Rock-music build-up

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Front Page - BY DEAN LAW­SON

Or­gan­is­ers pre­par­ing for the Wim­mera’s largest and most di­verse mu­si­cal party of the past decade have urged peo­ple to start for­mal­is­ing ar­range­ments for the big week­end.

The build-up for Wim­mera 60 Years of Rock re­union con­certs, shows, per­for­mances and jam ses­sions in Hor­sham from Fe­bru­ary 7 to 9 sug­gests thou­sands of peo­ple will be in the re­gion’s centre for the event.

Organising com­mit­tee mem­ber Cha­ree Smith said peo­ple had al­ready con­firmed plans to travel from across Aus­tralia and even around the world to be part of the fes­tiv­i­ties. “From what we al­ready know, it’s a case of, ‘make sure you lock this event into your di­aries’. There are go­ing to be a lot of peo­ple in Hor­sham,” she said.

“It is go­ing to be a mas­sive week­end of nos­tal­gia, music and a reig­ni­tion of what live, home-grown per­for­mance is all about. It will be about rekin­dling mem­o­ries of a Wim­mera music scene that helped pro­vide a sound­track for a gen­er­a­tion.

“We’re talk­ing about some band mem­bers, many who have gone onto vastly dif­fer­ent pro­fes­sions and pas­times since their rock-music days, get­ting to­gether to per­form for the first time in decades.” Wim­mera 60 Years of Rock comes a decade af­ter a suc­cess­ful Wim­mera 50 Years of Rock, where peo­ple packed venues across Hor­sham to rekin­dle con­nec­tions with acts of the past, most of them bands that put per­sonal touches to cov­ers of pop­u­lar songs.

Next year’s event has three of­fi­cial venues – Hor­sham Sound­shell at Sawyer Park, May­dale Pav­il­ion in Hor­sham Show­ground and Hor­sham Per­form­ing Arts Centre, where mu­si­cians will per­form in the centre’s theatre and Her­itage Hall.

Apart from of­fi­cial venues, mu­si­cal acts are also tee­ing up sec­ondary per­for­mances in Hor­sham ho­tels, clubs, halls and pri­vate venues.

“There are more than 50 bands and solo acts in­volved and get­ting the sched­ule right has rep­re­sented an enor­mous chal­lenge,” Ms Smith said.

“The Wim­mera was gen­er­ally renowned statewide for its live-music scene, es­pe­cially from the 1960s through to the late 1990s and into the 2000s. It is what many of us in the com­mu­nity grew up with.

“It’s a huge amount of work get­ting this to­gether – a lot of lo­gis­tics and a lot of phone calls in try­ing to ac­com­mo­date bands, their his­to­ries, their fol­low­ings.

“While some bands haven’t per­formed to­gether for a long time, some are go­ing to great lengths to in­vest time and ef­fort into re­hearsals. There are other acts that are still go­ing strong and some that are get­ting a foothold in the live-show scene.

“Hear­ing about or re­liv­ing all the sto­ries is what many peo­ple are look­ing for­ward to. We en­cour­age peo­ple who might have lived through these times to come home for the oc­ca­sion.

“It’s a mas­sive rock re­union – not just for the mu­si­cians, but for fam­i­lies, con­nec­tions, cul­ture and a way of life.”

Ms Smith, also Hor­sham Town Hall’s mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer, said a free Fri­day night pro­gram at Hor­sham Sound­shell to launch the week­end was locked in, with a line-up fea­tur­ing Johnny Thun­der and the Light­nings, X-amount, Black­board Jungle and Bata Scouts.

At the same time, at May­dale Pav­il­ion, a folk-based dance fea­tur­ing Rusty Springs Band, Spec­ta­cle and Shades of Troop­ers Creek will un­fold.

Ms Smith said work would con­tinue on Satur­day and Sun­day pro­grams for the Her­itage Hall, theatre and sound­shell in an ef­fort to al­low pa­trons to see as many acts as pos­si­ble and ac­com­mo­date band re­quests.

“We’re still do­ing a lot of tweak­ing and we want to make ev­ery­thing good for as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble. We hope to re­lease more de­tails in the next fort­night so stay tuned. We’re go­ing to rock hard for three days and per­haps be­yond,” she said.

To cover au­dio, tech­ni­cal and equip­ment costs, or­gan­is­ers are ask­ing pa­trons at­tend­ing per­for­mances at the town hall venues and May­dale Pav­il­ion for $10 day-pass do­na­tions.

Ms Smith said a key rea­son why Hor­sham Town Hall had joined a 60-years’ team to pre­pare for the event was to pro­mote live per­for­mances in Hor­sham.

“We’re putting our heart and soul into this pro­ject,” she said.

“Live music has a ded­i­cated place in Hor­sham and the Wim­mera. We want to show pro­mot­ers we’re wor­thy of their in­vest­ment in us, just as we will in­vest in them com­ing to Hor­sham.

“We hope what we’re do­ing can help in­spire the next gen­er­a­tion of per­former, mu­si­cian, dancer or ac­tor – all that goes into help­ing gen­er­ate a vi­brant city and re­gion.”

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