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Live Review: Nine Lives Festival proves its here to stay with exceptional first event

6 March 2020 | 12:30 pm | Emma Jones

On Sunday, March 1st, Brisbane history was made with the first NINE LIVES FESTIVAL, headlined by Angie McMahon, Aldous Harding and Julia Jacklin.

On Sunday, March 1st, Brisbane history was made with the first NINE LIVES FESTIVAL. A combined effort between Brisbane institution Jet Black Cat Music, The Tivoli, Handsome Tours, the arrival of Nine Lives to the Brisbane music calendar meant that artists that might not have made their way up to the Queensland capital could now do so, while locals could share stages with some of the country's (and beyond's) very best. Boasting a triple headliner of Angie McMahonJulia Jacklin and Aldous Harding, as well as the likes of Kevin Morby and Kikagaku Moyo, the three-stage, indoor-outdoor event went off mostly without a hitch.

Of course, when starting something new, teething problems will always arise. Logistics issues like managing the flow of the crowd as they moved between indoor and outdoor stages and having adequate shade in place at the outdoor stage are easy enough issues to rectify, and hardly detracted from the wholly positive event. The crowd attracted to a line up of this kind, which was diverse in so many different ways, meant the crowd was ultimately well behaved, positive and appreciative of the artists performing. From much-loved local favourites Jim Griffin and First Beige kicking off proceedings in style all the way through to stellar closing sets from Angie McMahon and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, the outdoor stage was always a great vibe. Indoors, the Tivoli main stage and smaller Double Dingo stage alternated between more local legends like ButtercatsMoreton and Pink Matter, before kicking into the heavyweights programmed for the day.

One particular issue many audience members had was that of the crowd chatter during quieter sets like Aldous Harding and the quieter moments of Julia Jacklin. While this criticism is warranted to the many punters who had been in the sun all day drinking craft beer, I think given the type of criticism this is is indicative of just how fantastic Nine Lives is for Brisbane. The event was so well run and so well programmed and so well behaved that the only issues left from making it 100% as opposed to 99.9% were "People spoke too loudly," or, "The bathroom line was a bit long." Brisbane is so often left off tour routes and is so often fickle when it comes to supporting shows that there's sometimes next to no turn out. There are hardly any one-off festivals being held in Brisbane apart from a select successful few, so it can't be understated how much of a risk it would've been to want to put this on in the first place. Brisbane responded in kind, snapping up every last ticket, getting down to the festival early and generally being great hosts.

So yes, while some folks could've kept it down a bit and maybe next time the entry/exit to the two main stages could flow better, Nine Lives Festival was a really big moment for Brisbane and for the greater industry as a whole. It showed promoters and the wider industry that there is an appetite for something different, and it showed the audience bands are willing to play and deliver exceptional sets who might've skipped the city completely on their latest run of shows. So, while teething problems are always to be expected, I have a feeling Nine Lives Festival is here to stay and that is an exciting prospect for Brisbane. Take a look below for our gallery courtesy of photographer Zoe Russell!

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All images by ZOE RUSSELL for Purple Sneakers

Words by Emma Jones