The Sunbury ’73 the live rock concert was located on a 620 hectare private property outside of Melbourne. The event was known as, The Sunbury Pop Festival, Sunbury Rock Festival, Australia’s Woodstock and Sunbury’s Woodstock.
Woodstock being the area where the legendary 1969 “An Aquarian Exposition 3 Days of Peace and Music” was held in White Lake in the State of New York.
Here are a few of the back ground stories of what happened at our Aussie Woodstock that were not reported as I hosted 1972 and 1973. The above video is a promo clip of 73 Sunbury available from Umbrella entertainment (voiced by myself).
Sunbury was a natural amphitheatre rolling down to the concert stage set up in front of a creek.
How did I know it was rolling we tested it with a large boulder, approximately a meter in diaameter before the concert, fortunately it missed the Ford Fairlane that appeared from behind the staging area. Why? Everyone of the crew was alcohol and drug free but it must have been because they had escaped GTV Studio 1 in Bendigo Street Richmond and smelt fresh bush air.
I later found out it was the Fairlane I’d rented from Hertz.
Organiser John Fowler (who also worked at GTV 9) told me in interview that Sunbury ’73 had the massive $150,000 budget in 1973 and a bigger crowd to Sunbury ’72. Imagine that budget in the 21st Century may just cover the catering demands of the artists.
It was alleged that I broke up audio ace Tony ? romance when I announced on stage his engagement, prompted by some of the audio team headed by Colin Stevenson. The young lady did make the headlines in the Truth newspaper in a topless shot bathing in the mud mixture posing as a creek. Yes she was a beautiful package and this was out of character for her but that’s what happened at Sunbury, many lost their inhibitions.
John also said rubbish biggest problem Police Ambulance and Premier Dick Hamer, greenies would have had a heart attack but when the cleaners
This was a live to air show so I had to be very prepared. I organised some mates from Moonee Ponds to be right up on the fence that separated the throng from the stage. I rehearsed them what questions I would ask and not to wear. When I was about to introduce the next rock act I got the message through my head phones from Producer Peter Faiman (later Crocodile Dundee fame) to fill.
I described all the sound equipemt and band set up (Faiman “keep filling”)talked about previous acts and got audience reaction ( Fairman “keep filling”) so down to the wire and my Moonee Ponds and Airport West mates and began to interview them all the time on the edge of an old Gillette razor blade that they would let fly with a “F…king great or two” The boys were true to their word so they were let into the Airport West Hotel disco for free for months. (Faiman, we’re ready”) so back on stage and into my MC Speal. Phew one of the longest ad lib fill ins on TV for many a moon.
JOKs famous line Paul Hogan introduced him – All dressed in a white formal suit “I know that many of you love me and many hate me but you all paid your money to see me”
here’s a link to JOK singing Sing Sing Sing at Sunbury – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YJeFJj08rs
Michael Gudinski (now major concert promoter including Rolling Stones) admitted he had the watermelon franchise and owing to the heat did a roaring trade.
The legacy of the seventies Pop Music Festivals is still alive in Sunbury as the local community organise the “SunFest” and runs the third weekend of March each year. But not on the same scale as those heady, hectic and crazy days, we who lived through them experienced. I always wonder how many future generations were conceived at the Sunbury Pop Music Festivals from 1972 to 1975!
EDIT – we recently chatted to Umbrella and now stock the 72 and 73 Sunbury Festival DVD in our merchandise store – check it out