The Peninsula Picnic was one of the sold-out highlights of the summer calendar last year. Following on from that success, this year they have a music line-up perfectly fitting a relaxed sunny day filled with local food, craft beer and wine. 

The ethereal Ruby Whiting from Shoreham will play first with a folky style to set the vibe. Next Timberwolf will bring his soulful hipster tunes, before Powderfingers Darren Middleton is set to take things up a nostalgic notch.  The multi-talented Kim Churchill will take picnickers into the early evening, then everyones favourite Melbournian Missy Higgins will headline the harvest.  

Missy Higgins released her debut album The Sound of White in 2004 and it instantly resonated with Australian audiences, earning her 6 ARIA awards. On a Clear Night and The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle followed and shes sold over 2 million albums and singles globally.

We caught up with Missy in the lead up to the much anticipated March 20 event.  

PEARL: You managed to rise to fame in the 2000s without being caught on camera in a valour tracksuit, trucker cap or low slung jeans with a g-string sticking out the top.  What is the secret to your style success?

MH: (laughs) I didn’t know I was a style success. I have made my fair share of fashion faux pas don’t you worry.  I’ve never really followed fashion trends.  I just wear what I feel suits me and reflects my personality.

PEARL: How has your style evolved since then?

MH: I find myself being less tomboy these days.  I’m really into big earrings and t-shirt dresses, still really comfortable but more feminine than I used to be.

PEARL: How do you feel you have evolved as an artist across your career?

MH: When you’re writing from a young age and it continues into your adulthood, it evolves alongside your own personal maturity.  I feel my songs have become less introspective and a bit more focused outward.  I used to rely on break-ups and dysfunctional relationships for my songs, but I’ve been finding in recent years that I’m actually more creative when I’m happy.

PEARL: I just listened to your new recording, Oh Canada, and it had me in tears.  Can you tell us a bit about this song?

MH: Yeah, it was inspired by the photo of Aylan Kurdy, the Syrian boy who drowned and was washed up on the beach in Turkey.  I saw that photo around the same time everyone else did and I was just devastated.  I wanted to write a song in dedication to his father and what he has lost and share his story.  It’s so tragic what is happening to these people and I feel their stories should not be forgotten.

PEARL: You have been very open about your experience with depression and anxiety, when to the outside world it may have looked like you had everything.  If you could say something to your younger self, what would you say?

MH: Hold on. It won’t last forever. It gets better.  When you are going through it, it feels like it is not ever going to end, and also that you are the only person in the world that is feeling like that.  But you are not alone.

PEARL: You became a mum just over a year ago.  What effect (if any) has this had on you creatively?

MH: You don’t have nearly as much time as you used to, but you learn how to use a small amount of time to your advantage.  I’ve been really focusing in on song writing in a way that I never used to when I had all the time in the world.  And having a child has made me more sensitive in general.

PEARL: What are you listening to at the moment?

MH: David Bowie and a lot of podcasts actually.  I love the Marc Maron podcast and This American Life and this one about kids called the Longest Shortest Time.

PEARL: Do you have a favourite part of the creative process?

MH: I love having written a song but I’m not so keen on the first stages, where you feel very unsure and vulnerable.  And I love playing festivals like the Peninsula Picnic.  Outdoor shows like that are some of my favourites because everyone is so relaxed and chilled and open.

PEARL: You are planning on bringing a mix of old favourites and new songs to your Peninsula Picnic performance, but have you decided what you will be eating and drinking?

MH: A bit of red wine and some nice cheese I reckon.  It would be crazy to not drink wine while in a wine-making region. But I won’t drink that much!


Missy joins The Peninsula Picnic at Mornington Racecourse on Sunday March 20.   Tickets on Sale Now From www.peninsulapicnic.com.au

By Penny Ivison