Byron Bay | The 5 Best Music Festivals of 2015

January 28, 2015 What's On In Byron Bay

From music, art and literacy through to sustainability and spirituality, Byron Bay and the surrounding area host some of Australia’s most popular festivals. Here’s our pick of the sell-out music festivals. Which ones can you tick off your been-to-list?

1. Bluesfest

Having celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2014, Bluesfest is not resting on its laurels in 2015 and has already announced scores of top class artists and acts for this year’s festival.

And it’s looking good. Festival Director Pete Noble stated in the most recent lineup announcement “We are now putting the final slatherings on the 2015 Bluesberry cake, with a few more surprises up our sleeve – this just may be our best serving yet.”

Alongside Lenny Kravitz, Paulo Nutini, Ben Howard and too many more to mention, this latest announcement adds 12 more acts to their 2015 offering: Hozier, The Waterboys, Switchfoot, Hunter Hayes, Fly My Pretties, Music Maker presents Vasti Jackson and Super Chikan, Diesel, Jeff Lang, Phil Wiggins & Dom Turner, Watussi, Nikki Hill and the Rumjacks.

With tickets to Bluesfest 2015 selling like hotcakes – or Bluesberry cake, if you like – it’s worth remembering that this is a BIG festival with hundreds of contemporary music performances that will satisfy the most eclectic of tastes.

When? Thu 2 Apr to Mon 6 Apr 2015
Where? Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, Byron Bay

2. Splendour in the Grass

Splendour in the Grass aren’t known for being shy when it comes to booking the world’s best known contemporary acts for their annual winter festival.

Although we don’t yet know the line-up for Splendour 2015, we can predict it will be pumping and full of chart topping acts. How so? Every year since their humble(r) beginnings in 2001, the Splendour team have ensured that world class talent gets flown in from all around the globe to grace Byron Bay with their offerings.

Splendour in the Grass is well established as one of Australia’s favourite music festivals, a loud, pulsing and busy, busy, busy three-day music fest. There are heaps of mainstream music acts who play across three main stages, a splattering of other event venues and the infamous Tipi Stage where electronic dance and trance DJs play to a constant crowd. Some local acts are also thrown into the lineup and a busking stage exists for those looking for more exposure.

In 2014 they refined the layout of their new site at North Byron Parklands to put on what has to have been the best Splendour yet. The natural amphitheatre, for example, was an absolute winner. Wherever you were in the bowl, you had a great experience.

With a capacity for 30,000 over the three-day festival, Splendour is big, bold and energetic. But be warned! Tickets sell out in record times. We’re talking minutes.

When? Fri 24 Jul to Mon 27 Jul 2015
Where? North Byron Parklands, Byron Shire

3. Boomerang Festival

Following a year’s break, Boomerang is back with promises of a unique festival lineup for 2015. In 2013 the festival featured 133 performances, workshops, gatherings and conversations on the site of the famous Bluesfest, Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm. More than just a music festival, Boomerang brings together dance, music, art and discussion in the context of a celebration of all indigenous culture.

Despite being a new and intimate addition to the Byron Bay festival scene, in September 2014 the official Boomerang Festival website announced that they had been named a Best New Event finalist in The Australian Event Awards. Talking about the 2013 festival, they stated:

“Boomerang fulfills a major cultural, economic and social gap by providing a vital platform that has a huge point of difference, showcasing major indigenous works, incorporating the ancient and contemporary, the spiritual and the aesthetic. Gurrumul, Ray Beadle, Airileke, Archie Roach, John Williamson, Quique Neira (Chile), Thelma Plum, Te Haa Aio (NZ) and David Bridie were just a few of the international artists and speakers that enthralled patrons over three beautiful days.”

Want to feel enriched and inspired during the October long weekend? Featuring famous indigenous artists such as Gurrumul and around 70 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clan groups within the performance lineup, Boomerang Festival is the place to spend a few beautiful days in Byron Bay.

When? Sat 3 Oct 2015 to Mon 5 Oct 2015
Where? Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm – Byron Bay

4. Mullum Music Festival

Truly a local event, Mullum Music Festival is based in and around the streets of Mullumbimby, a small town some 18km from Byron Bay and home to many previous residents of Byron Bay.

During the four-day festival you can expect to see over 120 performances within 12 different venues. Alongside paid entry events the festival also hosts free yoga and street concerts, theatre and circus events. And then there’s the Magic Bus, a free shuttle bus to get between venues. Colourful and convenient, we love it.

Even though November may seem a long way off, watch out for Early Bird Tickets, which go on sale to mailing list and social media subscribers in February and give you up to 35% off the usual price.

Part of the festival policy is that a third of the lineup has to be made up of local acts, making Mullum Music Festival a truly a local event. Who knows, you might even be present at the birth of new Australian superstar.

When? Thu 19 Nov to Sun 22 Nov 2015
Where? Mullumbimby, NSW

5. The Falls Music & Art Festival

Falls Festival originally started down in Victoria back in 1993 before giving birth to a sister festival in Marion Bay, Tasmania. Along came 2013 and Byron Bay Falls Festival. What the Byron version lacks in maturity, it makes up for in stature. 2014, for example, sold out.

Need convincing? Many acts go to all three festivals, meaning that some of the world’s leading musicians – including the likes of Alt-J, Asgeir, La Roux and Vance Joy in 2014 – get to be seen by the Aussie public.

It’s also a fun, flamboyant way to start the new year, particularly if you embrace the New Year’s Eve dress-up (which in 2014 was Deep Sea Disco).

Art, music, dancing and crowds of people keen to have a good time? Set in the same site as the popular Splendour in the Grass with it’s awesome amphitheatre stage? It can only be the start of a good year ahead.

When? Wed 30 Dec 2015 to Sun 3rd Jan 2016
Where? North Byron Parklands, Byron Shire