Valley Fiesta 2021: 150 Bands Across 3 Nights – Festival Ambassador Ian Haug Gives Us The Lowdown

Published in Music  
Top to Bottom L-R: Beddy Rays, Saint Lane, Jesswar, VOIID Top to Bottom L-R: Beddy Rays, Saint Lane, Jesswar, VOIID

Set to take place across 3 days at 21 Fortitude Valley (Brisbane) venues hosting more than 150 artists and bands, this year's Valley Fiesta (28-30 October) will be a massive celebration of live music as well as an opportunity to support the local music industry that continues to do it tough.

With the mantra of 'it's all fiesta, no siesta', the stacked line-up features a host of local and emerging names alongside a boatload of established acts like Beddy Rays, Butterfingers, Carmouflage Rose, DZ Deathrays (DJ set), Hope D, Jack Davies and The Bush Chooks, Jesswar, King Stingray, Saint Lane and VOIID.

"I've been to nearly every Valley Fiesta over the last 24 years," admits Valley Fiesta Ambassador and Powderfinger guitarist Ian Haug, "and every year is wildly different.

"The venues are varied, the bands are diverse and the Brisbane audiences are excitable. What could go wrong? I love the music scene in the Valley."

With an honour roll that includes international stars like Flume, Alison Wonderland, Cub Sport, The Preatures, Hayden James and Dune Rats, Valley Fiesta is the ultimate landing spot to find your next favourite band.

This year, we suggest: Being Jane Lane, Blonde on Blonde, Blussh, Buttered, Chelsea Drive, Chukale, DVNA, Ella Fence, Feelsclub, First Beige (DJ set), Flamingo Blonde, Halfway, Nerve, Nice Biscuit, Nicole McKinney, Oh Bailey, Radolescent, Sametime, Selfish Sons, Shifting Sands, SixFtHick, TOWNS and Wharves.

We check in with Ian Haug to discuss the 2021 festival and its significance to Brisbane's cultural landscape.

The collective need we have as a community to come together and celebrate culture has been proven the past 18 months; the party atmosphere at this year's Valley Fiesta is going to be epic; how ready is Brisbane to have a mega party with a host of talented musos?
[Ian] I feel that while Brisbane hasn't had it as hard as the southern states in terms of lockdowns, it has been even more infuriating to see other public and sporting events permitted while the arts once again have generally been sidelined and not supported.

Audiences in Brisbane have had a couple of tastes what it's like to be able to get out and support the local artists that they do; and this is going to be a culmination of that.

The 150 artists-bands performing at 21 Fortitude Valley venues across 3 nights; surely there is something on the Valley Fiesta programme to appease every type of music fan?
Yes that's right. And it's pretty much all home-grown too.

Due to the uncertainty with border restrictions the roster on the programme had to be primarily SE QLD based. Luckily there is such a healthy pool of talent, this isn't a difficult proposition. There are a couple of exceptions, but the talent runs deep in Brisbane.

The Friday edition of Valley Fiesta is also the special public holiday created to replace the Royal Queensland Show holiday; that's yet another excellent reason to be part of the action for all three days, right?
Yep! Replace eating a Dagwood Dog with watching Beddy Rays or going to sideshow alley with watching VOIID.

The likelihood of finding your new favourite band is also pretty high if you attend Valley Fiesta; who are some of the emerging acts who have caught your attention who are playing the 2021 festival?
If VOIID, Beddy Rays, King Stingray or Nice Biscuit don't get the blood flowing, then you better check your pulse.

What makes the Valley such a fertile place for bands and artists to not only play, but also socialise together to create that community feel that's so unique to Brisbane?
The Valley Entertainment district is one of only a handful of such sensible planning zones in the world.

People can easily go between three or more venues on any given night on foot to see different artists. Bands can see other artists after they play themselves. Everyone's in it together.

Your own experiences at Valley Fiesta over the years; what memorable times can you share with our readers?
Probably the most full-on experience was when there was a stage in Warner Street and 20,000 people had turned up to watch Butterfingers and a lot of other bands.

A lot of people were watching from the walkway going to the carpark; and then someone noticed it 'flexing'. Everyone had to get off the walkway. . . and the show went on!

Looking at your own music, have you been working on any new music either solo or with a group?
I've just finished making a full length LP with my new 'old' band The Predators. A single is out now, and the album is due out very soon.

Over at Airlock Studios; who have you been working with this year; what albums are in the works that we need to know about?
Screamfeeder did an album here recently which from what I heard was sounding fantastic. We've had everything from The Chats to King Stingray to the Concrete Surfers and beyond here doing their thing.

We completed a double album for Shag Rock, a mini album for CC McKenzie, The Bluebottles, and we've got VOIID coming back in soon.

Some fun questions: What's the one chore you dislike the most?
I'm really not a fan of cleaning out the kitty litterbox.

Do you have any phobias? The obvious one would be sharks. I don't think I need to explain how scary they are. . . and I like swimming and surfing in their turf, so it's unavoidable.

Would you ever partake in a reality show? Perhaps if it involved diving in a shark cage?

Last show you binge-watched? 'The Queens Gambit'. Fascinating actress and storyline; and I loved all the architecture. Particularly the locations that they chose in Russia and Mexico.

Thanks for your time Ian; anything else you'd like to add?
Thanks for the opportunity. See you at the Fiesta. I can't wait!

Valley Fiesta runs at various Fortitude Valley (Brisbane) venues 28-30 October.



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