Melbourne Receives New Music Festival The Eighty Six, Unveils First International Artist Announcement

16 May 2023 | 8:10 am | Mary Varvaris

The Eighty-Six is a music lovers' paradise.

Photo of Built To Spill, Makaya McCraven, Otoboke Beaver & Los B*tchos

Photo of Built To Spill, Makaya McCraven, Otoboke Beaver & Los B*tchos (Isabella Georgetti, Sulyiman, Mayumi Hirata & Crissy Fish)

More Built To Spill More Built To Spill

The Eighty-Six is a new music event that celebrates Melbourne, one of the most vibrant music cities in the world. From 23 – 31 October, the festival is hitting the 86 tram line across High Street, taking over music venues in Preston and Northcote.

While the full program is expected to land in the coming months, today, organisers share a snippet of what’s to come in the first international artist announcement.

The Eighty-Six isn’t just interested in the Northcote Social Club, the Croxton Bandroom, or the Thornbury Theatre – this October, the theatres, record stores, bars, restaurants and bowls clubs that regularly present music along the 86 tram route will be lit up by live music.

Collaborating with the small businesses at the heart of Melbourne’s quintessential late-night culture, The Eighty-Six is a music lovers' paradise. Here’s the first international artist announcement:



Otoboke Beaver (Japan) — Australian Premiere – 25 October, Thornbury Theatre 

Described as “the most intense sh*t you’ve ever seen” – experience the notoriously wild live band – Kyoto’s Ottoboke Beaver 

Presented in partnership with Handsome Tours

Makaya McCraven (USA) — Australian Premiere 25 October, The Croxton 

Makaya McCraven will perform as part of an Eighty-Six x Melbourne Int’l Jazz Festival collaboration. 

Presented in partnership with Melbourne International Jazz Festival

How Long Gone Live (USA) — Australian Exclusive 29 October, Thornbury Theatre  

A live show for the American podcast “everyone wants to be on” – How Long Gone will spend a few days on The Eighty-Six – including a night at the Thornbury Theatre. Their only Australian experience will be on High Street for The Eighty-Six. 

Presented in partnership with Penny Drop & Frontier Touring

Los Bitchos (USA) — Australian Premiere – 25 October, Shotkickers 

“I wanted to sound like Van Halen and Cocteau Twins – but from Turkey,” the London psychedelic surf-disco safari combo Los Bitchos said in a statement. That’s one irresistible combo.

Presented in partnership with Handsome Tours

Connie Constance (UK) — Australian Premiere – 23 October, Northcote Social Club 

Connie Constance is a rising star of British music. Surely the only artist to collaborate with both Sleaford Mods and Swedish House Mafia?

Presented in partnership with Handsome Tours

Built to Spill (USA) — Three-Night-Residency – 24, 25 & 26 October, Northcote Social Club  

Indie rock heroes Built to Spill will perform a three-night Northcote Social Club residency in what could be their most intimate shows in years. 

Presented in partnership with Feel Presents

The Eighty-Six Founder & Artistic Director, Woody McDonald, said in a statement, “The Eighty-Six is designed to create ideal conditions for music to thrive and be valued – today’s announcement focused on internationals, this is a taste of what is to come. We are excited to share the full program, including a truly epic celebration of our local music ecosystem.”  

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The Minister for Creative Industries Steve Dimopoulos added, “Victoria is Australia’s home of live music and we are bringing the best international and local acts to Northcote for this one-of-a-kind music festival to showcase what we do best,” while Member for Northcote Kat Theophanous said, “There is nowhere else on earth that could host a festival like The Eighty-Six.

“With so many amazing venues, set to host an array of artists and events, this festival will showcase Northcote’s live music scene like never before.”

Sign up to The Eighty Six’s website for updates. Tickets for Makaya McCraven are on sale now, while the rest of the shows go on sale on Thursday.