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Byron Shire
February 26, 2021

Ukitopia Festival headliners return home on wave of success

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Anyone in the audience the night Kalyani Mumtaz made her festival debut as a 13-year-old at 2010’s Ukitopia Festival would not be surprised to hear she is returning as a headliner for this year’s event this weekend, on the back of a whirlwind couple of years.

In 2010 she performed solo, opening at a Songwriters on the Songline event, performing original compositions in her ethereal voice and playing keys.

At this year’s Ukitopia Festival, Kalyani – who is now based in Melbourne but still has roots in Murwillumbah – will be performing as one half of Willow Beats, the electronic/dance duo she shares with her uncle Narayana Johnson.

The duo’s appearance comes off the back of a national tour supporting Owl Eyes, as well as their own sold-out tour in May 2013 to launch their second EP Alchemy.

willowbeats-forest-dressWillow Beats continues to get huge love from Triple J and music blogs, a fact that has been instrumental in their playing festivals such as ParkLife (as Triple J Unearthed winners), Fat as Butter, Leaps and Bounds, OutsideIn and the recently announced lineup for Falls Festival in Lorne.

Ukitopia Festival director Jodi Jo Liddell said Ukitopia had a strong tradition of supporting young performers and giving them an opportunity to perform alongside more established acts.

Another young band who are coming back to Ukitopia for the third time this year are Lifeline. Now 16 years old, these lads have been performing together since they were 11.

Like Willow Beats, they’ve had their fair share of enviable festival slots, playing Byron Bluesfest, Splendour in the Grass, Mullumbimby Music Festival, Island Vibes and Vibadelix. They have supported Lisa Hunt, Stonefield, The Beautiful Girls and Tin Pan Orange.

Lifeline is currently working on a debut EP and one of their tracks reached number one on the Triple J Unearthed roots charts in 2012.

‘It is a fundamental part of what the Ukitopia Arts Collective is about, to give young people the opportunity to perform and to be mentored by other, more experienced artists and practitioners in the community,’ says Jodi Jo. ‘And as we have seen several young artists go on to enjoy national success it’s a recipe we think is paying off.’

Jodi said the festival was also proud this year to support emerging live electronic music producer JGrae, a DJ to keep an eye out for. This local youth act is an all-original beat producer strongly influenced by ambient trance, hip-hop and chunk.

Other artists on the Ukitopia Festival lineup this year include Kerri-Anne Cox, Lil’ Fi and the Candy Apples/Wednesday Girls, Loren, Murray Kyle, Andrea Soler, Lifeline, Thami, The Kellie Gang, Milan Martin, Kyle Lionhart, Imandan, Wendy Grace’s Misty Mountain Singers, Elizabeth Lord, Lifeline, Elias, Harmony, Wall of Love, Elevene, The Deva Tree and many more.

The free, family-friendly festival will also feature the Images of Uki art exhibition, spoken word and performance with Thomas Bailey’s Word Weavers, roving performance, jugglers, circus, art and craft workshops and half-day and full-day Arts in the Mountains workshops.

For a full program and details: www.ukitopiaartscollective.com.


Find this and many other great gigs in Echonetdaily’s North Coast Gig Guide.




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