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Tiny by name, big in ambition

‘Micro festival’ seeks to combine the ethos of Golden Plains and Dark Mofo

“It kind of started as a dumb idea,” says Tiny Plains founder Eoin Clements.

Mark Phillips

IN 2021, when Melbourne was still going through its on again/off again COVID restrictions, Brunswick musician Eoin Clements decided to cheer up his friends by holding a micro music festival in his living room.

He called it Tiny Plains in homage to Golden Plains, the annual festival which is held west of Melbourne on the Labour Day weekend each year but like most major events was cancelled during the height of the pandemic.

Last year, Clements expanded the concept to include six bands and a couple of DJs but his ambitions didn’t stop there, so this year Tiny Plains will be a day-long event at Red Betty, a small music venue down a laneway near the corner of Moreland Road and Sydney Road.

There will be music and art dedicated to the theme of ‘Power’ in what Clements describes as a miniature version of Golden Plains crossed with the Tasmanian Dark Mofo festival.

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Tiny Plains 2023 kicks off at 2.30pm this Saturday until 1am and the whole thing is free.

Clements has lined up about a dozen bands and DJs, including his own outfit The Mean Times, for the event and in true DIY spirit has roped in his partner and several other visual artists to produce special works for the festival.

“It kind of started as a dumb idea,” says Clements, who grew up near Dublin but has lived in Australia for a decade and a half.

“I guess lockdown gave us the impetus to do it. We always go to Golden Plains and we love that kind of vibe and ethos of music and community.

“Then when lockdown happened, Golden Plains wasn’t on for two or three years so we decided to do Tiny Plains instead.”

The first year had no more than 30 people in the audience and after expanding on that event again in his house last year, Clements was ready to try a bigger venue when he met one of the owners of Red Betty by chance.

Although the venue is not much larger than a suburban lounge room, it has a proper stage, sound and lighting, and a full bar. There is also a beer garden which will be a second stage for solo artists and DJs, and the entire event will have a capacity of 100.

Musicians lined up for the festival include The Mean Times, The Vendettas, Major Bummer, Invasion Skies, The Electrique Birds, DJ B and Will Lee, and DJ Bec Bartlett. Clements will also play a solo set.

Many of the performing artists belong to the Hootsville Music Collective, a loose collection of musicians who jam and record demos together at a rehearsal space in a storage warehouse in Dawson Street.

Clements, who works a “corporate” day job, says Tiny Plains 3 is a big step up, but he’s not stopping there.

“We’ll see how it goes,” he says. “If people turn up we may try to go bigger. If not, we may stay here or go back to the house.”

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