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The Brunswick Music Festival begins this weekend, showcasing some of Melbourne’s best local art and music, as well as hosting an impressive range of international acts. The annual festival is a crazy blend of music, art and performance each and every year.

Festival director Natalie Lidgerwood says this year’s festival was curated under the direction that “all music should be music you want to dance to” and that Brunswick is the perfect multicultural and diverse environment for a festival like this.

“There’s such an amazing collection of artists living there and just recently it was said to have the highest concentration of solo artists in Australia – so it seems somewhat appropriate to have the festival there and to celebrate it with music.”

Here are her top five picks from the festival:

1. Sydney Road Street Party – March 1
A winner every year, the Sydney Road Street Party shuts down Sydney road and the 19 tram line to celebrate the cultural diversity and bohemian culture that was born and bred in Brunswick. A day of food, art, music and general craziness, suburb snobbery falls to the wayside as thousands of people from all over the North, East, South and West suburbs of Melbourne come to enjoy the completely free neighbourhood party. This year there will be over sixteen local and international musicians, including party brass band Horns of Leroy and the Burundian Drummer Group. If you like your food trucks, craft stalls and art exhibitions all in the one place, then head down to Sydney Rd this weekend. As Lidgerwood says, “if you’re going to put that much effort into closing a road then you might as well have a pretty good party”.

2. Archie Roach with Radical Son – March 15
Archie Roach, a powerful voice for indigenous Australians and one of the country’s greatest musical storytellers, is playing two shows during the festival. Roach was heartbreakingly taken away from his family as a part of the Stolen Generation of Aboriginal children, and his delicate and inspiring music chronicles his journeys through alcoholism to homelessness to a successful music career. Lidgerwood says that Roach’s gig at CERES Environment Park is the one you don’t want to miss. “I think that’s just the right place to hear an indigenous voice, outdoors and celebrated while sitting on the earth.”

3. Melbourne Rhythm Project/Jazz Party– March 6
This double bill night has The Melbourne Rhythm Project performing at 8pm and Jazz Party on at 10pm at the Brunswick Town Hall. The Melbourne Rhythm Project are an award winning ensemble featuring a jazz band and a modern, swing dancing, tap dancing dance company. Jazz Party have played the Dark MoFo festival in Tasmania and were featured at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. According to Lidgerwood they’re a bunch of “local renegade jazz artists who love to play in dark corners and are members of many bands.” Not a night to be missed.

4. Grand Salvo – March 14
Grand Salvo, local Melbourne musician and composer, is one of those rare musicians that can make a connection with just about anyone. His soft, soulful music chronicles love and loss, and is filled with references to the Australian environment. He’s got a whole bunch of his talented friends together and created an orchestra whose sound will surely echo within the beautiful acoustics of Brunswick’s Christ Church. “Whilst we’re not all one to set foot in a church, when you see him take over this space it’s really like a journey of music – it’s joyful but it also explores a kind of decay and transformation, it’s quite hypnotic.”

5. Soley – March 10
Soley is an Icelandic artist playing the Howler in Brunswick. Inspired by Scandinavian artists like Sigur Rós, she makes enchanting indie pop and wows her audiences with shimmering vocals, hypnotic sounds and charismatic storytelling. “She has really a quite unique energy and she’s a great storyteller on stage. It’s always nice to get more from your artists than just the songs.”

The Brunswick Music Festival runs from 1-15 of March. Visit http://www.brunswickmusicfestival.com.au/program-2015.htm for tickets and information.

Tags : Archie RoachBrunswick Music FestivalGrand SalvoMelbourne Rhythm ProjectMusicSoley
Kelly Pigram

The author Kelly Pigram

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