2018 Fremantle Winter Music Festival Review

2018 Fremantle Winter Music Festival was staged 16 June. 2018 Fremantle Winter Music Festival was staged 16 June. Image © Cam Campbell

North Fremantle was alive with live music and festival goers at the annual RTRFM Fremantle Winter Music Festival (16 June).


Footpaths were busy, venues were full and the music was flowing, even the weather held out. The local music scene proving, yet again, the richness and diversity of original music being produced from Western Australia.

From a surprise performance by Stella Donnelly to musos standing atop drum kits, with an array of bands and venues to choose from it was one of those nights where festival goers grappled with choice; “we’d love to be everywhere tonight!” one festival goer exclaimed.

Mama Red and The Dark Blues opened the night at The Swan Hotel’s Basement, with powerful harmonies and a dash of sass. Known for their dark-country pop with gospel influences, they set the tone for the night with tunes such as 'A Game That Two Can Play' and 'Tried To Sell My Soul'.

Upstairs in the Lounge, Tanaya Harper was joined by surprise guest Stella Donnelly who recently returned from her 'Thrush Metal' UK-European tour. With both artists hailing from the band Bells Rapids, who’ll be playing a series of gigs across Perth during July, Tanaya performed solo before the duo performed several songs they’ve worked on together.

Known for her exploratory, honest, dreamy-pop sounds as a soloist, Tanaya, who is also a new member of Ghost Care, played tunes such as 'Sleep Talker' and her debut single 'Graceless' with Stella, who features on guitar from her soon to be released EP called 'Some Kinds', launching at Rhubarb Records 24 June and 1 July.

Winter Music Fest 2018Punters enjoy 2018 Fremantle Winter Music Festival - image © Cam Campbell

As both a soloist and duo, Tanaya had the crowd mesmerised with her beautifully intertwined vocals and acoustics. Stella, having written some of the melodies with Tanaya, brought beautiful vocal harmonies and an extra layer of lightness via the strings.

In stark contrast to her striking delivery as a guitarist for Boatshow, Kaitlin Keegan has been busy recording and performing solo having recently released her debut EP 'Sadisco'. Her silky smooth and strong voice unapologetically expressed childhood accounts of innocence and strength during her solo performance of 'Emma'.

She performed on a line-up that also featured Fox Scully, Jack Davies, The Psychotic Reactions and Trolley Boy. Kaitlin played her dreamy and infectious 'Hellesylt' with her band, and the rich sounds of 'Alto' that could easily be envisioned echoing across the grounds of a future festival.

New music included beautifully complex yet-to-be released songs 'Blush', 'Berlin' and 'On Your Side'.

The diverse range of music down at The Swan Hotel Basement kept the crowds jumping well into the night. Coincidently, Mister and Sunbird as well as MoreDidge Brothers both featured musicians from Italy.

Mister and Sunbird’s fast and funky ska and blues set featured soprano sax extraordinaire Furio Bigi, whose jaw-dropping speed and range added extra flavour to the already electric personalities on stage.

The group performed songs such as 'Bloody Mary' from 'Spirit Fingers', 'Blues For Lady Macbeth' from 'The Anatomy Of Mister And Sunbird' and 'Lush Like You' from the soundtrack of Australian director Josh Lawson’s feature film 'The Little Death'.

Frontman David Lawrence adding: “We’ve got a singing drummer and we’re not afraid to use him!”

The MoreDidge Brothers, featuring Italian didgeridoo player Fiorino Fiorini and fronted by Aiden Varro, gave an entertaining performance.

The didgeridoo, drum and dance acoustic roots music group performed songs such 'Let’s Dance' and 'Coming Or Going, closing with 'Meet You', where Aiden and drummer Tim Watkins took on a fast-paced race to the end of the song, Aiden standing atop the drum kit in deliverance.

The group, due to tour Europe during July, left the crowd wanting more.

At Mojos, Coin Banks closed the night with songs such as 'Hatches', 'Somewhere' and 'Superman', featuring another local Mei Swan. The packed crowd enjoyed the beats before slowly dispersing out into the street, still buzzing from the night’s events.

Also performing on the night were Cow Cablin and Mei Saraswati, Din Daa Daa DJs, Jane Jaya Ayres, Lana Rothnie and Recycled Rainbow DJs at The Guildhall. Wisdom2th, Hyclass, Kid Dingo, Baby Kool and the Bun Dem DJs at Mojos Bar.

Mystic Rebellion, Hugh Jennings, Emlyn Johnson, Tashi and Chip Hazard at The Swan Hotel Lounge. Little Pedro and Lightning Jack at The Swan Hotel Basement. Spacey Jane, Last Quokka, Davey Craddock, Hussy, Zerodent, The Spunloves, J.F.K. and Heavy Flow at The Railway Hotel and Port Beach Garden Bar.

There wasn’t an artist on the night who didn’t thank RTRFM and the venues for supporting local music. Festival goers agreeing, as the night ended, that it was again, a huge success.

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