Stereosonic Sydney: LIVE review

Wow Stereosonic, is all I can really say. The annual electronic-dance festival is held across Australia, cropping up in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne and is currently Australia’s biggest and fasting growing music festival. This year on Saturday 28th November I was off to check out the famous dance festival I had heard so much about. A lot of it had been positive, but many people I met had warned me of the typical ‘Stereosonic crowd’, stating that the festival was notoriously rowdy, full of groups of muscled guys searching for a fight and over-made-up bikini-clad girls seeking attention.

However with a line-up boasting the likes of trance king Armin Van Burren, Swedish dance duo Axwell ^ Ingrosso and electronic music squad Major Lazer, there was no way a few Chinese whispers would sway me from dancing the night away to some of the world’s most impressive dance acts.

And as we flitted through the entry gates, donning clichéd neon paint and flower headbands, I wasn’t worried at all. Sure, there was a lot of bare skin on show, but isn’t there always at a festival? And besides, it is the start of one of Australia’s (hopefully?) super-scorching summers.

After grabbing an (extremely over-priced) can of cider, we made a beeline for the main stage to catch Swedish electronic music duo Galantis set. It was early on in the day and already the mood was electric, with the crowd dancing along to the beat rampantly. Their catchy 2014 hit single ‘Runaway (U & I) caused the whole mob of fans to sing (or scream) along to the lyrics and we all danced along ridiculously to the tune. The atmospheric was euphoric, and I couldn’t help but feel really, really happy. So far so good!

Dutch brothers Showtek took to the main stage next and they sure managed to carry the crowd along with their thumping rhythms and blinding neon visuals. Their impressive hit single ‘Bad’, produced with EDM legend David Guetta, really hit the crowd running, prompting insane amounts of rapid arm waving and extremely vigorous jumping. The music paired with the enthusiasm of the crowd, the colourful showering confetti and the rather humorous inflatables being chucked around (there was a ‘naked woman’ floating through the crowd at one point) made the scene feel absolutely surreal (no, really). Another fantastic set.

It was soon time for Australian electronic duo Peking Duk, and I was eager to have a listen. They were a pair I had only really heard about since arriving in Australia but their name had risen up a fair few times in conversation. I was quickly impressed – the music was exhilarating, feeling like the beat was running tingling through your body. Their single ‘High’ proved to be very popular, with the crowds clapping and singing along to the catchy vocals and bopping along in time. My favourite part of the set involved an incredibly interesting remix of The Lion King’s ‘Circle of life’. I honestly hadn’t heard anything like it before!

Next up was a big one – the notoriously wild EDM group Major Lazer. Having seen them live before, I mentally prepared myself for a crazy performance that may involve me being hurled through the crowd. We certainly weren’t disappointed and were treated to a concoction of exciting interactions including the likes of lead member Diplo crowd surfing across the masses in a zorb ball (!!), scantily-clad dancers dancing vigorously in time to the music and strict instructions for the men of the crowd to whip off their shirts and chuck them high, high into in the air. Ending their set with everyone’s favourite chart-topper ‘Lean on’, I felt satisfied that once again Major Lazer had proven they are one of the most fun and exciting dance acts out there – their continuous interaction with the crowd really is something else.­­

Utterly hooked into the main stage (who can blame us really with that line up), it was Axwell Λ Ingrosso (Swedish House Mafia reformed without Steve Angelo) up next. In all honestly, I was absolutely captivated from the start and their set proved to be my favourite of the whole festival. ‘Barricade’ engrossed the crowd with a long and tantalizing lead up, along with crowd favourites such as ‘On my way’ and ‘Something’. The atmosphere made me feel completely and utterly encompassed in the music and their feel-good hit single ‘Sun is shining’, teamed with fantastic visuals and sky-high flames was a highlight of the set.

Finally, it was time for trance royalty Armin Van Buuren to take to the stage. As usual he was absolutely phenomenal, treating his dedicated supporters to crowd favourites such as the catchy ‘Another you’ along with hidden gems such as the Dan Stone rework of ‘See the sun’. With eye-blindingly amazing visuals, countless bursts of confetti and insane lighting it was an absolutely amazing show to be part of, and crowds and crowds of fans had gathered to dance away to the dance legend. A suprise appearance from singer/songwriter/producter Mr Probz was also hugely welcomed and he joined Armin to treat the crowd to his massive 2013 hit 'Waves'.

