Scene News: Out on the Weekend Breaks Free This December in Williamstown


Melbourne’s much-loved OUT ON THE WEEKEND festival returns to Williamstown’s Seaworks on December 11 with a stellar All-Victorian line-up including Wagons, Mick Thomas’ Roving Commission, Liz Stringer,  Lost Ragas, Warner Brothers, Sherry Rich & The Grievous Angels and more.   Melbourne’s roots music scene, which has been a thing since Daddy Cool and the Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band played Brunswick’s TF Much Ballroom in the early ‘70s and the Dingoes made the Station Hotel in Prahran a country-rock headquarters a few years later, is one of the strongest music scenes on the planet. And Melbourne’s Inner West is amongst the most vibrant cultural areas in a city spoilt for choice. Not for nothing was Yarraville named the fifth coolest neighbourhood in the world in a 2020 Time Out magazine survey. So, it is no surprise that the annual OUT ON THE WEEKEND Festival, held just down the road in waterside Williamstown, has become a Melbourne music, food and lifestyle institution since first appearing in 2014. OUT ON THE WEEKEND was initiated by concert and boutique festival promoter Love Police who are known for their role in the much loved out of town Boogie festival and for bringing the likes of Gillian Welch, John Prine and Wilco to Australia. Love Police has introduced music loving audiences to a plethora of diverse music connected by heart, soul and spirit.

A few words from BT of Love Police: “Hello friends. Truth is, we nearly got there this October. We were 12 hours away from announcing this year’s show when another lockdown hit. Oh well, this time it’s gonna happen. With those international borders seemingly slammed shut for international visitors, and domestic borders maybe a question mark, we have turned our programming ears to the great state of Victoria to provide all our beloved Artists who will make the sun shine once again down by the water in Williamstown. There are more than enough quality known, unknown and legendary acts to make the day unmissable. Piece of cake. Melbourne is known as the musical capital of the country, no disputing that. Let us embrace that, celebrate it, and get set for our favourite day of the year at Seaworks. See you in December.” ***

After sitting out 2020 due to the global pandemic OUT ON THE WEEKEND is set to return with a line-up of artists that will have music fans salivating. Long-time OOTW friends including Wagons and Lost Ragas are coming back, and icon Mick Thomas is appearing for the first time with his band The Roving Commission. Liz Stringer, following the release of her great First Time Really Feeling album on Milk! Records, are also making her first appearance, with her full band.   Much loved Melbourne outfits the Warner Brothers and Sherry Rich & The Grievous Angels will make rare and special appearances, and the acclaimed singer-songwriter Steve Hoy will perform his classic album Life Next Door which was awarded The Age Album of the Year back in 1990. These are artists steeped in the development of Melbourne as a roots music epicentre. A wealth of young up and comers and local legends like Brooke Russell, Ben Mastwyk, Luke Sinclair, Katie Bates, Lachlan Bryan, Matt Joe Gow and new Love Police Records & Tapes singing Alex Hamilton, will also appear with their respective bands. As usual there’s also a special tribute feature presentation. This year it is The Girl From Chickasaw County, a tribute to the songs and stylings of mysterious ‘60s Southern gothic singer-songwriter Bobbie Gentry, best known for her song “Ode To Billie Joe”, and featuring a cast that includes much loved artists such as Suzannah Espie, Helen Ryder and Sarah Carroll. Add to all this some of the best local beers, cocktails, amazing and diverse food selections and a glorious location in picturesque Williamstown, and you have the perfect start of Summer Day just waiting for you to show up. If you are in Melbourne, or Victoria, or if you’re just looking for a reason to be here, you need to be at OUT ON THE WEEKEND. Come and celebrate a musical genre, a lifestyle, and good times like nowhere else, down by the water in Williamstown. 


