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SUN’S OUT FUN’S OUT(SIDE): Your guide to the best outdoor shows this spring and summer

Ahh, it’s finally here. The spring and summer concert season.

After an oppressive winter, gig pigs everywhere start to shed their woolies and venture out into the sunlight, bleary-eyed and hopeful of some quality outdoor shows to help ease them out of hibernation.

Well, we are definitely spoiled for choice when it comes to sun-soaked gigs in the Hunter Region so here is a bit of a guide to some of the best fests and outdoor shows this spring and summer!

Dashville Skyline – Dashville

October 4 to October 6
Archie Roach | Wagons | William Crighton | Tami Neilson | Kill Devil Hills | Emily Wurramara | Kevin Bennett & The Flood | Fanny Lumsden | Amy Montgomery | Albi & The Wolves | Skyscraper Stan & the Commission Flats | Hannah Aldridge | Freya Josephine Hollick | The Andy Golledge Band | James Ellis and the Jealous Guys | Little Quirks | Heartbrokers | Dead Marines | The Weeping Willows | Gretta Ziller | Sean McMahon | Jackie Marshall | The Re-Mains | Steve Lane and the Autocrats | James Thomson | Archer & Kangaroos With Machine Guns | Ahlia Williams | Nicholas Connors | Leo Rondeau | Lincoln MacKinnon & the Wrecking Train | Magpie Diaries | M.E. Baird | Jen Mize | Paddy McHugh | Suicide Swans | David Garnham & the Reasons to Live | Jimmy Willing & The Real Gone Hick-Ups | Alana Jagt | Andy Abra & The Big River Band | Carl the Bartender | Dashville Does Tarantino (Dashville Progress Society)

Definitely THE definitive Cosmic Country Weekender going at the moment, Dashville Skyline is a veritable cornucopia of quality alt-country!

Running over the October long weekend, this year’s fest it literally STACKED with a brilliant bill of some of the best home-grown and o/s acts, lead, of course by the incomparable Archie Roach.

If you’ve never experienced a fest at Dashville before, you need to rectify that toot sweet and Skyline is the perfect introduction.

FKA Festival – Hope Estate

Saturday 19 October
Lineup: The Rubens | Safia | Allday | Lime Cordiale | The Chats | Eves Karydas| Elk Road| Rayn | Kilter | Yahtzel | Lo ’99 | Sippy | Tori Levett | Lex Deluxe| Keyes

This fest is kind of the new kid on the block, having had its debut in 2018 with a great lineup including Ali Barter, The Jungle Giants, British India and Newy’s own Grace Turner.

And this year’s iteration promises another glorious wine-tinged day and we just cant wait to see The Chats ripping into Pub Feed on the Hope Estate stage.

Lime Cordiale will also be one to watch. Having just signed a management deal with Post Malone and his manager Dre London, these Sydney-based pop-rockers are sure to be in full flight!

Wollombi at the Station

Saturday 26 October
Lineup: Tijuana Cartel | Highlife w/- Bassidi Kone | Minnie Marks | Minnie Marks | Dave Orr Band | The Ninth Chapter | Liam Gale and The Ponytails | Declan Kelly Trio | Hamilton Alpine Club | Diplazar | Georgie Jones

The 10th iteration of this popular fest may’ve sold out, but never fear because this year, it will be coming to you!

That’s right, organisers decided that if they couldn’t bring people to Wollombi they would just have to bring Wollombi to the people of Newcastle with a ‘condensed’ version of the festival.

With a healthy dose of local acts on the bill, the fest will also feature a great lineup of acts who have played Wollombi Music Festival over the years.

Bitter and Twisted – Maitland Gaol

Saturday 2 November/Sunday 3 November
Lineup: Custard | Boo Seeka | Burger Joint | Kookshill | Rubix Cuba | Bullhorn| Lili Crane | The High Boys | The Long Johns

A day of boutique beer, banging tunes and some of the best prison food going around? Yes, please!

One of the highlights, music-wise is sure to be Brisbane power-pop legends Custard, but it’s great to see such a strong local contingent, including Boo Seeka, Kookshill, Rubix Cuba and Lili Crane on the bill.

