There is a very likely chance that Meredith Music Festival (MMF) has more traditions than your Grandma has - regardless of how many you’ve been taught by her. Aunty Meredith, the beloved name for the festival that holds a special spot in the hearts of Australians, is nearly 30 years old and not a year goes by that doesn’t live up to its grand anticipations.
Meredith is more of a family gathering than it is a music event. It has managed to create a vibe and a culture unlike any other festival in the country, and definitely unlike any other in the world. The truly one of a kind weekend-away is not to be missed, providing you can get your hands on one of the very rare tickets.
However, if you can, here is how to experience Meredith Music Festival right.
Meredith is a small country town just an hour and a half from Melbourne. Take the Princes Hwy towards Geelong and get there early because whilst the gates open at 8am, the queues of vehicles become banked up in line by 6am. One of the first traditions of the many over the weekend is stopping off at the Royal Hotel Meredith. The old rusty tinned roof and chilled outdoor seating make for the perfect setting to start the weekend as regulars and locals share a beer or two before they enter the festival grounds.
The other option is to stop by the Meredith Bakery & Café or enjoy a couple of street-side sausage-sizzle snags to support the locals.
What To Bring
Meredith Music Festival will send wristbands out to ticket-owners before the festival begins. While it might seem like a silly reminder, do not forget to bring this! Double-check before you leave home that your wristband is with you or wear it as you arrive.
What makes MMF so special is the incredibly chilled vibe. At most multi-day festivals, your main bases or hangout areas are at the stages and your campsite, but Meredith has another extra chill spot in between.
Thousands of attendees will contribute their comfortable seated furniture to the sea of couches facing in the direction of the main stage, also known as the Supernatural Amphitheatre. The best part of the festival is hanging out and making new friends on the comfort of your own couch, so don’t forget to bring one of your own!
If you forget to bring one, don’t expect to go taking ownership of anyone else’s, even if no one is sitting on it. Unless of course you’re very friendly and can contribute happy vibes, then it should be fine.
Don’t forget to bring a refillable water bottle and plenty of protection from the sun, rain and wind. Victoria surprises us with all kinds of last minute weather changes, so be prepared for four seasons in one day.
Every year, more than half the crowd will be attired in some very colourful and spectacularly coordinated outfits that have been planned well in advance of the festival. Crews in preparation will organise a theme and Saturday is the designated day to adorn your wonderful collaborative outfits.
MMF is thankfully BYO as it is not corporately sponsored like other festivals. Alcohol is allowed but glass is not. Just bring the tinnies that you need to enjoy for the duration of the weekend. (And remember to take them home afterwards or stash them in one of the bins on site.)
Where To Go
While the festival sadly only runs over two nights, there are still many different places around the grounds to create memories that will last a lifetime.
Inspiration Point is a hill that hosts a ritual communal countdown to sunset as the crowds sit back, relaxes and takes in the spectacular views of the rolling country hills in the distance. This location is also the place for Saturday’s ‘dance off’, where everyone who has come in costume is encouraged to meet during the middle of the day to celebrate their choice of clothing by showing off their dance moves or their limbo ability.
And, if you are blessed to be a part of the rare breed that has red hair, you have been cordially invited to gather with all of the other red heads at the festival by the red tree around midday on Saturday. The gathering is known as the annual ‘Ranga Meet’. This is also a great spot to meet friends if you lose them or to identify where your couch or favourite dance floor spot is located for your teams’ reference over the weekend.
Other great meeting places include the Pink Flamingo Bar and the ferris wheel. Yes, there is an enormous, magical ferris wheel that you can ride in the daytime, and again at night, that overlook the festival surrounds from the sky.
Where to camp is a significant part of festival planning, as each area offers different advantages and managing to camp near friends makes the festival all the more special.
Bush Camp is the most popular for veterans of MMF. The demographic is often older, more chilled and the area has a very strong ‘love thy neighbour’ vibe. Blue Gums, Tom Mankeys and South Pines are the furthest camps from the stage and you can camp either nestled below the high treetops or with a view of the rolling hills. These areas are perfect for those who want their own space. Top Camp is more popular for a younger crowd and you will find all kinds of wild characters in this area.
On Sunday morning, spoil your mind to a serene and peaceful group Tai Chi session before making it down to main stage to see perhaps the biggest event of the entire festival—the Meredith Gift. You’ll have to get there early to find a good spot as hundreds of festival-goers don nothing at all and go completely stark naked as they race one another to the finish line.
This great tradition started because, back in 1993, a band arrived late and there was a common consensus to run a race to pass the time and participants deemed it necessary to do it in the nude. The nudie run tradition has been the same ever since.
When the festival has to unfortunately end for another year, don’t forget to pick up all of your trash and don’t leave your couch behind. Make sure you have a designated driver that will have no alcohol remaining in their system, as there are police checks in the area.
On the way home, there are a number of different roads that take you to Melbourne. If you have the time, take the Midland Highway and M1 via Geelong to see Victoria’s largest beachside town after Melbourne. From Geelong you can journey to the Great Ocean Road, the way that takes you to Victoria’s best beach locations via winding open roads featuring the most incredible views.
If you choose to go via Glenmore Road, stop by for a little picnic or rest at the tranquil Upper Stony Creek Reservoir, or if you are travelling via the National Highway M8, stop off at Pykes Creek Reservoir. Here you can have a go at boating, kayaking, fishing or swimming and relax after a perfect weekend at Meredith Music Festival.