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02 October 2019
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.
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“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.”
The entire October 2, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!