The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music -

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

Il­lus­tra­tion: Tom Jel­lett

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