Keystones of Melbourne’s – indeed Australia’s – Indie-Americana movement, Wagons formed in 1999, and pulse and stomp together as a joint force, with singer 
Henry Wagons at the helm. The sextet have been regularly compared to the cheekiest and most mischievous of musical outlaws, from Cash to Cave and have circled the globe testing the fortitude of some of the biggest stages at festival including Bonnaroo, Bluesfest, Laneway, Big Day Out, as well as SXSW and Americana showcases. And of course, Out On the Weekend!   Producing seven albums together, the band have garnered an increasing list of awards 
and achievements including ‘Album of the Week’ on RRR, PBS, RTR, 2SER, Edge 
Radio, The Age / EG ‘Best Band’ & ‘Album of the Year’, Rhythms Magazine ‘Album Of 
Year’, AIR ‘Country Album of the Year’, plus Melbourne Magazine naming Henry 
Wagons in their ‘Top 100 Most Influential People’.  After this long, their boot heels are etched in the stage floorboards. Wagons know 
exactly what they are doing. Fasten your shoelaces tight and get your feet to the big 

A prolific, ARIA-winning singer-songwriter, MICK THOMAS provided the soundtrack to many a Melbournite’s pub-going youth upfront of the legendary Weddings Parties Anything. With his current band the ROVING COMMISSION, which includes fellow WPA’er Squeezebox Wally and the Waifs’ Ben Franz, he keeps those glory days alive with energy and an endless source of great songs, including those from two albums recorded and released during lockdown, “See You On the Other Side” and “City’s Calling Me”.

Described by the Woodford Folk Festival as an ‘emerging legend of Australian song’, LIZ is a potent singer, songwriter and guitarist who released her first album in 2006, attained a national profile on the back of a stunning Rockwiz performance early on, and attained further fame with the trio Dyson Stringer Cloher alongside Mia Dyson and Jen Cloher. Her sixth solo studio album “First Time Really Feeling”, released this year on Milk! Records, took her into the ARIA Top 20 for the first time.

OOTW faves and modern-day psychedelic country-rock pioneers, LOST RAGAS formed when Matt Walker, already an established solo artist, met fellow guitarist Shane Reilly while working with Tex Perkins some years back. Three albums – and a stunning, historic rerecording of Spectrum’s “I’ll Be Gone” with its writer Mike Rudd – later, the band are Melbourne legends whose shows are a soulful flurry of wild guitars and interstellar pedal steel.

Unsung legends on the local scene, Dan Warner and James Stewart were playing acoustic-based alternative country-styled music way back in the mid’-80s, long before anyone else really thought of it. Maybe they anticipated local lockdowns before anyone else too; their prophetic first single “Stuck In Melbourne” gave them some Triple J play in ’92, after which legal action from their corporate behemoth namesakes forced a name change to Overnight Jones. Dan and James both went on to do heaps of other stuff and they got the band back together some years back. New album and documentary feature on the way!

Best known for the deathless 1967 classic hit “Ode To Billie Joe”, Bobbie Gentry was a triple-threat singer, writer and guitarist whose enigmatic Southern Gothic sound directly inspired countless artists, from Tony Joe White to Lucinda Williams and beyond. Melbourne singers Suzannah Espie, Helen Ryder, Sarah Carroll, Liam Gerner, and Lachlan Bryan are thrilled to perform their favourite Gentry songs backed by the very special Okonoloa Four, featuring Bruce Haymes on keyboards, Mitch Power on guitar, Stephen Hadley on bass and Roger Bergodaz on drums.

STEVE HOYS’s collaborators have included Joe Camilleri, Ross Wilson, Chris Stockley and Kerryn Tolhurst of the Dingoes, Lisa Miller and Matt Walker; he’s toured with Emmylou Harris, Warren Zevon, Dwight Yoakam, Sheryl Crow, Paul Kelly and countless others. STEVE HOY is an Australian singer and songwriting legend, and OOTW is proud to present him and his band playing his 1990 breakthrough album “Life Next Door” – The Age’s Album Of The Year in its year of release – in its entirety. 

