The Eighty-Six Scores Theo Parish, Unknown T, Bez & More In Program Expansion

5 July 2023 | 12:05 pm | Ellie Robinson

The new Melbourne festival’s full line-up will be revealed later this month.

Unknown T

Unknown T (Source: Supplied)

More Built To Spill More Built To Spill

Ahead of the full program being unveiled later in July, The Eighty-Six – a new music and arts festival taking over the streets of Melbourne (Naarm) this October) – has added a new suite of events to its itinerary.

As hinted by its name, The Eighty-Six will be held across venues, theatres, record stores, bars, restaurants and bowls clubs that regularly present live music along the 86 tram route in Preston and Northcote. 

Already announced have been shows from the likes of Japanese band Otoboke Beaver – lovingly described as “the most intense shit you’ve ever seen” – as well as UK-based “psychedelic surf-disco safari combo” Los Bitchos and American indie-rock heroes Built To Spill. While all of their original dates have sold out, Otoboke Beaver and Los Bitchos have both added second shows to their rosters – the former scheduled for Tuesday October 24 at the Thornbury Theatre, and the latter for that Thursday (October 26) at the same venue – while tickets or Built To Spill’s third show are still flying out the gates.

New shows announced this morning (July 5) include the Australian debut for UK drill rapper Unknown T, who’s set to perform at the Croxton Bandroom on Thursday July 26. Also touring exclusively for The Eighty-Six are Ros Bandt and Ariel Kalma – uniting for “a night of sonic transportation” at the Northcote Uniting Church on Monday October 30 – post-punk icon Denis Bovell (performing at Bar 303 on Friday October 27) and an in-conversation session with the one and only Bez (of Happy Mondays fame) at the Thornbury Theatre on Monday October 23.

Rounding out the new announcement are a performance from Theo Parrish (Sunday October 29 at the Northcote Theatre) and a tribute to Graeme Thomas – renowned member of The Prestones and founder of both Preston Records and Preston Studios – by The Preston Records Revue, scheduled for Sunday October 29 at the Thornbury Bowls Club.

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The first announcement for The Eighty-Six arrived back in May, with the rest of the program slated to be shared later this month. In a statement shared upon the first drop, founder and artistic director Woody McDonald said: “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.”  

Steve Dimopoulos (Victoria’s minister for creative industries) added to the sentiment: “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.”

Also weighing in was Kat Theophanous, member for Northcote, who 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 further updates