An all-Australian music line up is set to light up the Peninsula at the first ever Winefolk event this December. The Cat Empire, The Beautiful Girls, Ash Grunwald, Cookin’ On 3 Burners and Sun Salute complete an amazing line up for our first WineFolk and promises to be a magical, musical experience amongst nature, escaping the concrete jungle, for those with exquisite taste in music, nature and fine wine, Saturday Dec 7 at Mount Martha’s historical Briars homestead.


“We’re thrilled to bring together this stellar Australian line up for the first Winefolk” said Lisa MacGregor, Event Producer.

“The Cat Empire is known far and wide as one of the world’s greatest party bands, and their genre- defying music will no doubt get the crowd up and dancing,” said Lisa. There could not be a better double than The Cat Empire and The Beautiful Girls, joined by Ash, CO3B’s and introducing Sun Salute… what cool line up amongst the gumtrees at The Briars, what a way to kick off Summer!

The Beautiful Girls are an iconic Australian rock group led by frontman Mat McHugh. The group’s sound showcases a hodgepodge of styles, touching on folk, pop, and reggae although roots music is at the heart of their sound. Their breezy acoustic atmosphere frequently draw comparisons to Jack Johnson and Ben Harper.

The group formed in 2001 in Sydney, Australia originally consisting of members Mitch Connelly (drums), Clay MacDonald (bass, xylophone, recorder), and Mat McHugh (lead vocals and lead guitars). Prior to the group’s formation McHugh acted as a solo artist in New York City, but did not stay there for long. Once he returned to Sydney he immediately started to construct demos for The Beautiful Girls. In 2002 the group released two EPs, their 8 track “Morning Sun”, and “Goodtimes”. Both EPs were issued trough their own self-funded independent label, which was distributed by MGM.

Their studio debut “Learn Yourself” saw release on 22 September 2003 and featured Brushfire Records recording artist Mason Jennings as well as Soul Asylum drummer Ian Mussington. The group (now a three piece) promoted the album with live dates in Canada, the US, and Japan.

Following this tour the band issued their EP “Weight of the World”, which took a change of pace, heading in a more dance oriented and hip-hop influenced direction. The band supported the EP with a tour of Australia and recruited the aid of Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Felipe Kmiecik. Kmieck also appeared on their 2nd studio album “We’re Already Gone”, contributing keyboards, melodica, and harmonica. This release though darker and musically complex than their previous albums proved to be incredibly successful, reaching No. 19 on the ARIA Albums Chart.

In 2006 the group put out the compilation album “Water” and the following year Connelly, MacDonald, and Kmiecik left the band leaving McHugh as the sole original member. Despite the drastic line up change the newly revised Beautiful Girls issued one of their most popular albums to date “Ziggurats”, which entered the Australian albums chart at No. 21 and featured the hit single “I Thought About You”.

McHugh took a break from the band in 2008 to focus on his solo career, but returned in 2010 to put out their 4th studio album “Spooks”. The album launched to No. 18 on the ARIA Albums Chart, No.7 on the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart and No.1 on the Australian Independent Chart.

The Beautiful Girls perform a special tour preiview at the inaugural WineFolk festival this December the picturesque backdrop of Mornington Peninsula’s breathtaking ‘Briars’ homestead and wildlife reserve, warming up for a National tour in Jan packed full of all their greatest hits.

So, what do you do when you release an album like Seaside Highlife, Greatest Hits Volume I ? You take it to the people, large as life and twice as much fun. “We’re basically going play the album – four sides, double vinyl – all of it, in order but we’ll also rotate some songs off other records every night, which will be really nice” said The Beautiful Girls frontman Mat McHugh of their pending tour.

“In putting this record together there hasn’t been a corner cut, artistically, and I’m approaching the tour in the same way. I want to really celebrate what’s been achieved and have a party before I begin the next volume. It’s gonna be like the Rolling Thunder Revue! It’s just going to be like this traveling circus through Australia in the summertime, which is completely befitting really. It’s exactly the environment for The Beautiful Girls. It’s the perfect way to spend summer.”

Winefolk is a new music and wine event, presented by Red Hill Estate in conjunction with Scarlett Mac Events, festival Musical Director and Pearls’ own music guru Simon Mills, the team behind the popular Peninsula VineHop Festival.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Lisa and the team to bring this event to life,” said Frank Fabrizio, owner of Red Hill Estate. “We’re celebrating 30 years of Red Hill Estate this year, so wanted to mark it by sharing our love of wine, music and the Mornington Peninsula.”

Lisa said the event is about showcasing great Australian music alongside Peninsula-based wine, beer and cider producers.

“We’re proud to showcase some of the best wine, beer and cider producers on the Peninsula,” said Lisa. “Jetty Road Brewery, Mornington Peninsula Brewery, Red Hill Brewery, Ten Sixty One Cider and Two Bays Beer will be joining us at Winefolk alongside Red Hill Estate.”

“Think chilled summer vibes, top-notch wine, beer, cider and delicious food. It will be a fun, memorable day out – and an easy way to get family and friends together for an end-of-year catch up!” said Lisa.

“Early bird tickets have already sold out, so we encourage anyone thinking about coming along to book their tickets soon.”

Winefolk promises to be a magical, musical experience amongst nature, escaping the concrete jungle, for those with exquisite taste in music, , nature and fine wine, Saturday 7 December at The Briars. Tickets are on sale now.

All the details: Winefolk

Saturday 7 December 2019
Gates 1pm, Music 2–8pm
The Briars, 450 Nepean Highway, Mount Martha

Winefolk is an 18+ event.

Early bird tickets are sold out. General Admission tickets from $96 + booking fee. VIP packages available, $280 + booking fee.


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