Plus, with food and drink fare largely sourced from the local area, and with a local band from the surrounding region kicking off proceedings, Bambra feels more like a home than a tourist destination.
By staying true to its roots, Meadow is able to put as much effort as possible into curating an event that feels truly individual – created with care, dedication, and a fierce community spirit embedded in its values.
True to these values, the festival has quietly announced that 20% of profits from 2020 ticket sales will be donated to Country Fire Authority (CFA) Victoria, a volunteer and community-based fire and emergency services organisation.
Meadow isn’t attempting to be the next big flashy fest – and rather than attempt to cater to the masses, it feels oriented around providing the kind of experience organisers would want to enjoy themselves.
This feels reflected in Meadow’s lineup, which feels curated with a whole lot of love. Reading over this year’s bill, with its focus on locally-sourced artists like Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Dyson Stringer Cloher as well as the newest member to the lineup Donny Benet, it’s clear that while other festivals may try and capitalize on whatever the latest trend is, Meadow are lovers of music in the purest sense. International acts like Philly power-punks Sheer Mag and NYC indie-pop project Frankie Cosmos are hand-picked from their respective DIY scenes, making them feel right at home amongst the homegrown lineup.
Ultimately, what all these elements add up to is an experience that recalls some of the great Aussie festivals’ halcyon days, before word spread and ticket allocations swelled. If you’ve been feeling a little burned out on the humongous, one size fits all festival grind, the antidote may be as simple as indulging in the Meadow experience – before it picks up traction a couple of years down the road and you miss out.
Final release tickets for this year’s Meadow Music Festival are on sale now and they’re moving fast – so get a wriggle on if you’re keen. Head here for all the details.
Meadow Music Festival
ROLLING BLACKOUTS COASTAL FEVER
DYSON STRINGER CLOHER
ELLE SHIMADA COLLECTIVE
CAITLIN HARNETT & THE PONY BOYS
MATT BOURKE & THE DELUSIONAL DRUNKS
Tickets: Official Website