80's collection

Remember that time in the 80s when Australia was the custodian of the Americas Cup, the Prime Minister held the world record for skulling a yard glass, Peter Brock was king of the mountain, digital watches were all the rage, there was a great band playing in almost every pub, and it looked like Aussie and Kiwi bands were going to rule the international music scene for ever? Step back in time to that magical place with all the songs you know and love with the superb voices of Paul “Slatts” Slattery and Kate Madden while indulging in some of the best beer Australia has to offer today.

At the Ballarat Beer Festival.
Celebrating beer.
Celebrating music.
Celebrating life.
Celebrating Australia.


Blues Roulette had become a Melbourne Blues Instititution. After three years at The Catfish, it has established itself as your only call Wednesday night blues hang. The house band, anchored by Melbourne bass player Ben Wicks, is kept on their toes by a new guest each and every week. No charts, no rehearsal, no safety net… just the blues! Former guests have included more than 50 Australian and International blues artists, including Lloyd Spiegel, Geoff Achison, Jimi Hocking, Charlie A’Court and Irish Mythen.

According to Ben, “The thing that’s exciting about Blues Roulette is seeing artists out of their comfort zone. Because it’s artists that aren’t used to working together, you get the excitement and anticipation of a first date or a first encounter. There’s chemistry. It’s not pain by numbers. Players have to really listen to each other. In my opinion real artistry is improvising and the fearlessness it takes to trust players you’ve never met. That’s what Blues Roulette is all about. It’s a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ situation.”

The Blues Roulette House band for this tour will feature Ben Wicks on Bass, Chad Blaster on drums and Ollie Rolfe on keys.

   Christina Croft

With an extensive playing history Christina continues to work relentlessly on her music gaining critical acclaim for her recent recording ‘Like We Used’ remaining in the top 25 on the ABARAC charts for 6 months. Christina is highly regarded for her live performances and guitar prowess.

Michael Smith has this to say:

With a supercharged power kick-in-the-head of slide guitar, the new EP, Like We Used To, from Sydney blues-rock singer, songwriter and guitarist Christina Crofts immediately asserts her place back in the spotlight with the defiant Breakaway, a tune based on a riff originally recorded some 25 years ago by her late husband, guitar-singer extraordinaire Steve Crofts.

Having made her stand, Christina then allows her more playful side to step out with the title track, a sassy celebration of the joyous abandon of just getting out there and livin’, lovin’ and rockin’ out, and to hell with society’s crap.

   Cass Eager

Named by folk-blog Timber and Steel as ‘Janis Joplin and Ben Harper’s love-child’, Cass Eager’s mix of raw blues, husky soul and lighthearted ditties are all punctuated with her unique whisky-soaked vocals. Emotive, slightly raspy, at times tender and at times powerful – Eager’s voice is the driving force of her music.

Internationally-renowned but defiantly grassroots, Cass Eager is one of those rare artists that’s mastered everything from the foot-stomping blues to a sensual slow burner. She’s been called ‘one of the best female singers in Australia’ by Richard Glover (ABC), and even Diesel claims she could ‘sing the phone book to you and you wouldn’t get bored’.

Eager’s music has taken her to some of the world’s far-flung and unexpected places and afforded her some incredible experiences. Performing ‘tours of duty’ for the Australian Army troops she’s been to Egypt, East Timor, the Middle East and the Solomon Islands. She’s also travelled through North America and Canada on multiple tours. A finalist for best band and best vocalist in the Australian Blues Music ‘Chain’ Awards and Blues/Roots category of MusicOz Awards, the band’s latest release ‘Down On My Knees’ was voted ‘Top 10 Album’ of the year in Rhythms Magazine.

   PJ O’Brien

PJ O’Brien knows how to get a Blues party started.

Driven by PJ’s fat and funky guitar and accompanied by his smooth, soul-filled vocals, PJ’S music is receiving widespread acclaim. His Blues exude both a retro and modern feel, delivering award-winning songwriting and spine-tingling dynamics. Tom Hyslop of Blues Revue USA has labelled PJ ‘a talent to watch’ and Al Hensley of Rhythms Magazine Australia recently named him ‘one of the brightest talents to emerge on the Aussie Blues scene in a long while….an international blues star on the rise’.

PJ’s most recent album, Jefferson Blues debuted at No. 1 on the Australian Blues and Roots Airplay Chart. It held the top place for two months and spent the next four months in the top 3. The CD has received fantastic reviews in Australia, the UK and has featured in Blues Revue (USA), Blues Blast (USA), Blues Matters (UK), Classic Rock’s ‘Blues’ (UK), Rhythms (AUS) FHM (AUS) and Australian Guitar.

