Summer equals festivals, a simple maths equation all Australians know. If you plan to fill your summer by packing up the car and touring around the state, here are some regional festivals not too far from Sydney. They’re touting everything from craft beer to fruit picking, and, of course, the best in Australian music.
Where the hills meet the sea, the South Coast town of Berry is hosting a boutique festival to kick off the summer. Fairgrounds Festival is similar to a big state fair. It has entertainment, local artisanal food and drinks, field games and vinyl markets all on one day. The night before (Friday December 4) there will be a free outdoor cinema screening My Neighbor Totoro by Studio Ghibli and documentary Searching for Sugarman. The music line-up includes Meg Mac, Shining Bird, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Father John Misty. Camping is recommended.
When: Saturday December 5. Fairground’s Cinema Under the Stars opens at 5pm on Friday December 4.
Where: Berry, NSW
National Cherry Festival
With summer comes sweet juicy summer fruit such as peaches, mangoes and cherries. If you’re a fan of the crimson Christmastime fruit, take a drive to Young for a weekend all about them – they’ve been growing in the region for more than 150 years. Take part in a cherry-pip-spitting or pie-eating contest. There’s also markets and a festive street parade.
When: Friday December 4 until Sunday December 6
Where: Young, NSW
Tamworth Country Music Festival
Australia’s largest country music festival, and one of the top-10 country-music festivals in the world, happens over 10 days in Tamworth. The festival is packed with live music, great food and 4000 shows across 120 venues. Some of Australia’s most prominent country music talent, such as Lee Kernaghan, Kasey Chambers, Troy Cassar-Daley and The McClymonts, will roll into town to convert even the country-averse. The streets will also be lined with buskers trying to make it big.
When: Friday January 15 until Sunday January 24
Where: Tamworth, NSW
Festival of the Sun
Pack your tent for Festival of the Sun, one of Australia’s only BYO music festivals. It takes place in Port Macquarie over two days in December. The all-Australian line-up this year includes Alpine, Illy, British India, Thundamentals and The Delta Riggs, and a ticket cap of only 3000, will ensure a boutique, intimate atmosphere. fotsun.com
When: Saturday December 11 until Sunday December 12
Where: Sundowner Breakwall Tourist Park, Port Macquarie, NSW
Lost Feast at Lost Paradise Festival
Lost Feast’s tropical setting includes shipwrecks, lost treasure and deserted islands. UK chef Simon Sutcliffe’s fine-dining banquet includes spiced coconut gazpacho with lime foam, beetroot and goat’s cheese with textures of squash; Banana panna cotta with banana tuile, and mango Eton mess. Activities include abseiling, a mass skinny dip, yoga, massage and spa treatments.
When: Tuesday December 29 until Thursday December 31
Where: Glenworth Valley, Central Coast
Kosciuszko Craft Beer Festival
Craft beer is everywhere right now. It’s so popular, Mount Kosciuszko even has a craft-beer range. The Kosciuszko Craft Beer Festival is a free, one-day festival all about micro-brewed beers. There will be brewing demonstrations, home-brew and cheese matching masterclasses, live music and of course plenty of tasting opportunities, all set against the backdrop of the snowy mountains in full summer bloom.
When: Saturday December 9
Where: Thredbo Alpine Hotel, Thredbo, NSW
Secret Garden Festival
Spread over two magical days, Secret Garden is all about dancing to vivacious music, celebrating life and bright, bold and beautiful costumes. This year the festival has expanded to two days to add even more excitement to the festivities. Events this year include speed dating, disco with the drag queens of #CAMPQUEEN and of course the annual Secret Garden Olympics. The line up will be released soon, so keep an eye out.
When: Friday February 26- Saturday February 27
Where: A secret location 1.5 hours from Sydney.