Arists: Various Wildflower Festival 2022
Date: 19th March 2022
Venue: Riverstage, Brisbane
Words: Hayley Treadwell
Photos: Andrew Treadwell Photography
What a beautiful day we had at the Wildflower Festival. To the amazing folks at Empire Touring and TEG Live and the wonderful ladies at On The Map PR thank you for giving us an amazing all female Australian Music Festival!
Singers, Songwriters and Storytellers, these women took us on the most incredible journey yesterday. I am sure I was not the only 40 something woman in the crowd who has literally listened to these women since we were old enough to discover our own music tastes. These ladies brought me up through life. I have The Waifs first album, Sarah Blasko’s, Kate Miller-Heidke’s, Kasey Chambers’ and Missy Higgins and I continue to buy these ladies albums with each new release and I will see them on tour again and again. This outstanding group of women sing songs about standing up, they show us strength and courage with their bold lyrics and beautiful storytelling. If you are lucky enough to attend one of the upcoming Wildflower Festivals you will laugh, you will cry and sing and dance and feel such amazing solidarity and love. The energy was fierce! Women have spent our lives fighting to be heard and these women are pathing the way for us to be heard.
As the crowd all found their spot on the hill the beautiful Caitlyn Shadbolt got things started. Caitlyn rose to fame after a very successful X-Factor campaign in 2014 and since then she has been a great female figure in the Australian Country Music world. Her set was energetic and full of fun and a great way to kick off the Wildflower Festival in Brisbane.
I am always so intrigued with how quickly the roadies change the sets over at a festival, so it wasn’t long at all before we were listening to the beautiful voice of 2017’s Triple J Unearthed National Indigenous Winner, Alice Skye.
After missing the inaugural show in the Yarra Valley due to Covid, it was great to have Alice back in the line up. Singing songs from both her Albums, Alice’s lyrics are profound and relatable. I Loved watching her effortlessly play the keyboard while she sang. Alice is still early on in her career and I cannot wait to see her headlining a festival like this one day.
The soothing sounds of Deborah Conway were up next and she was accompanied by Willy Zygier. Deborah is Australian Music royalty and was a perfect addition to this line up. Covering songs over her career the 2 piece band had everyone tapping along and getting into a good groove.
Thornbird (Vikki Thorn of The Waifs) was the next act of the day and she really got everyone up moving! Singing songs from her solo album and also a few from The Waifs, this was probably my most enjoyable set of the early players.
Sarah Blasko with her quirky dance moves and brilliant stage presence was up next. Paying homage to her 2009 album Day Follows Night we heard ‘Bird On A Wire’, ‘Down on Love’, ‘No Turning Back’ and ‘We Won’t Run’. Her voice belted out over the Riverstage and was met with great pleasure! Sarah had also missed the first show due to Covid and It was so good to have her in Brisbane. I even spied Kate Miller-Heidke and Missy Higgins watching along for a bit. Sarah is captivating and incredibly talented and it is great to see her amongst this lineup of great Australian women!
As the sun began to drop, the crowd was getting excited for our homegrown girl Kate Miller-Heidke. I could see women in the crowd everywhere get their crowns on. Kate took the stage with great command and instantly had us in the palm of her hand. Her voice is so unique and beautiful, but there is nothing like hearing her beautiful operatic tones live. Kate traveled back and forth through her albums, giving us ‘Caught In The Crowd’, ‘The Last Day On Earth ‘, ‘Humiliation’, ‘Vertigo’, ‘A Quiet Voice’ and her latest release single ‘You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore’. Kate is a genuine storyteller who takes you on a journey into her life with her songs. She always leaves everything on the stage and shares everything with her audiences from her emotive lyrics to her stories between the songs, and this was no different. Kate Miller-Heidke is an icon in Australian Music and for women everywhere. She closed out the set with a mash up of her song ‘Words’ and the Rolling Stones ‘Paint it, Black’. What a great way to end an incredible set.
I am an obvious lover of music, the range of what I enjoy is wide, but if you know me well you know I have a special affliction for 2 types of music, and one of those is country! So when I heard Kasey Chambers was part of this festival, I could barely contain my excitement. I have grown up listening to Kasey Chambers, watching her on my TV. Listening to her messages of strength and fighting for what you want, your rights, your values, but this was the first time I had seen her live and I want to go back. She kicked off her set with ‘Barricades and Brickwalls’ and there was no doubt in my mind this was going to be amazing. I danced with a group of strangers, shouting out the lyrics and having an absolute blast when Kasey broke out into ‘Pony’!
