When summer comes, it brings with it sunshine (hopefully), barbeques, holidays, overindulgence and many a local music festival. The festival calendar is never without drama and already, Megarampage – booked to take place at Etihad Stadium with an enormous skate ramp and the Wu-Tang Clan – has been cancelled. But there’s still a lengthy list on the festival calendar, that starts with Queenscliffe Music Festival in late November (with Little Birdy and The Original Wailers), and includes a reinstated Laneway Festival (now located on the hills of the Footscray Community Arts Centre).

Looking into December and beyond, here is Broadsheet’s preview of the best.

Meredith Music Festival
December 11–13, 2009

Aunty Meredith hosts what must be the most laid-back festival on Victoria’s calendar. The idea here is BYO: booze, bare feet, raincoats and gumboots (if last year is anything to go by) and a sense of adventure. Some even bring their own velour couches from which to sink their tinnies. If you get the combo right, you may find yourself a participant in the annual Meredith Gift: a foot race sans clothing. But Meredith is also all about good music and this year you can see Animal Collective, Jarvis Cocker, Sia, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, The Middle East, Akron/Family and Paul Kelly, plus much more.

Tickets are notoriously hard to come by, but if you can find one somewhere – anywhere – you won’t regret it. Animal Collective are playing a sideshow at the Forum on December 14th if you just can’t find a ticket to this great festival.

The Falls Festival
December 29, 2009–January 1, 2010

The Falls Festival is turning into one helluva New Year’s Eve tradition. Sweat, dirt, good vibes and even better tunes permeate farmland near Lorne on December 29 for three big days. There is a sister event at Marion Bay in Tasmania, but the artist line-up at Lorne is always longer, the crowd bigger and the days hotter. The line-up looks a bit like this: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Moby, Hilltop Hoods, Grizzly Bear, Rodrigo y Gabriela, The Temper Trap, Sarah Blasko and The View among many others. Park your car, pitch your tent and party on into a new decade – but leave your kids or younger siblings at home, because this year the festival has been made an 18+ event. If you missed out on a ticket to this sold-out event, you’ll find some sideshows worth your cash. Unfortunately Yeah Yeah Yeahs haven’t announced any dates, but Grizzly Bear play the Corner Hotel on January 4 and Rodrigo y Gabriela (who have our live vote) bring their heavy acoustic jamming to the Palais on January 5.

Pyramid Rock Festival
December 29, 2009–January 1, 2010

Pyramid is Phillip Island’s answer to The Falls Festival. Empire of the Sun, Cat Power, Tame Impala, The Fumes, The Cat Empire, Grinspoon and a host of other local and international acts are raring to make Phillip Island shake on New Year’s Eve. Two-day tickets are still available, so if you’re at a loss with New Year’s Eve plans, a music festival is a great way to celebrate much more than just ten seconds of countdown and a few minutes of fireworks. This is the only chance for Victorians to catch the stunning Cat Power, unless she decides to stay on and play a few sideshows… please, Cat?

Big Day Out
January 26, 2010

Sydney has two sold out BDO events, in what seems like the biggest year for the festival organisers yet. Melbourne’s one scheduled event is set to sizzle with the likes of Muse, Lily Allen, Groove Armada, Peaches, The Mars Volta, Dizzee Rascal, and Powderfinger. Rumours of a David Bowie appearance are still unsubstantiated, but the fingers remain crossed.

None of the main international acts has announced sideshows (yet), so if you’re without a ticket you might have a problem on your hands. If you have secured one, your biggest problem will be deciding who to circle in the top spot on the timetable – Groove Armada or Muse?

February 26, 2010

I have four words for you: Faith. No. More. Reunion. Add to that Jane’s Addiction, Trivium and Eagles of Death Metal (plus many more bands with angry names) and you have a metal- and punk-lover’s idea of heaven on grass. And if that sounds like too many ponytails, beards, black t-shirts and steel-capped boots for one day, Faith No More are playing a sideshow at Festival Hall the night before (February 25).

Future Music Festival
March 7, 2010

There’s more to the Future Music Festival than fluoro cotton and Ray Bans. The line-up says it all: The Prodigy, Franz Ferdinand, Booka Shade, David Guetta and Empire of the Sun riding high on the wave of their live debut. They are on a bit of a festival circuit, and early reports of Empire of the Sun’s stage shows promise a visual treat of costume, theatrics and your favourite ethereal dance-floor tunes. Scotland’s Franz Ferdinand always rock the crowd, and The Prodigy are, well… The Prodigy. What a way to spend the Labour Day weekend. The only labour you’ll experience will be muscling into the pit after a break at the bar. Tickets for the Melbourne show go on sale October 21.

Looking on through March 2010, keep your options open for a last-minute summer festival fix as Golden Plains (by the same peeps as Meredith, and in 2010 headlined by Pavement), Point Nepean (as an offshoot to Byron Bay’s Blues and Roots), Apollo Bay Music Festival and Port Fairy Folk Festival round out a great summer calendar.