PJ has won numerous music awards over the years and has twice represented the Sydney Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN, reaching the 2017 semi-finals from a field of one hundred and twenty American and International acts.

He has played multiple times at Australia’s premier Blues festivals such as Blues at Bridgetown (WA), Great Southern Blues Festival (NSW), Thredbo Blues Festival (NSW) Gympie Muster (QLD), Darling Harbour Jazz and Blues Festival (NSW), Blues on Broadbeach (QLD) Echuca Winter Blues Festival (VIC) and the Australian Blues Music Festival (NSW), as well as top Sydney music venues including the Basement, The Vanguard and the Factory Theatre.

Best Blues Artist – Musicoz Awards (2004)
Performer of the Year – Sydney Blues Society (2005)
Best New Talent – Australian Blues Festival ‘Chain’ Awards (2006)
Song of the Year – Australian Blues Festival ‘Chain’ Awards (2006)
Sydney Blues Society Rep – International Blues Challenge, Memphis USA (2006)
Semi-finalist – Compo10 International Blues Song writing Contest (2007)
Group Of The Year – Australian Blues Festival ‘Chain’ Awards (2013)
Semi-finalist – International Blues Challenge , Memphis TN (2017)

   Frank Sultana

Frank Sultana has been writing, recording and performing his original brand of blues since his 2011 debut.He is a storyteller in the traditional sense, with four full length albums and three eps released to date and two more due for release in 2019. Inspired by the greats like Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Skip James and Son House, Franks songs are sad, dark and hopeful, awash with primitive guitar tones, and a raw soulful voice that bleeds with the experiences of the characters he sings about.

The East coast touring run between Melbourne and Brisbane has been well trodden over the last 8 years, both solo and with band, racking up over 70 shows a year. He’s shared the bill with many great artists, including international acts (Gary Clarke Jnr, Tony Joe White, Canned Heat, the New Power Generation) and local artists (Diesel, Kingswood, Dallas Frasca, Mojo Juju) amongst many others.


The Justin Yap Band are a soul, funk, and blues band from Melbourne, Australia. The band garnered national attention with their 2016 release ‘Let Love’, drawing influences from the sounds of Muscle Shoals, New Orleans, and 70’s soul. The songs were written by the band and tackled social issues while serving up grooves in spades, winning the band an Australian Blues Music Award and a No. 1  spot on the Australian Blues Charts.

Since then they have been wowing audiences with their live show at festivals and tours around the country, trademarked by Nardia’s powerhouse singing, Justin’s fiery guitar, and the soul-stomping grooves of the band. June 2018 saw the release of the Justin Yap Band’s first live album ‘Live in Newcastle’ which debuted at No. 2 on the Australian Blues Charts and captured the intensity and chemistry of the band’s live sound. Going further with what they started on ‘Let Love’, the band is currently writing and preparing for their next studio album to be released in 2019.

Justin Yap – Guitar
Nardia Brancatisano – Vocals – her band Soul Chic has supported the likes of Beyonce and Pink
Ollie Rolfe – Keys
Ben Wicks – Bass Guitar – Blues Roulette – it just says it all
Cameron Smith – Drums – Pseudo Echo

Kelly Auty

A child of the outback and a ‘Kimberley dreamer’, Kelly Auty is first, and foremost, an entertainer. Living now in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, she has a reputation as an energetic singing and songwriting dynamo. Renowned as a powerful vocalist and an inspiring performer, she delivers outstanding shows in her distinctive style.

Kelly is equally impressive across Blues, Gospel, R&B, Soul, Rock, Country and French Chanson genres. For those who have seen and heard Kelly perform live, the passion and power of her recorded work will come as no surprise. Kelly’s work can only be described as honest and heartfelt, earthy and inspiring. As an independent artist, Kelly not only manages her own career, she also manages and features other creative musicians, composers and producers


What do you get when nine of Victoria’s most exciting young musicians get together to form a band?

You get Butterfunked! Formed in 2017, Butterfunked has been taking the region by storm. Born out of Ballarat High School, one of Victoria’s leading music schools, this group of really talented young adults will knock your socks off. Witness some of the best emerging talent around.



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Gallagher's Friday Night Degustation Dinner

Held the night before the festival, Gallagher’s Friday Night Degustation Dinner provides the best opportunity to mix and mingle with the brewers as you enjoy a delicious 5 course menu served with perfectly matched beers. Hosted by The Beer Diva and Professor Pilsner, the degustation dinner is a huge night on the Australian beer calendar and not to be missed. Tickets are sold separately to the main festival. When tickets go on sale click through to the ticketing page to reserve your spot. The dinner tends to sell out early, so start organising your friends early.

