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Fenn Wilson Takes Us Through His Personal History With Queenscliff Music Festival

20 November 2019 | 8:55 am | Fenn Wilson

Bellarine Peninsula local Fenn Wilson grew up right near Queenscliff Music Festival. After winning last year's Emerging Artist Grant, he'll return this year to launch his debut album at the festival. Here he pens us his personal history of the event, from attending as a youngster to eventually performing on the line-up.

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As a boy, I grew up predominately on the Bellarine Peninsula where Queenscliff Music Festival is held. With musicians for parents, my brother and I would often spend our summers and time away from school at music festivals, around the state and country, which gave us a unique view of the world, but also meant we were away from our friends and otherwise regular lives. That is until Queenscliff Music Festival came around and the two worlds collided. I remember being young, surrounded by friends and family alike, being able to come and go as we pleased, enjoying the food trucks, ferris wheel, and train station which harboured the famous Blues Train. It felt exciting having groups of our family friends staying with us. Each night we would return to the house after a day of running around for the kids and a day of playing and performing for the adults. 

The music would often continue back at home, out the front of the house, and within it kids would watch movies, play board games or wrestle on the fields of spare mattresses made up to accommodate those who were staying. 

Then we would wake up, make a big breakfast, and start it all over again. 

As I grew into adolescence and got a taste for my own independence, my friends and I would arrange to stay at one of our friend's houses and go to the festival seeking out the bands headlining that night. We'd pile into the throngs of people to catch a glimpse and be a part of the electricity in the big tents. I remember the year The Murlocs played, a young band for young people, and they felt like ours. Scores of teenagers filled the tent as we waited to see what was to come and they didn’t disappoint. They blew my mind and opened my eyes to how exciting a live show could be. That show, and that year of the festival, left a profound and lasting effect on me. 

Moving into young adulthood and my own pursuits as an emerging musician, I knew Queenscliff would call to me. I entered the Foot-In-The-Door competition in 2017, and debuted, performing under my own name, at the festival. 

It was in the Pavilion, a stage that many other budding musicians, including Tash Sultana and Didirri, had cut their teeth on before me. It felt like an accomplishment in and of itself to be up there. 

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Fenn Wilson @ Queenscliff Music Festival. Photo by Andrea Roberts.

Fast-forward a year and I was sitting on the pier at Eastern Beach with my girlfriend when I received a call from Wayne Jury letting me know that I was to receive the Emerging Artist Grant. I couldn’t believe it; a rush poured through me and my mind began to spin with the possibilities now available to me with the help of Queenscliff. I came home and told my father and mother and received exclaims of excitement. We all decided that I was to make an album, one I had wanted to make for years: Ghost Heroin. And now in 2019 I'll have the privilege to show it to everyone at the festival, no doubt playing during the days and returning home to continue playing music out the front of our family home.