Mixture of folk and rock to take the stage in spectacular line-up

By Kimberley Price


Gates open 5.30pm

Welcome to Country — Uncle Rick Ronnan — 6.15pm


Opening the Riverboats Music Festival, Gabriella Cohen will bring her strong blues vocals, mix of trumpets and strong guitar riffs. The genre-warping performer is fast becoming increasingly popular among music lovers. Since coming on the scene in 2014 with her band The Furrs, Cohen has since moved to solo work, releasing albums in 2016 and 2018.


The sound of The Kill Devil Hill is almost indescribable — it falls somewhere between blues, country and rock and is constantly evolving. Having released six studio albums in the past 15 years, The Kill Devil Hills have a high calibre of material. Their music is best set against the falling sun of the day, which is exactly when they will be taking to the Riverboats stage.


In the ever-changing music world, the melodies and lyrics of Mark Seymour remain constant, catchy and classic. Thrust into the sphere of fame as lead singer of Hunters & Collectors, Mark was not only the front man, but the brains behind classics such as Holy Grail and Throw Your Arms Around Me. Mark has created his own successful solo career and composed musical theatre pieces throughout his almost 40-year career. To close out the first night of the festival, Mark will be joined by his band The Undertow.


Gates open 1PM


Our homegrown talent has cemented himself in the music industry since he broke into the scene with his self-titled album in 2008. Benny’s musicality started from an early age and naturally grew to the career he has today. Deep alternative groover’s song writing skills which have made him a staple in many people’s playlists have emerged from ideas, conversations and moments from his everyday life, which inspire him in one way or another.


Deborah Conway and Willy Zygier both paved their individual music careers in the 1980s – Deborah as a singer both solely and in bands, while Willy pursued his love for guitar. More than 25 years ago, Deborah hired Willy to be in her band and soon after the pair collaborated on the 1993 album Bitch Epic. The husband and wife duo would go on to record and produce a stack of albums and classic songs and the couple would become staples in the Australian music scene.


The Afro-beat 17-piece band has musicians representing Morocco, Senegal, Nigeria, Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa and even high-country Victoria. Expressing lyrics which have a political message behind them, Public Opinion has become musical activists fighting for change on all fronts. And be prepared to be up and out of your seats and get your hips swinging on to the grooviest, funkiest, powerhouse band with a beautiful message behind its music.


Not only is Jen Cloher a singer, she’s also a co-founder and fundamental part of the independent Milk!records label. Jen’s entrance into the music world may not have officially happened until she was 32, but music has always been a major player in her life. Throughout Jen’s music, she shares her life experiences. And in her lyrics, many issues are raised which have added to massive conversations being discussed throughout the industry. With a strong and authentic sound, Jen delivers a performance the same as catching her on your radio or stereo.


The mesmerising and whimsical sound of Augie March has captivated audiences for more than a decade. With punchy and important messages delivered throughout their lyrics, backed onto dreamy and soft-rock melodies, the band has found fame for being something completely different. The band of five worked extremely hard to produce its intrinsic, indie-rock music featured throughout its six albums and found tremendous success in the alternative music scene with its 2006 track One Crowded Hour, the title track on its third album Moo, You Bloody Choir.


Tex Perkins has music running through his veins. Not one particular type; no, with Tex it is every type. Through his career spanning more than 30 years, Tex has covered a vast array of projects and genres. From rock, country, electronic, psychedelic and the classic sound of Johnny Cash, there’s not much left out of his repertoire. Tex has performed on the stages around the country and world, and he continues to do so and will close off the Riverboats stage with his smash-hit project Far From Folsom – and tribute to Johnny Cash.


Gates open 10.30AM


Whimsical, fragile, soft and beautiful, Leah Senior’s voice will have you mesmerised from her first note. Growing up down the bottom of the Great Ocean Road, Leah’s upbringing definitely shaped her into the artist she is today. And through her own music searches, she has found her voice and become a fast up-and-coming artist for her compelling voice. In 2017, Leah released her first album Pretty Faces which received widespread praise for its dreamy melodic tunes.


Fraser A. Gorman has certainly blasted onto the indie music scene in recent years. Making a name for himself as an alternative crooner, Gorman’s sound has hints of Courtney Barnett, Vance Joy and Paul Kelly vibes as his lyrics reveal relatable situations and his melodies encapsulate the easy-going Australian coastal lifestyle. His self-titled EP was released in 2013 and soon followed by his debut album Slow Glum in 2015, which received rave reviews from music critics and his second album, and best to date, Easy Dazy, was released in early 2018.


Everyone knows his songs and most of us can belt out the lyrics at the top of our lungs. Don Walker, among other remarkable achievements, wrote hits such as Flame Trees and Khe Sanh as he was one fifth of legendary Cold Chisel and in many ways he was, by and large, the brains behind the hard playing, hard-living pub rock band. Since its off, on, off, on and so on disbandment, Don has forged his own path as a brilliant songwriter – penning songs by your favourite artists; as an author and in his spare time recorded three solo albums and six collaboratives. But for Don, it’s was only ever about the music.


Headlining this year’s festival is a band who completely encapsulates the atmosphere of the event. The Waifs’ soft, whimsical sound and Australiana accents has produced many songs that have topped our charts. From London Still, Bridal Train and Sun Dirt Water, The Waifs have become a household name. For 25 years, the trio has built a massive fan base. First-playing covers, then formulating their own music, prompted by its fans. After writing their first couple of songs and releasing their first self-titled album in 1996, The Waifs were born and became the pioneers of folk in Australia.