Questfest – Canberra’s inaugural folk/fantasy heavy music extravaganza has taken the ACT/NSW Metal Scene by storm, generating a heap of hype over the current months, with some of Australia’s best and quirkiest bands of the heavy metal genre teed up to plunder and pillage The Basement. For the vast majority of Australia’s largely-casual metal community, one would be entirely confused at the concept of Questfest, this is where organiser Karl French steps in to educate the squires of Australia’s metal scene. We sat down with French and asked him the questions that I think we’re all asking about Questfest…


How long has this been in the planning stages for?

Questfest has been an idea I’ve had floating around for a while. Especially after witnessing the increasing popularity of pop culture events and bands that fall under the broad genre of ‘folk/fantasy’ metal. As for putting pen to paper, or the planning stage, I’ve been working on this for a few months now. Luckily enough, I am in a position where having personal connections with all these bands have made it virtually seamless in pulling them all together. The Basement, Belconnen, have also been great supporters of metal music, and of my band Saralisse, so when I approached them, they were more than happy to host Questfest.

Why create this event? What motivation do you have for starting such a festival?

A love for fun bands, a love for playing gigs with fun bands and a very serious case of ADHD. Through playing shows and meeting other bands and show goers I’ve seen an overlapping of people who enjoy this genre of metal and people who love things like Live Action Role Play (LARP), Role Playing Games (RPG), fantasy literature and cosplayers, I wanted to take these two worlds and merge them together. These are things I enjoy and it’s the kind of event I would love to go to and since there wasn’t anything like it around Canberra/NSW I decided to give it a crack and see what comes of it. Plus, it was a super easy way to get to see a bunch of my favorite bands all on one night.

Do you have any plans to expand Questfest to other cities (i.e. Sydney or Melbourne) if the inaugural edition is successful? Perhaps with larger, international bands topping the bill? Or will this always stay a Canberra-specific local metal festival?

It’s funny you say international bands because I have already had one small international band approach me wanting to play this year, which was awesome even before the announcements were complete, there were other bands out there already keen to be involved. I would definitely love to expand it and take it to Sydney or Melbourne there’s a heap of bands out there I would love to get on future lineups as well, so the idea is definitely bubbling away to expand but that will really all hinge on how 2018’s Questfest goes!

Outside the obvious main attraction of the live music, will there be other things going on during the day? Surely there has to be a LARP event happening during the day!

Well, the overall allure is that these aren’t just bands, they’re costume clad story tellers, weaving tales of wonder and mystery all whilst shredding it on stage. That alone is hopefully a pretty big attraction in itself, but on top of that we will be having a cosplay/costume competition with huge prizes for grabs; like drinking horns, band merch, cds and plenty of other loot. We will also have a lucky door prize. For something a bit different and unexpected, we will be having a quest as part of Questfest. It will be like a massive scavenger hunt in the lead up to the event, with a big list and instructions that will be put out on the morning of Questfest. Again, there’ll be a huge prize with more of the same as before plus goods, from a bunch of local businesses in Canberra who have generously donated prizes and vouchers as well.

What can we all expect in the coming months in terms of announcements? Will there be big things in the works for the inaugural Questfest?

The main thing will be the lineup announcements, we have already put out a couple of absolutely outstanding acts and I can’t wait to announce the rest. The majority of bands on the bill have never played in Canberra before, so it’s going to be a really exciting opportunity to see these guys in a killer venue. Definitely attempts will be made to encourage more people to show up and participate, to get involved with their costuming, singalongs and having an awesome time, the bigger the party is going to be! I would strongly encourage people from all over NSW/ACT to put in your work leave form now and come check it out!