SYN Reviews: Kyneton Music Festival

Billboard promoting the 2018 Kyneton Music Festival

Kyneton Music Festival

Friday 26th – Saturday 27th October 2018


Words and Images by Dana Hamilton


A slice of family-friendly fun just a stone’s throw from Melbourne

If you’ve ever been to a family jazz-in-the-park afternoon, that’s the vibe that Kyneton Music Festival gave off on Saturday afternoon. The festival, supported by Melbourne-based community radio station, Triple R, showcased a broad range of local and further-afield talent for both regional and metropolitan punters. It kicked off on the evening of the Friday the 26th of October at the Bluestone Theatre with bands including the funk vibes of the lyrically entertaining Mighty Duke & The Lords and the synth-rock sounds of Moonlover, the DIY project of Quang Dihn, former bassist of Melbourne’ own Little Red.

The festival rolled on to Saturday and this time, housed two stages. The daylight brought with it more of a family-friendly atmosphere in St Paul’s Park on Piper Street, whilst Major Tom’s bar provided a relatively childfree adult retreat. Later in the evening, the bar provided relief from the cold and heated up with some of the less G-rated acts. The downside: the small bar and venue’s courtyard adjoining the park reached capacity in the early afternoon and the entry lines remained relatively stagnant.

Emilee South performing on the main stage at 2018 Kyneton Music Festival

Emilee South performing on the main stage

St Paul’s Park included a raised-stage and picnic area, encircled by food trucks and merch stalls. This layout was highly functional and obviously well rehearsed, so it is little surprise that this event has arrived at its seventh turn around the sun. This space was patchworked with blankets and picnic rugs, camping chairs and toddlers. It really was an active, community event emanating what I can only describe as chaotic, happy hubbub. Not only that, but it seemed that half of the families in Kyneton had rocked up for a day of dancing, chinwagging and tree climbing.

The acts themselves were diverse in genre and demographic. The early afternoon showcased that country boot scooting of James Ellis & the Jealous Guys, Melbourne-base post-punk band Bench Press, a rock and soul fusion from Emilee South and the angelic lullabies of Amaya Laurcirica. Later in the evening, Western Australia’s Southern River Band was a crowd pleaser and Adalita was hotter than the stage lights.

However, the definite highlight was the electrifying dusk set by all-female, Sydney-based band Rackett. Their energy and punk-rock anthems were not only engaging enough to lift half the audience to their feet, but they really got into the spirit of the festival by modifying their lyrics to accommodate the little ears. It is fair to say that with a captivating performance for a crowd full of a less Spotify-savvy demographic, their CDs at the merch tent sold like hotcakes.

Taken at Kyneton Music Festival 2018

A young fan soaks up the atmosphere

Post-gig, many of the musicians joined the crowd to soak up the sun and drink in the atmosphere (and frothies), enhancing the community ambiance.

The sound quality, for such an open space, was commendable. The booming speakers reverberated off the gold rush-era glass shop-fronts on Piper Street and into the surrounding suburbs.

An unexpected satisfaction was how readily available parking was in the streets surrounding St Paul’s park (adult life, am I right?) which made heading out to grab a jacket from the boot as the sun set and the twenty-two degrees plummeted below ten, incredibly stress-free.

If you’re after a family-friendly community event just over an hour from Melbourne or a festival where you’ll never encounter a portaloo line, then Kyneton Music Festival should be your jam.


Pass provided by publicists

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