King of the mountains

Reversing the traditional hibernation cycle and coming out while the snow is only starting to fall, Blue King Brown are set to headline this year's Perisher Snowy Mountains of Music festival.

Leaving an extended period spent tucked away making their third long-player, singer Natalie Pa'apa'a says she is hungry to show attendees why her band has made their name playing festivals across the world.

Blue King Brown are set to headline this year's Perisher Snowy Mountains of Music festival.
Blue King Brown are set to headline this year's Perisher Snowy Mountains of Music festival. 

''Festival shows are where Blue King Brown cut their teeth. That's where we like to hammer home a big party, a big show,'' Pa'apa'a says. ''In places like Europe, people heard about our live show and were keen to have us, even before we had a record released over there.

''People are there ready to rock,'' she says of the festival atmosphere. ''They are there to celebrate. They come vibed up and excited - not just about one band but a whole day.''

Alongside fellow headliners Jeff Lang and Kylie Auldist of the Bamboos, acts on the four-day bill include Between the Wars, Big Erle, Brass Knuckle Brass Band, Doc White, Mikelangelo and the Tin Star, Gregory North, Los Chavos, Martin Pearson, Mustered Courage, Mzaza, Rapskallion, Russell Hannah, Tjupurra and Wongawilli.

Playing an exciting brand of urban roots and reggae, Pa'apa'a believes Blue King Brown rise above their alternative roots and offer up an international flavour.

''We're a band who have international hopes and aspirations, and we want to reach a really wide audience,'' she says. ''At the same time, I'll always be a hippie at heart. That's the way it is. I'm not going to change that.''

Run during the June long weekend and celebrating the beginning of the ski season, this particular festival is an opportunity to get amid the alpine landscape and enjoy some tunes.

''The snow is beautiful,'' Pa'apa'a says. ''In Melbourne, where I live, it's freezing right now but we don't get to look at anything particularly pretty like snow. At least at places like Perisher you get something in return for being freezing cold.''

The event will also see the inclusion of backing singers Lea and Petra Rumwaropen. They are West Papuan girls, Pa'apa'a says, from a family fighting for the freedom of West Papua.

''That's one of the causes Blue King Brown have been really focused on, over the past year especially,'' Pa'apa'a says of the conflict happening in our backyard.

''It's important to not only work with people who are musically and vocally exceptional in their class, but also with artists, like these girls, who share a similar philosophy, and who are doing what they do with the bigger picture in mind. Singing about something with a bigger purpose, to have more meaning than just a song.''

The show is also a chance to change context and air some new material.

''It's very hectic but it's really fun,'' she says about life in the Blue King Brown camp. ''It is a new album cycle for the band … The long nights and lots of planning and rehearsing and all that sort of stuff kicks into gear again.''

Pa'apa'a says the next release is a clear follow-on from the last album Worldwize Part 1 North and South, with the same level of production and ''modern reggae sensibility''.

''We've written a really solid group of songs and - to me - the songs themselves are some of the strongest that we've written to date. That's exciting,'' she says.


Where: Perisher Snowy Mountains of Music

When: Friday, June 7 to Monday, June 10

Tickets: $155 adult full pass, under-15s with paying adult, free