Talented young Surf Coast musicians will take to the FReeZA stage, as part of this year’s Aireys Inlet Music Festival, running 18 to 20 March.
Established in 2008, originally as the Aireys Inlet Open Mic Music Festival, the event is a major tourist drawcard featuring a surprise headliner every year with past performers including Tim Rogers, Tash Sultana, and Dan Sultan.
The FReeZA initiative, now in its fifth year at the festival, gives Surf Coast musicians the opportunity to showcase their talent, and will be the only stage running on Sunday.
Set at the Great Ocean Road Mini Golf, the stage will see around 10 young musicians perform from 11am until 4pm on Sunday 20 March to close out the program.
Mayor Libby Stapleton said it’s an exciting time for all of the emerging artists, from those performing two to three songs, to musicians with sets between 30 to 40 minutes.
“The FReeZA stage is a great initiative, and the opportunity to perform to large crowds in front of other musicians is really exciting for our young Surf Coast talent,” Cr Stapleton said.
“It’s a highlight of the FReeZA calendar, and a stage spot is highly sought after. It’s also an excellent opportunity for future event managers, with students from Lorne P-12 getting involved.”
As part of the festival, local students cover an array of important roles on the day, such as MC, photographer and stage manager.
Typically, the festival hosts nine stages over three days, with over 150 acts, culminating in a mystery performer on the Sunday afternoon.
For the first time, the mystery guest has been announced prior to the event, with Josh Teskey from the Teskey Brothers performing a day ahead of the usual program.
“With the majority of acts happening over Friday and Saturday, our young musos will have the festival’s sole attention on Sunday, which is really exciting for them,” Cr Stapleton said.
“After a difficult couple of years navigating the pandemic, I’m so happy that a fantastic festival like this can go ahead and create opportunities for future artists.”