After a successful premiere instalment in 2019, Queensland’s Holy Green festival moves to a new home this year. The Eatons Hill Hotel’s capacious outdoor parklands will host a lineup of local and international acts on the January public holiday weekend.
The lineup covers a range of indie wunderkinds and pop crossover performers. UK pop rockers Bastille lead the charge, but the collection of Australian artists on the program is just as compelling.
Along with knowing how to throw a massive party, the festival organisers are acutely conscious of the ongoing devastation bushfires are causing around the country. In response, they’re donating 50% of ticket sales to bushfire-affected communities from now up until the day of the festival.
If that’s not enough to convince you to grab a ticket, here’s a closer look at five must-see names on the Holy Green lineup.
The Jungle Giants
The Jungle Giants were fresh out of high school when they started turning heads with their debut single ‘Mr. Polite’ in 2011. But even back then the Brisbane quartet could hold their own among the country’s crowded indie-guitar field. The band’s sound has modulated with the times across the two EPs and three albums that have followed.
The Jungle Giants’ latest LP, Quiet Ferocity, still features the twin guitars of Sam Hales and Cesira Aitken, but the spiky riffs and indie pop jangle of their earlier efforts aren’t as prominent. Songs like ‘Bad Dream’ exemplify the evolution of Hales’ songwriting, placing greater emphasis on dynamic subtleties and electronic embellishments.
The band’s latest single, 2019’s ‘Heavy Hearted’, takes the stylistic shift even further. In a manner akin to Bloc Party circa ‘One More Chance’, the Hales-produced track proudly aligns itself with indie house music.
Ever since ‘Roll Up Your Sleeves’ came out in 2014, Meg Mac’s been making audiences swoon with her vocal intention and penchant for a soaring chorus. These qualities were apparent on the follow-up single ‘Never Be’ and across 2017’s debut LP, Low Blows.
Mac’s 2019 mini-LP Hope included some stylistic experimentation that signals where the Sydney-born musician might venture in the new decade. She teamed up with ‘Never Be’ producer M-Phazes on ‘Something Tells Me’, but it’s the collaborations with producer Myles Wootton that really gestured towards a new world of sounds.
This is most apparent on the mini LP’s title track, which introduces synthesisers, electronic drum programming and vocal processing. The song’s psychedelic R&B vibe tips its hat to the likes of Tame Impala and James Blake’s Assume Form. Mac has indicated new music is already in the works, which could mean the inclusion of unreleased tracks at Holy Green.
The top ten of Billboard’s hot rock songs of the decade chart is entirely populated by American acts. The first non-Americans to appear in the list are Bastille, whose 2013 single ‘Pompeii’ made it to no. 11.
The British band formed in 2010, initially as an outlet for frontman Dan Smith’s melodic pop rock tendencies. Their 2011 EP, Laura Palmer, caught the attention of Virgin Records, who soon handed the band a multi-album deal.
A number of singles emerged in the lead-up to 2013’s Bad Blood LP. The fourth of these was ‘Pompeii’, which catapulted the band into the UK, US and ARIA top ten and onto prime time TV programs such as The Jonathan Ross Show.
Consecutive top ten albums have followed – 2016’s Wild World and 2019’s Doom Days – as well as the monster single ‘Happier’, a collaboration with EDM producer Marshmallo.
It should be clear by now that not only is Bastille’s Holy Green headline slot a hell of a coup, but it’s going to be an all-out hit fest.
In late 2017 Adrian Eagle released the song ’17 Again’, which details the personal suffering he endured while growing up in Adelaide. In verse two he sings the line, “Hoods as Hilltop, young mixed race baby,” a not-so-subtle nod to Adelaide’s biggest hip hop export.
12 months later, not only had ’17 Again’ become a surprise triple j hit, but Eagle (who was born Adrian Naidu) was onstage at the ARIAs accepting an award for his contribution to the Hilltop Hoods’ track, ‘Clark Griswold’.
Everything about Eagle’s trajectory over the past few years smacks of overnight sensation, but it’s an inaccurate perception. The singer spent years battling inner demons before he eventually uploaded a cover of Bob Marley’s ‘Redemption Song’ to YouTube in 2015. It soon went viral and emboldened Naidu to share his intimately personal songwriting.
Adrian Eagle’s debut EP, MAMA, finally landed in late 2019, which pays homage to the strong women who’ve helped him along the way.
Winston Surfshirt’s ‘Be About You’ has become near-ubiquitous over the last three years. If they’re not spinning it on triple j, you’re still likely to hear it blaring from passing cars or pumping through café and bar sound systems. This pervasiveness is down to how aptly the song synthesises various characteristics of the past half-decade of popular music.
Frontman Brett Ramson sings in a tone that’s at once soulful and unflustered. The arrangement fuses neo-soul and funk grooves with a post-To Pimp A Butterfly hip hop flavour. And the whole thing carries a by-the-beach breeziness.
The song featured on the Sydney band’s 2017 LP, Sponge Cake. They returned last year with album number two, Apple Crumble, which continues to display their capacity for tidy stylistic integration.
You can catch these acts and many more on the on the Holy Green line up. Don’t miss out! Hop onto moshtix to grab your tickets now.