Surf Coast musicians ready for festival

Joe Camilleri and The Black Sorrows playing at the 2021 festival. (Supplied) 272931_01

Ash Bolt

Talented young Surf Coast musicians will take to the FReeZA stage as part of this year’s Aireys Inlet Music Festival this weekend.

Established in 2008 as the Aireys Inlet Open Mic Music Festival, the event is a tourist drawcard for the region and features a surprise headliner every year, with past performers including Tim Rogers, Tash Sultana, and Dan Sultan.

The FReeZA initiative, now in its fifth year at the festival, gives Surf Coast musicians the opportunity to showcase their talent, and will be the only stage running on Sunday, March 20.

Set at the Great Ocean Road Mini Golf, the stage will see around 10 young musicians perform from 11am until 4pm to close out the program.

Mayor Libby Stapleton said it was an exciting opportunity for all of the emerging artists involved, from those performing two or three songs to musicians with 40-minute sets.

“The FReeZA stage is a great initiative, and the opportunity to perform to large crowds in front of other musicians is really exciting for our young Surf Coast talent,” Cr Stapleton said.

“It’s a highlight of the FReeZA calendar, and a stage spot is highly sought after. It’s also an excellent opportunity for future event managers, with students from Lorne P-12 getting involved.”

As part of the three-day festival from March 18 to 20, local students cover an array of important roles on the day, such as MC, photographer and stage manager.

Typically, the festival hosts nine stages over three days, with over 150 acts, culminating in a mystery performer on the Sunday afternoon.

For the first time, the mystery guest has been announced prior to the event, with Josh Teskey from the Teskey Brothers performing a day ahead of the usual program.

“With the majority of acts happening over Friday and Saturday, our young musos will have the festival’s sole attention on Sunday, which is really exciting for them,” Cr Stapleton said.

“After a difficult couple of years navigating the pandemic, I’m so happy that a fantastic festival like this can go ahead and create opportunities for future artists.”