Live Review: Bad Friday Festival proves how vital local festivals are to the music industry

Marrickville was turned into a grungy experimental boombox as Bad Friday Festival rolled in. The annual event held each Easter Good Friday was celebrating its 10th anniversary with a killer line-up featuring The Avalanches, DMA’s, Jungle, DZ Deathrays and more. But, importantly in a time where the political climate of live music festivals is souring, the day proved how necessary showcases for smaller and local artists like Bad Friday are to the music scene.

With three stages on offer at the Railway Parade, there was a plethora of acts to catch. Kicking off the afternoon was Holiday Sidewinder on the Bad Friday Stage, dressed in a red metallic leotard customised with tassels and sequins by a Sydney designer. Her set was spontaneous, energetic and included moments of her lounging along the front bar of the mosh and singing in the pit below the stage.

Holiday Sidewinder

Across the laneway festival, Georgia June opened the Carla Flanagan Stage and Fox Forge II on The Smirnoff stage. However, the next act I managed to catch was Northern Beaches boys Lime Cordiale with their brassy bops. The sun was beaming down as the main stage packed out, with plenty of the band’s merch in sight – it’s safe to say this Cordiale crowd was concentrated with fans. Oli and Louis Leimbach and their band put on a heck of a performance that had punters singing along to hits such as “Temper Temper” and “Money”. We got to catch up with the boys after their set, so be sure to check out that interview, as we chat about their festival, The Squeeze, and their upcoming Europe tour.

Tropical Fuck Storm took to the stage, treating the audience to some psychedelic-art punk. It was definitely frenetic and a lot of fun. Alas, I left the set before the end to run across the festival to catch all-girl group Haiku Hands. Hailing from different artistic backgrounds, these women have come together to create an empowering and quite audience-driven set that had punters yelling lyrics like “You can be my man, bitch!” Claire, Bea, Mataya and Mei executed a well-choreographed performance of almost daggy (but definitely cool) dance moves and sustained a 110 per cent energy level. It was impressive! We got to catch up with them later in the evening to talk about the collective’s conception and what’s on the horizon for Haiku Hands – make sure to give it a watch!

Tropical Fuck Storm

Brissy band DZ Deathrays brought back the dance-punk on the main stage with their long hair flowing wildly around the stage as the sun set. But a major drawcard for the festival, The Jezabels, were a highlight of the evening. Having recently completed their first tour in two and a half years, it was a delight to see this band back in action (they also played last year’s festival)! Lead vocalist Hayley Mary donned a black trench coat and velvet hat, bringing a winter mood to the now-evening set. It was quite a sing-along for the crowd.

Unfortunately, I missed UK act Jungle while chatting with Haiku Hands but made it back to the Bad Friday stage for Newtowners DMA’s, who, as always, had a solid performance that the audience lapped up. Honestly, not much can be said for this band that hasn’t already been said before – an incredible light show, great tunes and even better live.


Wrapping up the night was a DJ set from The Avalanches – the perfect end to a hell of a day. If this event proved anything, it would be how vibrant and thriving the local music talent is around Sydney and Australia. I left feeling bittersweet; overwhelmingly impressed with the artistry on show but saddened by the festival debate that is threatening days such as this. Bad Friday Festival showed just how wonderful a local festival can be when excellent programming, reasonably-priced food and a well-equipped venue combine. Celebrating a decade of this festival, it would be a sore loss for Sydney’s music scene if the gates were to close for such a showcase.


Bad Friday Festival took place on Friday April 19 at Railway Parade in Marrickville, Sydney. All photos by Danny Hanssen.

Tait McGregor