The best of the fest

The St Kilda Festival is the southern hemisphere’s biggest street festival. Over nine days, about 500,000 people flock to the Esplanade to enjoy markets, kids activities, indigenous culture and some of the best food Melbourne has to offer. But for most people, it’s all about Festival Sunday, billed as Australia’s biggest free music festival. Famous for launching the careers of new artists as well as giving punters – who come from far and wide – the chance to see some of Australia’s biggest acts, Festival Sunday is the best music festival you don’t have to pay for. If you’re not sure who to catch on the day, music fan Michael Ryan has done the hard work for you ...

OH MERCY, main stage, 2.30pm-3.15pm

Oh Mercy is still soaking up critical acclaim for its 2012 album Deep Heat (and 2011’s Great Barrier Grief, for that matter). Last week the band played the Sydney Opera House and Hamer Hall with The Waterboys and next week it sets off on an Australian tour with folk troubadour Father John Misty. In between, you can catch its energetic live set on the main stage.

HIATUS KAIYOTE, O’Donnell Gardens, 3.30pm-4.15pm 

Along with bands like The Bamboos and Saskwatch, Hiatus Kaiyote are spearheading Melbourne’s burgeoning soul scene. Erykah Badu, Questlove and Odd Future are fans and it recently won the Breakthrough Artist of 2012 award at the Worldwide Awards in the UK. Bring your dancing shoes for this one.

CACTUS CHANNEL, O’Donnell Gardens, 4.45pm–5.30pm 

This bunch of teenagers (yes, teenagers) are the next Melbourne soul band about to go large. Its mostly instrumental tunes sound like the soundtrack to a Tarantino film. One of the most fascinating things about seeing the band is wondering how musicians this young can have such an expert knowledge of jazz and soul. They credit YouTube for that.

CLIENT LIAISON, New Music stage, 5.50pm-6.20pm 

File this under novelty satirical pop. Client Liaison got plenty of attention in 2012 with the film clip for its OTT synth-laden track End of the Earth, which managed to fit every Australian stereotype ever into a video Tourism Australia would be proud of. Don’t miss this if you like your synth-pop served with tongue firmly in cheek.

LOON LAKE, O’Donnell Gardens, 6pm-6.45pm 

The group don’t even have a debut album out yet but that hasn’t stopped these fuzz-rockers, made up of three brothers and two friends, from building a solid fanbase off two EPs. Loon Lake just scored the #29 spot in the Hottest 100, too – not bad for a band that started out in Tarrawingee, outside Wangaratta.

THE CAT EMPIRE, Main stage, 7.45–8.45pm 

The Cat Empire returns from a long hiatus to once again headline Festival Sunday. It’s been a long time and Felix, Harry and the Empire Horns will be in full swing and ready to get the huge crowd sweaty as the sun sets over Port Phillip Bay. Don’t miss this. It’s sure to be a landmark St Kilda Festival gig.

JUGGERNAUT DJ's, Main stage, 9.15pm-10pm

Cosmic rock duo Midnight Juggernauts will see out Festival Sunday with one of their world-renowned DJ sets. They've remixed for Sebastien Tellier, Johnny Cash, PVT and Tame Impala and put on quite a show.

Happy Festival!

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