Handpicked interstate headliners and the cream of Adelaide’s alternative scene will perform across two stages when DIY festival Swirl Fest returns in February.
From A Day Of Clarity to Porchland, Adelaide has enjoyed a bountiful calendar of locally run, independent music festivals in recent years. As an artist run record label in the proud tradition of Greasy Pop, Swirl Records and its annual Swirl Fest, has been a major contributor, tapping into a burgeoning movement of young South Australian acts with a shared love of DIY ethics and effects pedals (and, it must be noted, slipping references to ‘goon’ into band and song titles). Notable acts have included psychedelic trio Druid Fluids and 90s revivalists SIAMESE whose frontman Tom Matheson is among Swirl Records’ co-founders.
“Never ever did we think that the community would rally behind us the way they have, so it’s really encouraging to have that support,” Matheson says of label’s growth over the past three years.
The advent of digital platforms may have made the means of releasing music more accessible than ever, but labels like Swirl still serve an important role in connecting artists to audiences, and helping a scene gain momentum. “Practically, we are just the middleman – trying to give a bit of hype to the music and reach an audience that maybe the band didn’t have access to,” he says. “Ideally this year, thanks to the support we’ve gotten over the past year, we are able to delve into the vinyl idea as well as getting PR involved for releases.”
Curated live shows have always been baked into the label’s DNA, with the annual Swirl Fest joined by a variety of one-off festivals and monthly shows giving a platform to local acts and building connections to the wider Australian scene. “It’s important because it allows our community to celebrate everything that we stand for, and it’s a great way to tie up the year with all the bands we’ve been involved with and love,” he says. “With bands, I think it’s important that we bring some bands from other places here. As many Adelaidians know, we are sometimes left out of band’s tours since the scene can be inconsistent. It’s also vital to showcase the local acts here since our main target is to show the best of Adelaide.”
Co-headlining the label’s 2019 festival are Perth alt rock group Foam, along with Baby Blue, the fuzzy 60s pop project of Melbourne songwriter Rhea Caldwell. They are joined by a deep lineup of hometown talent showcasing both the Swirl roster and the wider scene, from the bush rock of Dead Roo and David Blumberg and the Maraby Band to the punk intensity of colourblind and SIAMESE, who will perform for the last time at the festival.
Relocating from the city’s west to the east following the closure of previous venue the Edinburgh Castle, this year’s festival will make use of neighbouring venues the Crown & Anchor Hotel and Chateau Apollo.
Swirl Fest 2019 lineup
Baby Blue (Vic)
David Blumberg & The Maraby Band
Ricky Albreck & The Belair Line Band
Oscar The Wild
Swirl Fest 2019
Saturday, February 2
Crown & Anchor and Chateau Apollo
Baby Blue / Al Parkinson