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Secret Garden Festival: H&E’s Artist Picks

For the past couple years we’ve documented Sydney’s Secret Garden as our favourite small camping festival in the country. With just a couple weeks until the 2017 edition, we’re counting down the days with baited breath.

A lot of what makes this festival so fun is the atmosphere – the small-ish crowd who, for the most part, are one of the most laid back, tolerant and dickhead-free in the country; the magical mystery feel of it all, with decorated bushland, hidden stages and quirky activities; the dress-up theme which absolutely everyone indulges in (Royal Rave this year, in case you’re wondering), and the overall feel-good vibes generally do just make it a great weekend for all involved. But it’s also a music festival, and there’s a tonne of great Australian acts on offer across all genres. One thing I love is that even the biggest stage is pretty small compared to your average multi-day festival, so you get a much more intimate experience than the norm.

The lineup has been curated to feature some of the country’s favourite live performers, and here’s our picks for must-see sets at Secret Garden 2017.

B Wise

B Wise was our favourite new local rapper to emerge last year. Not only did he release his critically acclaimed debut EP Semi-Pro, he showed us his prowess as a live performer, with support slots for artists including Vince Staples, ScHoolboy Q and Freddie Gibbs. Each time we seem him live, we’re blown away by his energy, positivity and confidence – don’t miss it, we doubt he’ll be playing on small stages for much longer.

The Cactus Channel

You may not be super familiar with The Cactus Channel, but that’s likely going to change pretty soon. Having already turned heads in the industry, nabbing collaborations with Chet Faker Nick Murphy and Sam Cromack of Ball Park Music, with whom they will be releasing a full collaborative EP later this year, their unique production, brassy rhythms and soulful, layered melodies will undoubtedly make for one of the most fun sets at Secret Garden – and who knows, maybe they’ll even bring a special guest or two.

Total Giovanni

If you’ve ever caught the on-stage party that is a Total Giovanni live set, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about. The festival favourites bring the funk, the beats, the volume and a serious load of dancing. With matching outfits, an incredible stage presence and the obvious, immediate feeling that the band are having a tonne of fun on stage, it’s impossible to not get swept away into a musical frenzy when these guys are on stage.


Hip-hop veteran Urthboy has long been known as one of the most dynamic and exciting live artist on the scene for years. He’s been around for longer than most, but his music and on-stage presence is as intense and energetic as ever, with a vitality unmatched by many of his younger peers. Having just released a killer new single, Urthboy is gearing up for a national tour in March, right after Secret Garden. As one of the only live hip-hop acts on this year’s bill, we can’t wait to see what’s in store.

Donny Benet

Donny Benet has been a constant force in the quirkier, more eclectic side of things in the Sydney scene for years. First coming to attention with Jack Ladder and the Dreamlanders, he signed to Plastic World last year, and has since been showcasing his more funky, retro, bass-driven electronic side through remixes, festivals and other live dates. Get down to his set and get ready to sweat.

Tickets are sold out, but you can find more info, including the full lineup at Secret Garden’s official website. Check out a festival playlist below for more music!

Image: Instagram