AS spring sets in, Australian music festivals appear to be frolicking like new- born lambs in paddocks across the country, but just how many festivals are too many? Already we’ve seen the Great Escape festival, scheduled for Sydney’s Newington Armoury next month, bite the dust, despite an impressive line- up that included the New Pornographers, Supergrass and Paul Kelly. Clearly there is a cutoff point for just how often punters can fork out three figures for a day or two’s entertainment, yet for every Great Escape there are handfuls of new events prepared to take a punt on the format. Among them is the Fat as Butter event at Nobby’s Beach near Newcastle, NSW, in November, with the Dandy Warhols and Regurgitator among the headliners. There’s also the inaugural Byron Bay Arts and Music Festival in January and the first Australasian World Music Expo in Melbourne in November, although that one is not so much a festival as an initiative, funded by the industry and arts bodies to foster exposure for our world music artists. I mention all of this because so riddled with festival fun has Australia become that someone has come up with the brilliant idea of having the first Festival Awards. Online music site FasterLouder is asking voters to rate festivals in various categories, such as value for money, crowd and atmosphere, venue and location, and best kebab. One of those I made up. This is all very well, but it strikes me that one thing we have more of than music festivals in this business is music awards. How long before we have the best festival awards awards? SPEAKING of festivals, one notable absentee from the Adelaide International Guitar Festival in December will be Doc Neeson, frontman of the recently re- formed ( but not, perhaps, reformed) Angels. Neeson was set to join the likes of the Hoodoo Gurus, Stevie Wright and Shihad in a tribute to AC/ DC, as well as appear on one of the event’s discussion panels. Last week he issued a statement saying he had to withdraw, but without explanation. Could it be that the already complex legal wranglings of the troubled veteran rockers played some part in this late withdrawal? If we ever see their faces again, perhaps we could ask them. SPIN Doctor frothed at the mouth this week after hearing the news that the baseball outfit worn by Madonna in the film A League of Their Own will be exhibited in London next February. It’s one of 300 personal items — yes, personal items — from Madge’s colourful history that will go on display for a month at the Old Truman Brewery. For those of you who can’t make it but are keen on rare Madonna artefacts, pop down to your local shopping centre. You’ll find something there called Hard Candy that, if you’re quick of lip, you can buy with Monopoly money.
spindoc@ theaustralian. com. au