Food & Wine

Food and Wine

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Food Stalls

Hawkers Brewery present the Hawkers Food Garden.

  • Benny Burger
  • Chata Polska
  • East India Trading Company
  • GoGo Icecream
  • Just Chips
  • Marinated Lamb
  • Mr Squidgy Calamari
  • Slinky Spuds
  • Slinky’s Seafood Shack
  • Opa Greek Food
  • The Forge Pizzeria
  • The Healthy Hub Cafe
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  • Taltarni
  • Blue Pyrenees

Education Classes and Games

Beer Education Classes

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The Sessions

Get your Master’s Degree in Beerology with the esteemed Professor Pilsner and Beer Diva. Prizes and samples will be on offer throughout the day so make sure you pop by and learn a thing or three. All sessions offer free samples.

12pm – Charcuterie/Food/Beer Pairing
1pm – Meet the Newbies
2pm – Cheese/Beer Pairings
3pm – Kontroversy Korner

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About Professor Pilsner

Professor Pilsner (aka Pete Mitcham) is the Editor In Chief of The Critics’ Choice – Australia’s Best Beers, a contributor to The Beer Lover’s Guide to Australia, and host of beer dinners and tastings through his company, Beer Blokes. A conversation with Prof Pilsner is a rich, bubbly journey through beer’s ongoing evolution.

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Beer Diva, Kirrily Waldhorn has been involved in the industry for 20 years. She is one of Australia’s go to beer educators and is Dan Murphy’s Beer Ambassador. With experience in presenting on radio, TV and a heady list of consultancy, writing and judging in the beer industry, she brings 15 years’ worth of brewing knowledge to the classroom.


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Beer Trivia

Gloat over your extensive beer knowledge by taking part in our beer trivia hosted by the infamous quiz master ‘Spud’. There will be 2 sessions held over the day, each with different beery topics and questions. From great beer cinema moments through to our proud Aussie brewing history, your bound to get your thinking muscles working. Prizes will be awarded.

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Musical Bingo

Ok, so it’s not beer related, but it is crazy fun! Think of it as a cross between group flash-dancing karaoke and lip sync battle. Come along and join the off-key singing, two left feet dancing or just be an amused bystander. Prizes will be awarded.

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Joe White Bocce Battle

In the tradition of the local Maltsters vs. Brewers Cricket matches of the early 1900s, Joe White Maltings is celebrating 160 years of malting in Ballarat with a Cricket style Bocce Battle.

Step up to the crease for your chance to win spot prizes all afternoon. Maltsters, brewers and festival goers are all welcome to compete in the Ballarat Bocce Ashes!

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vets on call event

Vets on Call is the mobile app that brings the veterinarian to you. Their team of Vets from across the country visit your dog or cat in the comfort of your own home, offering high quality, stress free vet care for you & your best friend, 365 days per year.

Simply show Vets on Call their mobile app on your phone to go in the draw to win a Doggy Hamper, valued at $100.

Competitions & Awards

Competitions & Awards

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On the day of the festival, download the our app and get voting for your favourite brew

1. Search for “Event Portal for Eventbrite” in the Apple or Google store on your device.
2. Make sure to accept notifications when prompted. You will receive reminders during the day of the events you have listed to attend.
3. Enter the event code “ballaratbeer19”

The brewer with the highest score will win a trophy and one lucky voter will win a 6 pack of the winning brew for their troubles.


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You may have heard about our quest to find Ballarat’s greatest home brewer. A group of expert home brewers will be entering their liquid gold into the competition to be crowned Ballarat’s greatest home brewer.

Judging and awards will be presented on the main stage in front of thousands with the champion brewer winning a commercial brew at Fed Uni!



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The brewery with the best looking stand will win this award, judged by festival sponsor Bintani, who have also proudly supplied the trophy.



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Don’t forget to dress up! The best dressed punter will win a picnic hamper for 2 to enjoy on the day – provided by local business Wilsons Fruit & Vegetables. The winner will be announced around midday.


Kids Zone

Kids Zone

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Animal Farm

Farmer Darryl and his cuddly friends are visiting Ballarat Beer Festival, giving our youngest visitors the chance to get close with some of our most common farm animals, including a calf, baby lambs, baby goats, piglets, geese, chickens and baby rabbits.

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Face painting

No family festival is complete without face painting!