Genre-bending, critically acclaimed, LACHLAN BRYAN & THE WILDES make eclectic, literate records and their live shows have gained them a loyal fanbase in both Australia and the UK over the past decade. They’ve flown the flag of the Americana genre in Australia since their first record in 2010 and have supported many of the greats including Steve and Justin Townes Earle, Joe Pug, John Hiatt and Shawn Colvin.

Having climbed the ladder of indie success with all-girl garage hard-rockers Girl Monster in the ‘80s, SHERRY RICH returned to her childhood love – country music – in the ‘90s. Legendary and late Paul Kelly guitarist Steve Connolly was an original member of her band THE GRIEVOUS ANGELS and produced their first EP, while recordings with members of Wilco resulted in the “Sherry Rich & Courtesy Move” album in 1997 and a decade long stint in Nashville. Following the release of a long-awaited new solo album “The Divine Crimson V”, SHERRY reconvenes THE GRIEVOUS ANGELS (who include the Icecream Hands’ Doug Lee Robertson and SHERRY’S husband Rick Plant, who has played with the likes of Buddy Miller) for the first time in decades, just for OOTW.

From large festivals to boutique Americana gatherings, from supporting Chris Isaak to Kasey Chambers, MATT JOE GOW has built a simmering credibility to go alongside his authentic alt-country tones. With his second consecutive Music Victoria Nomination resulting is a Best Country Album award, critically acclaimed troubadour MATT JOE GOW brings a soulful Americana sound to any performance.

Through his recent work with multi award-winning Americana outfit, Raised by Eagles, SINCLAIR continues to forge a well-respected and lasting name for himself across Australia’s musical landscape. His debut solo album, “Heavy Dreams”, released in early this year, has once again captured the attention of Australia’s ever-burgeoning alt-country/Americana scene.

With songs about boozy nights, bad decisions, broken hearts and the best intentions, BROOKE RUSSELL and her band THE MEAN REDS blend vintage swing, sweet pop and widescreen alt-country. BROOKE was until recently a featured co-vocalist in Mick Thomas’ Roving Commission and is known to 3RRR listeners as a regular fill-in presenter on Twang. “Late-night jazz, croon-and-swoon slowcore, alt-country and heartache country-soul blend together on… songs that recall late-period Dylan, The Delines and Lucinda Williams.” – Chris Familton, The Music

Twice nominated for Best Country Album (Music Victoria Awards), BEN MASTWYK has toured his songs around Australia, NZ and the USA. His third album, 2021’s “Livin’ On Gold Street”, debuted at #1 on the Australian Independent charts and #2 on ARIA Australian Country charts, and his sound his best described by Country Update magazine, who reckon “Mastwyk plunges headlong into Seventies country-soul glam with lashings of cosmic American pedal steel and psych-guitar glitz.”

A regular on Melbourne’s inner-city singer-songwriter scene, ALEX HAMILTON is set to re-release his recent debut album “Sweetest Wine” on an exciting new label with close OOTW affiliations! The album was recorded and mixed by Jesse Williams who also recorded and mixed Grace Cummings’ acclaimed “Refuge Cove”; indeed ALEX also plays in Grace’s band, and Grace sings on ALEX’S album, as does Leah Senior and Cahill Kelly. You’ll be hearing more about ALEX soon!

The product of a family with a healthy vinyl collection and active subscriptions to Triple R and PBS, KATIE is inspired equally by the Flying Burrito Brothers and Nirvana. Barely in her twenties, she’s already the veteran of hundreds of gigs, and, following the debut EP “New Gold” in 2018 and the single “Polka Dot Dress” in 2019, her debut album is not far away. “Sultry, intriguing and provocative, with a sound that turns satisfyingly, defiantly snarling, evoking PJ Harvey.” – Sophie Hamley, Sunburnt Country