The future is female, it always has been. There are so many incredible women in music who have paved the way for the powerhouses we see topping the charts now, and Wildflower is a festival that celebrates everyone coming together. With an incredible line up boasting some of Australia’s most cherished female identifying artists like Missy Higgins, Kasey Chambers, Kate Miller-Heidke and Sarah Blasko, as well as rising newcomers Alice Skye and Caitlyn Shadbolt, they provided a perfect Autumn afternoon and evening in Brisbane of heartwarming vibes, big smiles, and special singalong’s.
Sarah Blasko is one of Australia’s most theatrical storytellers and as she walked out onto the Riverstage she instantly commanded the audiences attention. She is currently on the road for her ‘As Day Follows Night Anniversary Tour’, so she brought a bit of that reminiscing magic to the stage as she opened with ‘Down On Love’, ‘All I Want’, ‘Bird On A Wire’, ‘We Won’t Run’ and ‘No Turning Back’. She then turned towards other fan favourites as she closed out with ‘Never Let Me Go’, ‘I Awake’ and ‘Not Yet’.
With the sun setting, Kate Miller-Heidke ignited the singalong’s with a setlist that intertwined songs from her newest album ‘Child In Reverse’ as well as her expansive greatest hits. Opening with ‘A Quiet Voice’ and segueing straight into ‘Caught In The Crowd’, she immediately had the audience fixated on everything she was doing. “It’s so great to be back here in my hometown, my town of Brisbane” she confessed as she looked out to the predominantly female identifying crowd and hilariously gushed; “it’s the opposite of a cock forest, a beautiful minge grove”.
‘O Vertigo’, ‘You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore’, ‘Humiliation’, ‘Zero Gravity’ and ‘Last Day On Earth’ followed, before she wrapped up her set with ‘Words’ where her son Ernie gate crashed the stage and excitingly danced for the audience. There is something just so magical about Kate Miller-Heidke, and nothing I could ever say could do her live show justice as she perfectly blends humour with powerful vulnerability and flawless vocals.
No one was more excited to be at Wildflower than Kasey Chambers, and that was quickly noted as she walked out onto the stage with the biggest smile on her face for the opening trio of tracks ‘Barricades And Brickwalls’, ‘Last Hard Bible’, and ‘Not Pretty Enough’. “There’s a bloody lot of you” she gushed before commenting, “you’ve all been waiting for a whole female line up, haven’t you?”. Her banter in-between songs was so genuine, and made you fall even further in love with her as she performed songs like ‘This Flower’, ‘Pony’, ‘A Little Bit Lonesome, ‘Satellite’ and ‘Rattlin Bones’.
Confessing to the crowd that she knew that she wasn’t going to be who everyone wanted to see on the line up, I think she underestimated how excited the crowd really was to see her. After all, she is an Australian Country music legend who’s storytelling has played a massive part in so many people’s lives. Closing out her set with ‘We’re All Gonna Die Some Day’, ‘The Captain’ and an unexpected (and incredible_ banjo led cover of Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’, she stood on the stage in tears looking at the standing ovation she deservingly received.
In-between acts an MC took to the stage to “hype” the crowd up, however instead she got lost within the crowds dynamic. Her energy was lacklustre, and the balance of nerves got the best of her. In future, a female comedian like Mel Buttle, Bron Lewis or Kat Davidson would have instead provided the right balance and would’ve engaged with the audience in the intended way.
Somehow over my 13 years in the music industry and avidly going to gigs and festivals, I have never seen Missy Higgins. I’m not sure how I managed that because her music did play a major part of my childhood with ‘Scar’ being one of my unbeatable Singstar moments. So I was excited to finally see her live to say the least, and she certainly did not disappoint. Opening with ‘Nightminds’, she walked out with her guitar in hand to a sea of very excited people who were ready to singalong with her and share the intimacy that has always been embedded in her music. “I write songs to connect with people, as a letter, as a way to let people know they aren’t alone” she confessed as she introduced her next string of songs; ‘Katie’, ‘Secret’, ‘Going North’ and ’10 Days’.
Sitting in front of her keyboard, she talked to the crowd about her recent experience of writing the Total Control soundtrack before she performed songs like ‘Big Kids’, ‘Total Control’, ‘Edge Of Something’ ,and the powerful ‘I Take It Back’ from the accompanying EP. She was then joined on stage by Kate Miller-Heidke for a very special rendition of her track ‘Don’t Ever’ which became a festival highlight. The greatest hits came in thick and fast with ‘Peachy’, ‘Special Two’ and ‘Warm Whispers’, before she wrapped up the incredible set with ‘Scar’ and ‘Steer’ which had everyone on their feet dancing.
Wildflower was an incredible and important event that saw an all female festival lineup finally brought to an outdoor stage. With a near-sell out crowd, it proved that audiences want and need these events and representation. Promoters please do better and take note that it IS possible. With all female organisers, publicists, merchandise sellers, and MC, it further cemented the importance of this event.
Check out the full gallery captured by Phoebe Hudson Photography BELOW;
Photos by Phoebe Hudson
Wildflower Tour Dates
Saturday 2 April – Roche Estate, Hunter Valley
Saturday 29 October – Craigmoor Wines, Mudgee
For full ticketing details please visit HERE