Live Review: Canberra’s Gingerfest was a night of beer, punk music and great friends

After a week of downpour, the sky cleared over Canberra on Saturday ahead of what was looking to be an incredible festival, Gingerfest 2018. With the charity run group Remembering the Ginger Ninja and their great partnership with Yours and Owls, as well as 6 Picks Brewers, the day was excellently executed, with each act building on really great momentum for the day ahead, making the whole day fly past in a flurry of a celebration of an icon of Canberra’s music scene.

Acts and fans paid their respects and dedications constantly, with Gingerfest feeling like a true celebration of the late Nicholas Sofar-Schreiber, the titular Ginger Ninja.

The night grew across two stages to the final few acts to bring in the night. Hightime were an incredibly energetic collective, jumping across desks and and sound equipment and won over the crowd from early on. Despite being one of the final sets, ahead of other headliners, Jeff Rosenstock and Bodyjar, Hightime brought everyone back onto their feet, and got them excited for what was to come. Their brand of energetic and melodic punk greatly fit Gingerfest, the music of which is tinged with early 2000’s nostalgia and lots of the great punk fixtures that make us excited to still see Bodyjar on a festival line up in 2018 – they brought what a punk festival always needs, energy, energy, and a slight bit more of energy.

Jeff Rosenstock followed, and put on an incredible set – with a number of highlights from We Cool?, WORRY, and -POST that had the fans and festival-goers going absolutely ballistic. The opening beats of ‘Festival Song’ – one of Rosenstock’s most iconic songs – met with a flurry of beers thrown into the air paved the way for Jeff to go absolutely wild. He jumped into the crowd multiple times, ran through us with a saxophone to perform a solo on a table on the other side of the concert venue, and then just slipped off into the darkness of the Australian National University campus to have a breather at the end of the set.

From such hysteria and wildness to such a quiet exit was odd to watch – I bounded over with some friends to quickly grab Jeff for a chat and his adoration of our support was heartwarming, and really re-accentuated the passion he had exhibited in what was an absolutely heart-pelting set. He confirmed he won’t be in Australia for some time, which is unfortunate, but a sign that more great music is on the way.

Bodyjar came out to similar revelry. As icons from the childhoods of many Australian current-day punk fans, these skate-rock veterans put on an amazing set that brought back the all the nostalgia of ‘Not the Same’ and Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3. There was also some celebration for the fact that this iconic Australian band continues to support smaller community and charity festivals and events even after all these years. Their contribution was an excellent close to the night, acting as a conclusion to a great day and evening of music.

Overall, Gingerfest was an incredible experience for such a worthwhile and celebratory cause – definitely support Remembering the Ginger Ninja as they did an incredible job that was enjoyed by many.


Gingerfest was held at ANU in Canberra on 15th December 2018. For more details head HERE.