Those Summer Nights – Julia Stone reflects on music, family, and memory ahead of headlining SummerSalt 2023

By Sammy Moynihan

Folk duo Angus and Julia Stone are set to wow audiences at the upcoming SummerSalt 2023 festival on Friday, 27 January. On the sunny lawns of Stage 88, the fest celebrates the picturesque sights and sizzling sounds of an Australian Summer, continuing the connections we share with our families and friends via the great unifier of music.

For Julia Stone, music, and the connections it inspires, has always been synonymous with her childhood.

“We had very adventurous parents,” muses Julia. “Our holidays were always enjoyed on somebody else’s farm. Our grandparents are cattle farmers, so we spent a lot of time making music in the bush and working on the farm.

“We had this united experience that was also immersed in music,” she continues. “Dad is in the same band from when we were born, and so they were always rehearsing in the house. We had this common thread of music throughout our lives.”

For Julia, these memories translated beautifully into their adulthood when the siblings began to perform together.

“When Angus and I came together to make music, that common thread was obvious,” she says. “It was like we spoke the same language in music. It made it so easy to harmonise, and find where we sat well in each other’s songs.

“That really has been something throughout all our life; making music after our childhood. We can always connect with that experience, and it’s kept us together and when we’re on stage.”

Julia also notes that absence can make the heart grow fonder. While audiences can be moved by the chemistry the siblings share, it’s the lack of physical connection in their daily lives that strengthens the work.

“We don’t actually see each other that much outside of playing music,” she says. “That kind of distance feels really strong on stage because I think it means so much to us to make music together. We’re always grateful for music for that fact; it keeps us close.”

Known for their nostalgic sounds and powerful lyrics, the duo has achieved great success over the years. This has also allowed them to forge impressive solo careers, yet the duo keep finding themselves drawn back to each other.

“I sing in harmony with the guys in my band, and I sing in harmony with different people on different collaborations. But there’s nothing quite like singing in harmony with a family member,” she enthuses.

“There’s something about the way your voices feel together. Here we are, brother and sister, singing songs about love and hope and pain, and singing in harmony together, in a family that hasn’t always been harmonious.

“It makes me feel so proud and happy and nostalgic for all the memories that have come and gone.”

As well as reuniting with Angus, Julia is also excited to collaborate with other musicians at the festival. The impressive line-up also includes Ben Harper, City and Colour, The Reubens, and Alex the Astronaut.

Harper has been a particular inspiration for the duo.

“We grew up listening to Ben Harper a lot. I think one of the first songs Angus taught me to play on the guitar was Walk Away. We’ve always been big fans, and it’s a huge honour to perform with him, and to get to watch him,” Julia gushes. “The line-up is amazing. It’s a really fun group of bands. It’s going to be incredible.”

With a stellar team of musicians, community events, and food, SummerSalt is set to be a beautiful celebration of all things the season has to offer.

“The atmosphere at a festival, and especially an outdoor festival, feels really alive,” smiles Julia. “The crowds makes you feel so alive.”

SummerSalt tickets can be bought online via Ticketmaster.

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