Four of the most iconic names in Australian music, Grace Knight, Wendy Matthews, Richard Clapton and GANGgajang lead the music line-up for this year’s Festival of Food and Wine at the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers. They will be joined over the three days by Sarah Blasko, Ash Grunwald along with The Beautiful Girls and in a highlight for 2021, nine local music-makers will take to the stage in a 50/50 split between feature and local acts.

Since its inception in 1949, the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers has flourished and was introduced as a way for the city to use its “Garden City” reputation to promote increased economic activity following the hardships of war. On 21 October 1950, the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers commenced with a street procession that stretched three miles in length. Led by a bullock team and watched by a crowd estimated to be 50,000 strong, it was a resounding success, as it has been ever since.

Opening on Friday 10 September is 22-year-old Toowoomba singer-songwriter, James Ryle, well known and followed locally.  The Brisbane indie pop rock band The Jensens then take to the stage. A festival-favourite, they have just launched their second album, ‘Hammer & Blush’ after dropping singles including the explosive new dancefloor filler, ‘Paper Walls’.

Then it’s Sydney-based duo Lily and Grace Richardson, aka CLEWS, famed for their candied grunge, lush harmonies and cool songwriting as featured on their successful 2018 debut ‘Museum’, and powerful singles 'Crushed' and this year's 'Overluck'. Brisbane’s Holy Holy close Friday night, with duo Oscar Dawson and Tim Carroll performing new works plus highlights from their album, ‘My Own Pool of Light’, ARIA-nominated for Best Rock Album and received a J Award nomination for Album of The Year.

Saturday opens with talented young Toowoomba indie-pop music maker Meg Beth. The multi-instrumentalist was awarded a coveted spot in the Big Sky Girls Songwriting program in 2018 and won the USQ Get Songwriting prize in 2018 and 2019. Local contemporary vocalist and songwriter Kent Tonscheck also hits the stage on Saturday.

From 2pm later in the day ex Toowoomba, now Brisbane’s alt-pop Beamish Brothers take over. The two brothers, who used to join their opera-singing mum on stage as kids, have gained international acclaim for harmonising with fresh songwriting ideas that celebrate their signature acoustic style. They hand the stage to Brisbane musicians Fat Picnic, a soul-reggae festival favourite who promise to get the Saturday night party started.

Legendary Australian rock band GANGgajang then perform. For 30 years this acoustic-loving band have made iconic Australian music and in 2021 welcome a new generation of fans after every performance. Then, it’s time for music royalty, firstly with Grace Knight and Wendy Matthews in their first show together celebrating the songs of Paul Simon,

Knight and Matthews are two of the most iconic and beloved singers in Australian music. They’re both multi-award winning artists with a swag of Countdown, MTV & ARIA awards between them and a bundle of platinum albums under their belt. In their first show together, they present the songs of one of the world’s greatest living songwriters - Paul Simon, performing Sounds of Silence, Homeward Bound, Bridge Over Trouble Water, You Can Call Me Al, Diamonds on The Soles of Her Shoes and Graceland.

Richard Clapton then rounds out the night. This ARIA Hall of Fame inductee is one of the country’s foremost singer/songwriters and one who paved the way for generations of songwriters who write about the experience of being Australian. 

It’ll be a day and night of incredible sounds in Queens Park.

On Sunday the stage opens with local singing-songwriting talent, the Jasmine Aleisha Duo, then the brilliantly named three-piece groove-rock band Fenny and the Mets, before local 3 piece band Van Lil Band. From 3pm on Sunday the Brisbane-based six-piece Open Season share their exciting new wave of country folk, a marriage of traditional folk and modern country! Then one of Australia’s most captivating music storytellers takes to the stage in blues musician and five-time ARIA nominated, Ash Grunwald. 

Ash is followed by Sydney’s The Beautiful Girls, a folk, soul, jazz, hip hop and roots group founded by Mat McHugh, Clay MacDonald and Mitchell Connelly whose last four albums all peaked in the top 20 on the ARIA charts.

Closing Sunday night – and the Festival of Food and Wine– is Sarah Blasko. Sarah holds the rare position in Australia of having an unparalleled six-album run of genre-defining indie-rock and art-pop, as well as countless award nominations, three ARIA awards and Triple J’s Album Of The Year for ‘As Day Follows Night’.

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers 2021
1 – 30 September 2021