REVIEW: AIREYS INLET MUSIC FESTIVAL (13/03/21 – 14/03/21)

Last weekend, our girl Meli ventured up to Aireys Inlet to cheer on our RSOM Community as they performed at the 14th Aireys Inlet Music Festival. With 9 stages and 150 acts playing to local crowds over 3 days, we could not pass the opportunity to show our support. Here are Meli’s highlights in our latest review.


To say that Pia Nesvara, Benjamin Trillado and Seb Szabo did the RSOM Community proud this past weekend at The Aireys Inlet Music Festival is an understatement.

Despite the gloomy weather, Nesvara brought the sunshine with her bilingual, stripped back set accompanied by a warmth and comfortability you usually only find in a hot cup of tea. Trillado’s lyrics and deliverance left everyone blaming the rain for the dampness on their cheeks and Szabo’s spirited, jam-packed set –pun intended – took everyone back to the 70s momentarily and left them with a smile for a souvenir.

Pia Nesvara’s midday set at the Eagles Nest Fine Art Gallery was minimalist, charming and perfect as it was, much like the gallery itself. The colourful backdrop of paintings and sculptures insulated the performance with an extra layer of warmth and the stripped back set consisting of just Nesvara and her acoustic guitar allowed her audience to fully take in her lyrics, and intricate finger work. Nesvara’s set was dappled with Spanish lyrics and songs which only enchanted her audience further. She even improvised part of her set, explaining that by leaving part of it unplanned meant that the performance was truly only right there in that space and how special that was.

I think it’s time we all start talking about how special Pia Nesvara is, because that was such a simple yet profound explanation that left me viewing improvisation in a whole new light. Toward the end of her set she proceeded to cheekily ask “Is it weird if I rap in an art gallery?”. The answer probably should have been “yes”, but unsurprisingly Nesvara made it work. The experience has honestly set me up for future disappointment if I go into an art gallery and people aren’t rapping. Nesvara finished the set with her groovy song “The Gift” and what a fitting title it is. An overall wonderful performance that the audience will not be forgetting anytime soon.

By the time Ben Trillado took the stage at The Captain of Aireys, the afternoon rain was pelting down, however it soon became a melodious delight that accompanied the set. Trillado managed to blend perfectly into the laidback setting whilst simultaneously being the focal point of the venue. Trillado’s voice is smooth like velvet and similar to Nesvara’s set, his tone and lyrics stood out against the acoustic guitar accompaniment. His songs tenderly addressed topics such as body image and self-esteem, as well as feeling as though you’re giving up on your dreams in return for a ‘stable’ career. An idea so beautifully summarised through the lyric “When did my guitar become my briefcase?”. Many can relate to these thoughts and concepts, but few are brave enough to share their struggles – we salute you Benjamin Trillado! Despite these more serious lyrical undertones, it was a joy to watch Trillado’s set and in the words of the organiser of the event, “Good luck to whoever has to come after him!”

The evening ended with a boogie, as every evening should. Seb Szabo, accompanied by Ronan Nicholson on bass, Reuben Dyer on drums, Jack Cross on lead guitar and Pia Nesvara on everything, took the Aireys Pub stage and blew it up. The set somehow landed at that perfect thirty minutes every evening that captures the sunset followed by the dark night sky, thus adding to the sense of serendipity. Half way into the set, Szabo made the ridiculously perfect decision to cover Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams and when I tell you the people came running, the people came running! Szabo also welcomed onto the stage Tom Riccioni, Lucy Lorenne, Benjamin Trillado and Hassall to join in the fun and those four minutes were true magic for audience and performers alike. There was no doubt Szabo had everyone wrapped around his guitar string-scarred finger. Ronan Nicholson then went on to dominate during the performance of their original song “Wrecking Ball”, a tune that one will never be able to get out of their head, not that they would want to anyway. By the end of the set it was clear that no one wanted it to end. It was a delight to witness friends who happened to be bandmates perform together and provide such soulful entertainment and art for their audience.

Pia Nesvara, Benjamin Trillado and Seb Szabo each provided the Aireys Inlet community with such unique talent that is hard to come by and their comfortability and confidence on stage shines through when they perform. They can rest assured that their guitars will not be turning into briefcases anytime soon.

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Photos and words by Meli Szabo.

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