Home Music Music News

Midnight Oil and First Nations Collaborators Plot ‘Makarrata Live’ Tour

Originally set to launch The Makarrata Project earlier this year, Midnight Oil will hit the road in February with a number of their First Nations collaborators.

Image of Midnight Oil performing live

Midnight Oil will tour in February and March in support of their chart-topping record, 'The Makarrata Project'.


Midnight Oil are set to hit the road next year, touring with a number of their First Nations collaborators to bring fans their ‘Makarrata Live’ tour.

Originally set to return to live stages earlier this year as part of the 20th anniversary Splendour in The Grass lineup, Midnight Oil’s planned launch of their recently-released The Makarrata Project was ultimately pushed back until October due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the terminal illness of long-time bass player, Bones Hillman.

Their first body of work since 2002, the record saw the group collaborating with a number of First Nations artists, including Kev Carmody, Jessica Mauboy, Dan Sultan, Alice Skye, and even the late Gurrumul Yunupingu. The response was monumental, and it provided Midnight Oil with their first chart-topping album since 1990’s Blue Sky Mining.

Now, the group are set to present their work in the way they’ve wanted to for some time, announcing the details of their ‘Makarrata Live’ tour.

“We’re relieved and excited at the thought of finally playing music to live audiences again” explained frontman Peter Garrett. “Lots of the songs which have struck the deepest chords with our audiences over the years, like ‘Beds Are Burning’, ‘Jimmy Sharman’s Boxers’, ‘The Dead Heart’, and ‘Truganini’, revolve around Indigenous issues so we’re definitely inspired to be playing a set that combines older songs like those with newer songs that share similar lyrical themes.”

Kicking off in Queensland in late February, the tour will see the band appearing at the Hunter Valley, Canberra, and Geelong, while a pair of shows will also take place as part of the WOMADelaide festival in March. The latter appearance will feature two performances – one with Midnight Oil in the headline slot, and one serving as a ‘Makarrata live’ performance.

“The most fulfilling part of The Makarrata Project came through collaborating with so many First Nations artists during those recording sessions,” adds guitarist and keyboard player, Jim Moginie. “I think everyone’s looking forward to seeing what shape all the music from different eras takes as those gifted singers add their voices to it live. We’ve never done anything like this so it feels good to still be pushing the envelope a bit despite everything that’s happened in 2020.”

In a statement released alongside the tour’s announcement, the group acknowledged the limited amount of dates on their tour, noting that due to the large logistical challenges involved, the events “will only be staged at one venue in SA, QLD, NSW, VIC & ACT making them each a unique live experience”.

Notably, the shows will also seek to elevate The Uluru Statement From The Heart which calls for a Makarrata – or “truth telling” – to account for the theft of lands and displacement of First Nations people. Meanwhile, the shows are also set to serve as a tribute to Hillman, who passed away on November 7th.

“Bonesy leaves giant shoes to fill but we’ll need to find a new bass player for this tour,” explained drummer Rob Hirst. “On this issue Bones was clear: ‘the show must go on!’, he said, ‘as soon as it’s safe to play gigs again’.

“We’re hoping that these Makarrata Live shows will increase awareness of The Uluru Statement From The Heart and further the reconciliation between First Nations and non-Indigenous Australians, we’ll also be dedicating the tour to Bones.”

Midnight Oil & First Nations Collaborators Present ‘Makarrata Live’

Sunday, February 28th, 2021
Sirromet Wines, Mount Cotton, QLD

Saturday, March 13th, 2021
Hope Estate, Hunter Valley, NSW

Wednesday, March 17th, 2021
Stage 88, Canberra, ACT

Saturday, March 20th, 2021
Mt Duneed Estate, Geelong, VIC

Tickets on sale from 2pm local time, Wednesday, December 16th.
Midnight Oil pre-sale begins 11am local time, Monday December 14th, and runs 24 hours.
Frontier Members pre-sale begins 12pm local time, Monday December 14th, and runs 24 hours.
A Day On The Green members pre-sale begins 12pm local time, Monday December 14th, and runs 24 hours.

Also appearing at:

Saturday, March 6th 2021
(Midnight Oil headline performance)
WOMADelaide, Adelaide, SA

Monday, March 8th, 2021
(Makarrata Live performance)
WOMADelaide, Adelaide, SA

Tickets on sale via WOMADelaide from 9am ACDT, Friday, December 11th