Bringing Diverse Music (And A Fake Beach) To The Coasts

1 December 2015 | 2:44 pm | Stephanie Liew

"It's a car park one minute, next minute it's a giant beach!"

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"We have venues all over the country," begins Prout. According to their website, 328 venues nationwide fall under the ALH Group banner. "Live music is an important part of our product offer, to our customers, and my office, my team, we're responsible for picking up touring acts of all kinds of genres... Two bands that are going through our pubs won awards last night at the ARIAs, so we're picking out and booking some of the creme of the crop of Australian music.

"But outside that, because of the location of our pubs, we're also really well placed to be able to pick up and curate outdoor events, in the precincts around our hotels. We also pride ourselves on doing some good street parties and utilising the space around our pubs."

"We believe we're curating a festival that is not a just a token line-up... every band's great here."

That brings us to the topic at hand: outdoor festival Ozfest. Started in 2014, Ozfest next year will be held over the Australia Day weekend, at Gold Coast's Miami Tavern on 23 Jan and Maroochydore's Waterfront Hotel on the Sunshine Coast on 24 Jan. The line-up so far features Seth Sentry, who picked up the gong for Best Urban Album at the ARIAs last week, festival faves San Cisco and Saskwatch, and this year's Unearthed J Award winner, Tired Lion, with a few more exciting acts soon to be announced.

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"We try and make sure the line-up is a diverse line-up that can really appeal to a whole lot of fans in the area. We wanna deliver a really quality line-up that's pretty not that usual. You wouldn't sort of just wander down the road and catch those bands in one place for a day. We believe we're curating a festival that is not a just a token line-up... every band's great here," says Prout.

With earlybird tickets at just $59, and pre-sale/general tickets not much more, Prout also reiterates that it was important for ALH to make sure Ozfest was as financially accessible for their audience as possible. It's also geographically accessible, says Prout, with Brisbanites being able to travel north to the Sunshine Coast or south to the Gold Coast, and of course for the locals of these areas, the fest is just a walk, drive or train or bus ride away. The bands who've played at Ozfest in the past have also expressed delight in how intimate and local the vibe is. "The size of these events allows the bands to get close to their fans; they're not playing to a whole hillside of people which they can't see, they're playing to a nice, immediate crowd, which is good-sized, but I think it's nice and up close for the fans and the band as well."

It's not just about the music, though — Ozfest is going to deliver a well rounded experience. They're going as far as creating a beach at each site: "We dump about 90 tonnes of sand into the location… It's a car park one minute, next minute it's a giant beach! There's gonna be good food, interesting things to do, a bit of fun. It's a classic little festival vibe."