THE first announcement of acts for this year’s Splendour in the Grass festival in Byron Bay, NSW, has an impressive cross- section of local and international talent, including Sigur Ros, the Fratellis, Devo, the Wombats and Vampire Weekend from overseas, plus our own Living End, Wolfmother, the Vines and the Presets. One act expected to make an appearance at the August gathering is particularly poignant, however. Robert Forster ( see album review below) looks set to return in band mode to promote his new album at the festival, a gig that will also launch a national tour. Forster will be joined by his former band members in the Go- Betweens, bassist Adele Pickvance and drummer Glenn Thompson on guitar and keyboards. To add special significance to the show, Forster and co look likely to play on the Grant McLennan Stage. The stage was named in tribute to Forster’s songwriting colleague and friend in the Go- Betweens, who died two years ago from a heart attack, aged 48. More acts for Splendour will be announced in the coming weeks. The festival is on August 2 and 3 at Belongil Fields.
MELBOURNE journo and former Painters and Dockers frontman Paul Stewart has been a tireless campaigner and activist in the cause of welfare for the people of East Timor. Stewart’s brother Tony was one of the Balibo Five journalists killed by Indonesian troops in
1975. For the past 12 years Stewart has been part of the Dili Allstars, a band of Aussie and Timorese musicians who have done tours of duty performances in East Timor, while locally they have supported Michael Franti, the Wailers and Maxi Priest, among others. The singer’s latest mission, however, is to raise funds to help the women of East Timor receive improved medical care. ‘‘ The women up there don’t get much of a go,’’ Stewart says, ‘‘ so it’s important for them to get the proper medical attention.’’ To that end Stewart has put together a compilation CD called I am Woman, which features female artists such as Lisa Miller, Vika and Linda Bull and Rebecca Barnard. It’s the fourth such CD Stewart has compiled in recent years. Already he has helped raise in the region of $ 350,000 for the orphans of East Timor. The new CD costs $ 25. Profits from the sale will go to the Bairo Pite Clinic in Dili. The album, Stewart says, would make an ideal Mother’s Day present. It’s available from www. afap. org.
spindoc@ theaustralian. com. au