Plans for rock re­union gather pace

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

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.

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