Castlemaine State Festival reveals reveals contemporary music line-up

Castlemaine Festival JDFRA huge line-up of international, local and very local musicians will perform at the renowned Theatre Royal as part of the Castlemaine State Festival this March.

Making her Australian debut and coming all the way from Reykjavik to perform exclusively at the Festival is Jófríður Ákadóttir (AKA JFDR) – Iceland’s most wondrous export post Bjork. JFDR released her first album at the age of 14 in the band Pascal Pinon, forming Electro trio Samaris shortly after (Bjork is a fan) she launched her solo career in 2017 with the highly acclaimed debut Brazil.

Kicking off the Festival will be Castlemaine’s very own Puta Madre Brothers with their high speed gringo-garage rhythms and dirty Mexican grooves delivered in their inimitable and unutterable Spanglish.

Melbourne-based noise rock merchants, Tropical Fuck Storm – the spawn of Oz Rock titans, The Drones, will join the Festival party. Gareth Liddiard and Fi Kitschin have experienced an injection of fresh blood courtesy of new pals Erica Dunn (Harmony) and Lauren Hammel (High Tension) who have been inflicting their pysch-garage, sonic assault on audiences for nigh on a year now. Their debut album A Laughing Death in Meatspace is head and shoulders above almost everything released locally in 2018.

Taking the volume down a notch will be Laura Jean and her more sophisticated yet affecting brand of orchestral folk pop. Responsible for one of 2018’s key releases with her album Devotion, Laura Jean has recorded previously with The Drones yet her approach is less battering ram, more an artful, occasionally spooky intimacy.

Post-punk icon and ARIA Award winner Mick Harvey, founding member of The Birthday Party and 25 years’ service as Nick Cave’s lieutenant in The Bad Seeds, will also be joining the Festival performing a selection of Serge Gainsbourg songs with band and string quartet, having recently become engrossed in the prolific songwriter and musician’s back catalogue.

Acclaimed indigenous vocalist Emma Donovan and her hard hitting soul combo The Putbacks will have the old Theatre Royal shaking deep into the night. Donovan’s lyrical content, based on story-like narratives of personal experiences are all delivered with her richly textured, husky vocals. The Putbacks lay down grooves with roots in funk, soul, R&B and reggae. Stories for the heart with grooves for the hips.

Melbourne based intergalactic space groovers Mildlife are being beamed in to hit us with their unique brand of cosmic jazz-funk, post disco and krautrock. To complete the contemporary music program at the Festival will be Davo – Castlemaine’s greatest Devo cover band… Ever!

The 2019 Castlemaine State Festival takes place from 22 – 31 March. For more information, and complete program, visit: for details.

Image: JFDR (supplied)