This That – Wickham Park

Saturday 9 November
Lineup: Alex the Astronaut | Alex Lahey | Ali Barter | Carmouflage Rose | Cxloe | Didirri | Enschway | Golden Features | Haiku Hands | Essie Holt | Jai Wolf | Lucille Croft | Hermitude | LDRU | Middle Kids | Meg Mac |Nghtmre | Northeast Party House | Peking Duk | Raave Tapes | Running Touch | San Mei | Thundamentals | Slumberjack

For the past five years now (wow, has it been that long?) This That has been serving up stellar lineups to Newy gig pigs.

After last year’s effort that included the ukes of Amy Shark, Allday and Broods, This That has hit it out of Wickam Park again for 2019.

Also, This That will kick off a massive festival weekend in Newcastle with the equally awesome Scene and Heard (see below) festival hitting the park the following day!

Scene and Heard – Wickham Park

Sunday 10 November
Lineup: Wolfmother | Dandy Warhols | Eskimo Joe | Sneaky Sound System| Magic Dirt | Jebediah | Alex Lloyd | Even | Potbelleez DJs | Andy Murphy | John Course

Just the thought of hearing Andrew Stockdale rip through Wolfmother’s Joker And The Theif or Woman at Wickham park is enough to have us yelling “shut up and take our money.”

But then you’ve got the super cool swagger of the Dandy Warhols, the rock Godessness of Magic Dirt’s Adalita, the sunny pop of Jebediah, the catchy AF dance-floor fillers of Sneaky Sound System… do we need to go on?

Nope, didn’t think so. Just get your ticket already!

Rob Thomas – Bimbadgen

Saturday 16 November
Lineup: Rob Thomas | Pete Murray | Daryl Braithwaite | Russell Morris

As frontman for rockers Matchbox 20 and with a solo career that has seen him notch up an impressive list of singles, there are few as bankable as Rob Thomas.

Last in our neck of the woods back in 2016, Rob will be bringing his latest slab Chip Tooth Smile this time around but will also rip through a set traversing his 30-year career.

To make things even more appealing, the day is somewhat a celebration of the singer/songwriter with Pete Murray, Daryl Braithwaite and Russell Morris joining the bill.

Grapevine Gathering – Roche Estate

Saturday 30 November
Lineup: Two Door Cinema Club | Flight Facilities | Crooked Colours | Mallrat| Jack River| Touch Sensitive | Late Nite Tough Guy | Kira Puru | Lovebirds | Big Words

Time to pop a bottle because Grapevine Gathering is back for 2019!

Last year’s awesome wine and music pairing fest featured the likes of The Wombats, Client Liason and Miami Horror and this one looks to be just as enticing with Two Door Cinema Club (pictured), Flight Facilities and Crooked Colours taking to the stage.

We’re also stoked to see one-time Novocastrian and current world-beater Kira Puru on the bill.

Elton John – Hope Estate

Saturday 11 January/Sunday 12 January 2020
Lineup: Elton John

The Rocketman himself will be in the Hunter for TWO shows this summer and you can rest easy knowing that Elton will pull out all the stops for his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour.

As a testament to the man’s love of performing, Elton will tick off a whopping 40 dates on his Oz run, putting many acts half his age to shame.

This show is an absolute must for all Hunter Valley Honky Cats

Red Hot Summer – Roche Estate

Saturday 15 February
Lineup: Hunters & Collectors | James Reyne | The Living End | The Angels | Baby Animals | Killing Heidi | Boom Crash Opera

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Yep, this celebration of all things Antipodean and rok and roll is shaping up to be another mammoth one.

Reading like a who’s who of Australian music there is something on this bill for even the fussiest Oz music fan.

A-ha + Rick Astley – Bimbadgen

Saturday 29 February
Lineup: a-ha | Rick Astley | Pseudo Echo | I Know Leopard

If you’re looking for a full day of ’80s pop frivolity, then this is definitely it.

Responsible for such pop powerhouses as Take On Me and The Sun Always Shines On TV played their first-ever shows in Oz back in ’86 so this trip will be a long-overdue reunion

Add to that UK prince of pop Rick Astley and his litany of hits (Never Gonna Give You Up, Together Forever et al), homegrown heroes Pseudo Echo and ’80s inspired Sydneysiders I Know Leopard and you’ve got yourself one heck of a pop extravaganza, sir!

Written by Newcastle Live

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