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    IN THE MOMENT: Rick Ballinger, Second Thoughts, performs at 60 Years of Wimmera Rock. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

60 Years of Wimmera Rock: Organisers: What happens next?


Insiders responsible for last weekend’s 60 years of Wimmera Rock in Horsham are busy contemplating ways of keeping the essence that generated the hugely successful entertainment event alive.

Horsham’s Lynton Brown said it would be wrong to simply let the event dissipate and lose traction considering the response from musicians, patrons and Wimmera public to the three-day reunion celebration.

“I’d certainly like to think something similar could happen again,” he said.

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“Musicians were buzzing with it, crowds loved it and venues such as Horsham Town Hall proved to be second to none.

“Much would depend on planning, organisation, funding and sponsorship.”

The 60-years presentation, a rekindling of a similar event 10 years ago, was Mr Brown’s brainchild and while he fell short of confirming any plans about what might happen in the future, he said, ‘foundations have been well and truly set’.


PHOTOS: VIDEO: 60 Years of Wimmera Rock Saturday night


Official figures revealed about 2500 people attended the festival, but at times, with patrons constantly shifted between venues, it felt like there were many more.

A buzzing atmosphere, fuelled by emotion, nostalgia, talent and fun, surrounded the event, which celebrated not only the pub-rock music of the 1970s and ’80s, but also folk and bush-dance, easy-listening, ethereal and new-generation genres. 

Acts ranged from powerful re-energised Wimmera rock bands of the past including X Amount, Second Thoughts, U-Jorgan, The Bunts, Rift, Last Stand, Blackboard Jungle and Grey Nurse, to the soothing melodies of Firefly and various acoustic and family arrangements. 

Historic collaborations dating back to the birth of contemporary music such as The Draculas and The Likely Ones joined regional bush-band, cabaret and party legends such as Shades of Troopers Creek, Rusty Springs Band, Looseball Gooseball and newcomers such as SuckaPunch, White Trash Candy, Travalley and Sultana Frizell. 

The list went on and it was impossible to see and experience them all, especially with other venues also providing opportunities for bands to play.


PHOTOS: 60 Years of Wimmera Rock Friday night


Where to now?

Mr Brown said in the wake of a hugely successful festival it was now a matter of considering what happened next.

“It is an event everyone seems to be talking about and where it now leads is open for discussion,” he said.

“One thing for sure is that this whole project has reignited the rock and popular-music and home-grown entertainment flame. 

“We successfully did this 10 years ago and it has worked again, so that more than suggests we’re onto something that has meaning and longevity.

“It’s not just the public that gets something out of this. 

“Importantly it’s also for the musicians who get so much out of it.

“As organisers and enthusiasts for this type of entertainment we obviously need to further debrief to consider what options there might be for doing something again in the future.

“Ten years is a long time to wait, especially for musicians hungry for opportunities to get together, and of course, when it does happen the general public jumps on board.”

60 Years of Wimmera Rock: Soundshell weather issues up for discussion

People travelled from across Australia and even overseas to celebrate the occasion, which featured a procession of acts at Horsham Town Hall’s Heritage Hall and theatre, Maydale Pavilion and Horsham’s Exchange Hotel.

Horsham Soundshell had also been originally part of the schedule but the threat of inclement weather forced a last-minute change to the other venues.

Horsham Town Hall marketing officer Charee Smith agreed the event had been a huge success and showcased what the town hall team could offer.

“There was a lot of work behind the scenes and being able to work at different venues showed our flexibility in supporting unique events outside general programming,” she said.

“It also showed how arts and entertainment plays such an integral role in the community. 

“It definitely showed what was possible in Horsham.”

Ms Smith said town hall staff had already turned their attention back to presenting a usual 2020 program, which this year involves about 80 shows and community events.

“For us it’s back to business as usual in continuing to present a wonderful range of quality performers and events that cater for all genres and tastes,” she said.


EDITORIAL: 60 Years of Wimmera Rock plaudits for reunion

The entire February 12, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!