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07 August 2019
By DEAN LAWSON
One of the primary figures in Wimmera’s contemporary music scene during the 1980s will return to Australia for a second major rock-music reunion-festival in Horsham.
Musician and former Horsham businessman Rick Stephens, 67, who has lived in Germany for more than two decades, confirmed he will back for the 60 Years of Wimmera Rock celebration in February.
Mr Stephens, who took part in 50 Years of Wimmera Rock in 2010, made a fresh trip from the other side of the world in the past week to help scope out plans for next year’s event.
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He caught up with fellow members of former bush band Shades of Troopers Creek, popular in the region in the 1980s, in preparation for a bush dance at Maydale Pavilion as part of festivities.
While a bush band might seem far removed from the world of pub and covers rock, ‘Shades’ and Rick Stephens were well entrenched in Horsham’s diverse music and cultural fraternity of the late 1970s, ’80s and early ’90s.
Mr Stephens, apart from plying his musical passion with his fellow balladeers, also ran Wimmera Music Centre, which provided a heartbeat to a district musical movement of the time.
His shop in Langlands was a hub for diverse music enthusiasts and musicians, where patrons could find everything from the latest album rocketing up the charts to sheet music, guitars and drumsticks.
In-depth understanding and personalised deals endeared him and his staff to loyal customers.
Mr Stephens has been a prolific musician in arts-rich Germany where he plays in three bands, often performing Australiana pieces, and runs a major music festival.
He said he was excited about being back in Horsham to ‘relive the fantastic days’ he and other band members had experienced with Shades of Troopers Creek.
Mr Stephens said it was appropriate the band would play at Maydale Pavilion at Horsham showground in February.
He said the venue provided the backdrop to many bush dances the band led during the 1980s.
“It hasn’t changed a bit, it’s fantastic. We’re just excited with the 60 Years of Wimmera Rock to put on another bush dance and we want as many people to come along as possible,” he said.
Mr Stephens said many of the musicians announcing they would return to play at the festival were familiar faces.
“We had many come through our shop in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s and I’m so happy to be able to come back and see that they’re still playing and that they are great musicians. The quality of the musicianship in the area is fantastic,” he said.
“It’s like coming back home for me.”
The 60 Years of Wimmera Rock festival will be from February 7 to 9 with Horsham Town Hall, Horsham Soundshell and Maydale Pavilion primary venues for about 50 bands and performers.
Bands will also perform at various hotels and clubs in Horsham district during the weekend.
A Horsham Town Hall team, in partnership with event insiders, is hosting the event and will announce planning updates in the next couple of weeks.
The entire August 7, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!