But there was absolutely nothing like the feeling when the music started for ‘Not Pretty Enough’ and what felt like the entire crowd sang the first ‘Am I not pretty enough?’ with Kasey! The energy was so overwhelming I was moved to tears. But it just kept getting better! ‘Rattlin Bones’ making an appearance in the set was awesome, as was every song Kasey and the band performed. We heard ‘Ain’t No Little Girl’, ‘We’re All Gonna Die Someday’ and ‘The Captain’ but by far the most mind blowing moment of the set and one of the overall moments of the festival was Kasey’s cover of Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ to close out the set. Oh my music loving goodness!! This was one of the greatest live covers I have witnessed. The emotion and power with which Kasey performed this song gave it a whole new life. And we are even hedging bets that the music played under the lyrics is a slowed down ‘Killing In The Name Of’, but this is not confirmed.
Overall Kasey’s stage presence and jokes with the crowd were well perceived and loved by all, even if Kasey felt a need to warn us about the more screechier songs! Kasey I love your voice and I say the screechier the better please !!! Once Kasey left all her energy on the stage we were waiting for our Festival Headliner, the sensational Missy Higgins. Firstly, wow! I have had the new album on repeat since it was released a few weeks ago. What a perfect addition of new songs to Missy’s already brilliant catalog of music and to this festival! They are all so powerful.
And powerful was such a theme for the whole night. Before Missy took the stage the crowd was asked to turn on their phone torches and light up the sky. This was honestly one of the most beautiful things to witness as the hill turned from dark to a sea of twinkly looking lights. You could see Missy loving the view as she crossed the stage to her Piano. She opened the set beautifully with ‘All for Believing’ and followed up with ‘Katie’. 2 songs straight away from ‘The Sound of White’. Along the journey with Missy we appreciated the beauty of the moon and when she howled at the moon we followed suit. And we also found out that ‘Peachy’ is the follow up song to ‘Ten Days’.
We were introduced to the amazing new songs inspired by the TV show ‘Total Control’, the first song being ‘Big Kids’. I loved the story Missy told about watching the scene in the show that inspired this song. She covers The Motels ‘Total Control’ for the show and delivered it on stage flawlessly, following it up with what I think is one of the most powerful songs on the new album, ‘I Take It Back’, which, as Missy talked about before singing the song, is about women taking back their power! She discussed the #metoo movement and how this movement is opening more eyes and doors and more and more women are standing up when someone is trying to push us down, and my goodness this song was delivered with the true spirit in which it was written! And Missy just kept delivering, this time singing of making the world a better place for our daughters with the beautifully written ‘Edge Of Something’. These songs are so special and so powerful and in the moment last night you could really feel that they lifted the crowd.
Further standouts from Missy (weren’t they all) were the Perry Keyes cover of ‘NYE’ and an acoustic duet of ‘Don’t Even’ with Kate Miller-Heidke, what beautiful harmonies. My new favorite song ‘The Collector’ is the last song off the new album that Missy performed. It was great to see the 3 ladies in the band come together next to Missy for a good old clap happy sing along. This song has such a good vibe for one that is about revenge. Missy closed out the night with popular hits ‘Scar’ and ‘Steer’ leaving us satisfied, uplifted and yet still wanting more!
The whole festival was an absolute treat for women and all fans of great music. The uplifting messages and emotions left on the stage from all the artists was truly a gift the woman of Brisbane appreciated.
The set up was gorgeous and I loved the photo area at the top of the hill filled with mirror balls and all things pretty! What a beautiful space for women to feel that extra bit more beautiful. Bean bags in the VIP area and picnic blankets galore assured everyone was comfy and able to have the best fun they could. And the free water stations made the heat a little more bearable. Riverstage was the perfect venue for the Wildflower Festival in Brisbane and I hope we see it back year after year. There are 2 more dates coming up for the Wildflower Festival and if you have the opportunity to go you will have the best day out!
Saturday 2nd April 2022 – Roche Estate, Hunter Valley
Saturday 29th October – Craigmoor Wines, Mudgee
In the meantime several of these ladies have announced Solo Tours or other Festival Tours, check their socials for details and please get behind live music and buy some tickets!
Until the net gig