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Get set for a musical feast at Fashfest

Laura Peppas

While most fashion shows use music as a backdrop to the catwalk, live music has always played an integral role at Fashfest.

Think back to the very first opening night, and you’ll probably remember more than a few shocked faces when the audience realised the pitch-perfect voices they heard were not spun from a playlist but indeed, standing right behind them.

As the new music director for Fashfest, Ashley Feraude is well aware of live music’s place in the event, and this year has made tracks to reflect that.

The popular Canberra-based DJ and music producer says he has carefully selected a group of performers to create “a complete musical feast”.

“We figured people responded to the music so well in previous years, we decided to make it more intertwined with the fashion spectacle and include some live performances before and after the show, rather than just during the show,” Ashley says.

“From the perspective of the show itself, rather than the music being just background, Fashfest is more artistic and woven music into the whole experience for guests.  It’s involved in every aspect.”

This year’s event will include a record 14 performers, with an incredibly diverse range of genres, including hip hop, rap, jazz, chill out and classic.

Ashley says music has been selected for suitability to each night’s theme: activist, inventor, cartographer, engineer.

“Music in itself can divide into categories, so we thought it might be interesting instead of using one genre of music and playing it right through the entire festival, to make sure that the acts are slightly different. Every single night is actually quite different in terms of the genres,” he says.

Artists performing include energetic rapper Kayo Marbilus, indie singer Jack Biilmann, who has just released his debut solo album, Myself to Blame, and Ben Bonney, who has backed many famous musicians such as James Morrison, Guy Sebastian, Vince Jones, Ricky-Lee Coulter and Grace Knight. Some artists will also join forces in collaborations.

The infusion of genres was a conscious decision by Ashley to showcase the vast range styles Canberra musicians have to offer.

“The way I went about choosing who would be right for this is I tried to find a representation of the different styles of music that Canberra’s got to showcase – I wanted people who can bring something a little different to the table,” he says.

“I truly believe Canberra has absolutely everything to offer musically. People often don’t realise how creative we are in terms of the music scene.”

Ashley will perform on Fashfest’s final night under his stage name, Magnifik.

The DJ is incredibly humble given his music has reached global heights: he has performed in New York, has a series of successful singles and has featured on highly successful compilations, including Ministry of Sound Chillout Sessions XIV. In 2013 he was awarded Best House Producer at the Music ACT Annual Music Awards.

Ashley says he is “just looking forward to seeing the crowd” at Fashfest.

“This is going to be an amazing event, and I think what it does is it opens the ears of people who might not have experienced this music before,” he says.

FASHFEST 2015 (13 to 16 May) is at the National Convention Centre this year, in a heated venue. For tickets visit http://fashfest.com.au/. For more information on music acts visit FASHFEST online.

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Laura Peppas

Laura Peppas is HerCanberra's senior journalist and communications manager and is the Editor of Unveiled, HerCanberra's wedding magazine. She is enjoying uncovering all that Canberra has to offer, meeting some intriguing locals and working with a pretty awesome bunch of women. Laura has lived in Canberra for most of her life and when she's not writing fervently she enjoys pursuing her passion for travel, reading, online shopping and chai tea. More about the Author