Towards the end of the set we were shaken up with the psychedelic and fast-thudding ‘Vini vici’ by The Tribe, before an emotional W&W remix of ‘This is what it feels like’, arguably Armin’s most commercial and most popular hit. I found the slow and dramatic version of the hit rather mushy and melodramatic but didn’t mind too much at all. The whole crowd was singing along zealously, hands clapping and arms waving and it really did feel like the end of something truly amazing. The song concluded with fantastic flashing lights, thumping drops and a spectacle of colourful fireworks. A fantastic end to an incredibly memorable day and night.

Stereosonic – I am utterly impressed and you exceeded my expectations fully. There will always be some rough crowds at music festivals but personally I didn’t even experience that at all and to me, it seemed all about the music.

Australian dance music festival Stereosonic’s international line-up for November 2015

The incredible bill consists of hugely successful electronic artists that have dominated music, radio and streaming charts across the globe. The artists featured in this year’s festival include Grammy, Billboard and ARIA Award winners who have performed on major international stages throughout the world, and at the most prestigious clubs and festivals.

Major Lazer was the first artist announced on Sunday, 12 July 2015 as one of the headlining acts this year. Major Lazer is arguably the biggest act in electronic music, and with their incredible track ‘Lean On’ receiving over 2.5 million streams on Spotify daily and achieving a #1 chart position in Australia, they are looking forward to bringing their energetic live show to Stereosonic this year.

Joining Major Lazer on the international line-up is Armin Van Buuren, Axwell^Ingrosso, DJ Snake, Duke Dumont (live), Galantis, Clean Bandit and more.

Armin van Buuren, the five-time winner of DJ Mag’s Top 100 artist DJ poll eagerly awaits his return to Australia, remarking, “I can’t wait to be back in one of the countries I love the most in the world! I’m really looking forward to seeing all my Australian fans again at Stereosonic!




Billboard Award winning artist, DJ Snake has taken the world by storm in the last 18 months, with his track ‘Turn Down for What’. The Frenchman’s debut performance at Stereosonic last year has become legendary and he is planning his triumphant return, adding, “I’m excited to be coming back to Australia and play at Stereosonic. It’s always a good time.

Australian artists joining the bill that have enjoyed local chart success and international recognition include; Peking Duk, MaRLo, What So Not, Will Sparks, Hot Dub Time Machine, Timmy Trumpet, Tigerlily, Generik, Slumberjack and Carmada.

The 2015 line-up has consciously been curated to meet the tastes of various types of electronic music fans, with the introduction of arenas to create genre specific environments. The arenas are – Stereo, Sonic, ATLANTIS, The Woods and Beatport. They will showcase acts from various genres including commercial, house, trap, bass, trance, electronica, techno and deep house music.

Stereosonic was recently awarded 2014 Favourite Touring Festival in Australia and will return to its original festival format this year with a jam-packed one-day event. Totem Onelove Group has ensured the ticket price is great value, starting at $129.95 (plus booking fee). The ‘Good Times Embassy' upgrade tickets (does not include Stereosonic ticket) are available for $60.00 (plus booking fee) and ' The Palms' VIP tickets will be priced at $280 (plus booking fee) and are only available in Sydney and Melbourne.

Stereosonic 2015 National Line-up (Arena by Arena)


Armin van Buuren

Axwell ^ Ingrosso

Major Lazer Live


Peking Duk

Oliver Heldens

Galantis Live




DJ Snake

Duke Dumont Live **


What So Not

Clean Bandit Live*






Gareth Emery

Andrew Rayel


Andrew Bayer

Emma Hewitt Live*

Mark Sherry

Jason Ross

Special Guest Headhunterz

The Woods


Claptone Immortal Live*

Claude VonStroke*

Hannah Wants*

Patrick Topping*

Shiba San*

Cut Snake*



Will Sparks

Hot Dub Time Machine

Timmy Trumpet


Jessie Andrews


All artists will be appearing exclusively at Stereosonic Sydney.

There will be no sideshows for Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane.

** Not playing live in Brisbane

*Not playing in Adelaide

Sydney, Saturday November 28, Sydney Showground

Perth, Sunday November 29, Claremont Showground*

Melbourne, Saturday December 5, Melbourne Showgrounds

Adelaide, Saturday December 5, Bonython Park

Brisbane, Sunday December 6, Brisbane Showgrounds

*Subject to council approval

Stereosonic’s official ticketing partner in 2015 is Moshtix.

Tickets on sale now at