Plans for rock reunion gather pace
A flood of performers and bands dating back decades have rushed to add their support to plans for another milestone celebration of ‘live and local’ rock music in the Wimmera.
A decade on from Horsham’s successful 50 Years of Wimmera Rock reunion, which drew big crowds to memorable shows at a variety of venues, a similar event is likely to unfold.
A free-of-charge 60 Years of Wimmera Rock event, with its headquarters at Horsham’s Sawyer Park, is now tentatively scheduled for February 8, 2020.
Horsham’s Lynton Brown, the prime architect behind the 2009 event, said simply raising the idea of organising another big tribute to Wimmera rock had sparked an immediate response.
He said he had been involved in a few informal discussions about the idea, but it had taken off as soon as he had put the idea out to the region’s rock-music fraternity.
“We had an immediate and incredibly positive response from a variety of bands, many from yesteryear, which were keen to use the occasion as another big reunion,” he said.
“At this stage we’re exploring if we can simply put it on, and have come up with a date, which we believe will give us a bit of time to plan and see how it might unfold.
“Watch this space, we expect to make an announcement in January.”
The 2009 50 Years of Wimmera Rock was a three-day festival involving more than 40 bands, but Mr Brown said he had needed a quick confirmation from only 10 to seriously consider the proposal.
“It looks like it might be happening at this stage. What we’re looking at is again providing a free event to celebrate our rock-music heritage,” he said.
“It would be based at Sawyer Park, which anyone who attended the Horsham Rockfest would realise is an outstanding venue for this type of outdoor entertainment.
“But, as more bands come on board the concept might expand.
“There are a lot of logistics and aspects of running this event at Sawyer Park that we will have to get sorted out.
“We obviously need to have Horsham Rural City Council on board and we hope service clubs can put up their hand, perhaps to provide food, drinks and other services.”
Mr Brown said in putting out ‘early feelers’, he had immediate positive responses from former bands including The Bunts, Bata Scouts, Ujorgan, Rift, Second Thoughts, Hard Face Nannas and Ferdie from the Sonomatics, and several others, including prominent musicians, keen to form up to recreate acts for the event.
“What’s amazing is that people who now live all over Australia, in all sorts of professions and positions, have indicated they are keen to return for such an event. It just shows their passion for this closely knit fraternity,” he said.
“We just don’t know what this could develop into but it is going to be all about providing a chance for many bands and performers to reunite and relive fabulous connections from the past – or create some new experiences.
“And like last time, everyone else can come along for the ride.
“We want it to be a fun family event with a bit of an edge.
“Sons and daughters came along to see their parents play last time. This time it might also include people seeing their grandparents in action.”
Mr Brown said if the event went ahead as planned, it would most likely be in a simpler format than the original 50 Years of Wimmera Rock.
“The idea is that we want to showcase Sawyer Park and the soundshell, which remains for many the spiritual headquarters of home-grown rock music. It was the birthplace of the Chris O’sullivan Memorial concerts of the 1980s, the core of why the soundshell was built,” he said.
“Unlike the previous festival, we might leave the organising of the all the hotels and venues to others, but we’re encouraging everyone to get on board.
“Who knows at this stage? There are plenty of options to consider.”
Mr Brown said anyone keen to get involved as performers, bands or with organising or presenting ideas could email him on lynton[email protected] com.