Australia's Best Festivals

Parklife [National]

Another festival nurtured in Sydney and then unleashed on a national scale, Parklife is the centrepiece of the year for veteran events company Fuzzy. “In terms of how we perceive Parklife, we’re always trying to pick musical trends,” co-founder Ming Gan told inthemix. “Not what has happened in the last six months, but what will happen in the next six.”

With that trendsetting in mind, the Parklife line-ups dart all around the danceable spectrum, with Darwin Deez, Delorean and Memory Tapes building the buzz in 2010. That’s not to say there isn’t room for proven festival experts though – and Soulwax, Groove Armada, Tiga and 2manydjs are just some of the acts who can call themselves Parklife pros.

Peats Ridge Festival [New South Wales]

For those savvy enough to escape the city over New Years, a road-trip to the lush Glenworth Valley for Peats Ridge Festival reaps rewards. ‘Friendly’ and ‘relaxed’ are the key words for this three-day romp in the natural splendour of the Australian wilderness. Peats Ridge has also led the way on festival sustainability, adding up to a holistic experience where music is just one part. 2011 was ushered in by Trentemoller, Freq Nasty and The Freestylers, so those who come to dance aren’t left wanting.

Playground Weekender [New South Wales]

Set on the idyllic banks of the Hawkesbury River just a short drive from Sydney, Playground Weekender is its own world. With four days to really ease into the experience, it’s as far from the manic ten-hour marathons that dominate the festival landscape. The camp-site is lush and green, there’s plenty of grass to lounge on, Saturday is fancy dress day (which tends to carry on until Sunday for many) and, of course, the music is tailored to the Playground experience. Once you step off the ferry, you won’t want to leave.

Pyramid Rock Festival [Victoria]

Despite that glaring word in its name, Pyramid Rock Festival is not a dance-free-zone. Stretched across New Years in the picturesque setting of Phillip Island, the line-up is always well-balanced between indie, rock, hip hop and late-night party business. The crowd, too, is never less than up-for-it. Helping see in 2011 was N*E*R*D, Chromeo, Trentemoller, Yuksek, Arrested Development, Midnight Juggernauts and Aeroplane – not a bad spread for a ‘Rock’ festival.

Shine On Festival [Victoria]

Dreamt up by the people behind the fabled Rainbow Serpent Festival, Shine On is a new three-day gathering in the Pyrenees Ranges in Western Victoria. With a considered, boutique line-up of funk, soul and electronica made for dancing under the stars to, it’s sure to grow in stature in years to come. 2010’s headliners included Fat Freddy’s Drop, Blue King Brown and Minilogue.