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    LIVE: Michael Peterson, SuckaPunch, performs at 60 Years of Wimmera Rock festival. The band was scheduled to play at Horsham Soundshell but relocated to the Exchange Hotel due to inclement weather. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

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


How to adapt Horsham Soundshell to cope with the vagaries of weather conditions looms as a fresh discussion topic in Horsham river precinct planning.

Horsham mayor Mark Radford raised the issue after a threat of inclement weather had forced organisers of the city’s highly successful 60 Years of Wimmera Rock to shift acts from Sawyer Park to other venues.

Cr Radford said the venue shift last weekend because of forecast rain had followed high levels of anxiety in December when weather also threatened Carols by Candlelight celebrations.

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He said two examples in a matter of months where weather had almost forced or had forced changes in scheduling and planning more than suggested a need for a closer exploration of circumstances. 


PHOTOS: VIDEO: 60 Years of Wimmera Rock Saturday night


PHOTOS: 60 Years of Wimmera Rock Friday night

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



“We also have Horsham Country Music Festival coming up at the soundshell next month and the annual hope is that the weather is kind. So this is a constant issue that needs to be looked at and to perhaps consider deeply as part of City to River design planning,” he said. 

“There is no doubt the soundshell is one of Horsham’s premier community entertainment venues, so what has been happening is worth discussion. How do we develop and-or improve circumstances at the soundshell so events are less under threat from the weather? 

“A discussion now would also be timely considering the river precinct and Horsham City Oval are the two initial focuses of latest schematic planning.” 

A decision to shift acts from Horsham Soundshell on Friday and Saturday nights to Horsham Town Hall and Horsham’s nearby Exchange Hotel based on a weather forecast was the right move.

Despite many musicians and patrons lamenting a missed opportunity for a reunion or exposure show at the soundshell, heavy rain fell in Horsham on both nights and would have washed out Sawyer Park activities.

Horsham Soundshell is ingrained in popular-music culture in Horsham, much of its development in the early 1980s stemming from former Chris O’Sullivan Memorial concerts at Sawyer Park.

District musicians, through former Wimmera Musicians Club, were a driving force behind developing the community venue with many musicians involved in money-raising activities.

Cr Radford speculated that discussions about ways to weather-proof outdoor shows at Sawyer Park might include exploring portable or adjustable canopies that spread out from the main stage.

Such a scenario would protect technical equipment and might provide shelter for a large number of patrons.

“This type of thing is certainly in place at other major outdoor venues. It’s at least worth a discussion to consider what we might be able to do,” Cr Radford said.

Some New Year’s Eve Rock concerts at the soundshell in the 1980s and ’90s went ahead despite drenching summer downpours, delighting fans but presenting a variety of challenges to technicians and event organisers.

Cr Radford said a positive aspect  emerging from acts needing to shift from Sawyer Park at the weekend was the ability of 60 Years of Rock organisers to accommodate many of them in the other venues.

The 60 Years of Wimmera Rock celebration featured Horsham Town Hall’s Heritage Hall and theatre, Maydale Pavilion at Horsham Showground where people patronised folk and bush-dance music and the Exchange Hotel, which opened its sheltered rear car park for performances.

There was also live music at various other venues including Horsham RSL and Horsham’s Bull and Mouth Hotel.

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!