It is festival season in Bendigo. Can you feel it? The Writers Festival was just on, the Blues & Roots festival is in just a few months. In just a couple of short weeks one of Bendigo's more avant-garde annual festivals comes to town: the Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music. BIFEM for short.
Taking on a genre once considered niche, BIFEM places exploratory and experimental music culture into the heart of central Victoria pushing Bendigo further onto the global stage.
I recently caught up with festival founder David Chisholm to chat about this year's edition of BIFEM. We also talked about Bendigo's nature as a natural fit for an international festival and discussed the inherent qualities of exploratory music.
BIFEM takes place 2-4 September 2016.
Check out the festival guide (and some fantastic design work) at www.bifem.com.au.
On Sunday trainers from all over gathered in Rosalind Park for the Rotary Club of Bendigo Next Generation Pokémon Go Scavenger Hunt. Under the banner #pokemonagainstpolio, $190 was raised for the End Polio Now campaign by the day's end.
Prizes were donated by local businesses Good Versus Evil and Guf Bendigo and the winners most certainly did not leave empty handed.
Another year, another Groovin' The Moo. The tour is currently making its way around regional Australia, hitting Bendigo and Townsville this weekend. It has already made its way through Maitland, Canberra, and Oakbank, and it will make its way to Bunbury next Saturday.
For those with tickets that means long lines, cold weather and great live bands. For those without, it means staying inside, warm and dry, while all of the friends are out having fun.
Of course, if you are in the unfortunate position of not possessing Groovin' tickets while everyone else in your social circle does, you are in for a long few weeks of lagging behind in conversations as all of your friends rave about what a wonderful time they had while you were sitting home alone.
But do not despair! You have two options: You could make your way to Townsville on Sunday or Bunbury next weekend (at time of writing there are still tickets available), or you could read on!
Just like last year and the year before, I have for you the Groovin' Guide For Those Left Out. Once again, I have spent the better part of an afternoon compiling this guide of what you need to know about some of the festival's key acts so you don't have to be left afloat in a conversational winter.
With a background in playing both the cello and the bass guitar, this Sydney DJ has been gaining a lot of steam with her 2015 album Run. She has collaborated with Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips fame, beaten The Veronicas at the ARIAs, and her stage name is a cool pun.
Tracks to check out: "I Want U", "Run".
Boy & Bear
Another act from Sydney, these cruisy lads got their start with Triple J Unearthed back in 2009. Since then, they have toured with names such as Laura Marling, Angus and Julia Stone, and Mumford & Sons. For their third album, 2015's Limit of Love, Boy & Bear teamed up with legendary producer Ethan Johns, known for his work with Gerling, Ben Kweller, Ryan Adams, Kings of Leon, Laura Marling, The Boxer Rebellion, Kaiser Chiefs, Rufus Wainwright, Counting Crows, Crowded House, Tom Jones, and Paul McCartney, among many others. Even without such heavyweights as company, these guys are likely to put on an excellent gig.
Tracks to check out: "Southern Sun", "Rabbit Song".
Despite the blatant false advertising in their name (they are actually from Melbourne), British India are now veteran rockers who have come a long way from their school days performing covers of songs by Blur, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and The Beatles. They once recorded an album near (but not at) a studio owned by Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty fame.
Tracks to check out: "God Is Dead", "Tie Up My Hands".
I could talk about how this Brisbane two-piece entirely recorded their 2009 debut EP Ruined My Life at a house party. I could also mention the glowing reviews their follow up album, 2011's Bloodstreams received from publications such as Pitchfork Media. But what I really want to talk about is this band's music videos. They are really good. I had a lot of trouble picking just one for this article. So I picked two. Bonus points for the "THRILLHOUSE" t-shirt worn in "Gina Works At Hearts".
Tracks to check out: "Gina Works At Hearts", "Less Out Of Sync".
Indian born Melbournite Darren "Harts" Hart does everything himself. He writes, records, performs all instruments, and to top it off, his music is so damn funky. His videos even caught the attention of the great Prince, who was quoted saying that the young musician reminds the Purple One of himself at that age. Rather high praise indeed.
Tracks to check out: "The Music", "Red & Blue"
This pair of New York based dream poppers sport a cool, stylish aesthetic. The band have a string of achievements to there name but few are likely closer to their hearts than landing their track "Bones" in a trailer for television series Game of Thrones, of which they are big fans.
Tracks to check out: "Bones", "Hurricane".
I first came across this Papua New Guinea born Sydneysider early this year when she was the support act for Sufjan Stevens. Her live performance was extremely good. Despite my ignorance, Ngaiire's music career has taken her in a variety of directions, from Australian Idol contestant to backup singer for acts such as Paul Mac and Chet Faker. She has actually worked quite a bit with the famed Paul Mac, as he is listed as co-writer of her single "Once" along with none other than Megan Washington.
Tracks to check out: "Once", "Dirty Hercules"
More information about Groovin' The Moo can be found at gtm.net.au.
More information about these bands can be found at Google.
Authorpreneur Hazel Edwards is back with a new book. A collaboration with first time author Ozge Alkan, Hijabi Girl is the story of a young girl who wears a hijab, has a fun group of friends, and aspires to have her own Aussie rules football team.
I caught up with Hazel recently to talk about her new book as well as the upcoming "Hippo Hippo! ...the Musical" tour. You can also check out the last time Hazel was on Local Chats here.
Hazel has a fantastic website full of great resources.
The New Local Radio's annual countdown is at hand. The Hottest Ten Or So counts down the best ten (or so) songs of the year as voted by you.
Voting is simple. Send a list of up to ten of your favourite songs released in 2015 to email@example.com. It is recommended you rank them in some sort of order as this helps break ties in the vote counting.
Votes close 11:59pm on Saturday 30 January. That is less than one week so get your votes in.
Tune in to the countdown from 10pm on Phoenix FM this Sunday 31 January. You can also follow @thenewlocal on Twitter as we livetweet with the hashtag #TenOrSo.
Check out last year's countdown here. You can listen to last year's winner, "The Rains of Castamere" by Sigur Ros, below.
The Sophia Cadetship is a new community based program that aims to equip sole parents with the tools they need to break into the workforce. Despite its youth, the Cadetship has already gained a great deal of attention and support from the Bendigo community.
I met with one of its directors, Jasmin Bradshaw, to talk about this exciting initiative.
Over The Handlebars is a television show about recreational cycling. It is currently raising funds for its pilot episode on Pozible. I caught up with one of the guys behind the show, Caleb Maxwell to fins out exactly what it will be about.