Shepparton News

All set to rock

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‘‘An Australian Woodstock’’ is how the promoters of Moama’s four-day rock spectacula­r are describing the event planned for next Easter.

The promoters, Saffron Pty Ltd, are close to finalising negotiatio­ns with some of the biggest names in rock music, including rap group Public Enemy, 1950s legend Little Richard, hard rockers Aerosmith, AC/DC, and Deep Purple, the Divinyls, Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, and Tina Arena.

It is believed some internatio­nal groups could earn about $500,000 for their performanc­e.

The managing director of Saffron, Paul Zappulla, said talks were also under way with James Brown, Bo Diddley, Ray Charles, and Midnight Oil.

There will be 30 acts on the bill when the concert eventually gets under way.

‘‘Nothing of this magnitude has ever been done in the world before,’’ Mr Zappulla claimed, likening the concert to the legendary Woodstock festival of 1969.

He said Australian bands were jumping at the chance to be involved because ‘‘they want to be part of Australian music history.”

But unlike the original Woodstock — which turned into a sea of mud and the world’s biggest traffic jam when hundreds of thousands more people than expected descended on the site — Saffron is determined Moama’s concert will go off without a hitch.

Saffron must have a traffic management plan submitted to Murray Shire Council by September 21 which will go some way towards determinin­g how many people can attend.

It involves parking and transport arrangemen­ts to get the expected hundreds of thousands of concert goers into and out of the site.

Saffron is also working towards satisfying about 20 other conditions including security arrangemen­ts, services, and health and safety requiremen­ts.

A tentative program has the festival beginning on Friday, April 1 next year with an Australian music day.

Saturday would be devoted to artists with songs in the top 40 charts, Sunday would be a rock ‘n’ roll legends day, and the final day of the festival, Monday, April 4 would be a hard rock day.

Tickets would cost about $150 for the full four days, or $80 per day. The Podgor building group will oversee constructi­on of the site on two private properties north of Moama, which will take three months and employ 150 people at its peak.

Mr Zappulla said he had first conceived the idea for a rock festival five years ago, after a quarter of a century’s involvemen­t in the music business.

‘‘This is something which started off with a conversati­on and has now become a seven-day-a-week, 24 hoursa-day project.

‘‘It’s gone beyond the stage of money, and we just want to see it happen to prove something to ourselves,’’ he said.

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