It became evident from the second that Lyndel Moore answered the phone that she was as busy as any festival project director should be. Having just gotten off the phone with social and media wiz John Heinsen in LA, it was obvious that this project was not for the light-hearted. Heinsen is also the genius who runs the media operation behind the ever-famous Oscars ceremony. This may not mean much to the average reader, but I can assure you that it is a big deal. However, the busy lifestyle that comes with the festival life has not seemed to affect Moore, who answered the phone in a bright and cheerful mood, which was the first of many positive signs of her character.
The phone call was more a discussion rather than an interview, addressing nearly every possible topic one could dream of covering, stretching from the format of the festival to the purpose of the event, and of course the discussion of who is playing . One of the most noticeable things about the outlook of the festival was the strong stance towards maintaining the original image and intent that was conceived almost four years ago. The festival’s ability to stay true to its word really does portray a very positive and genuine image for the festival. However, is it enough?
Where did the festival start out?
Charity events seem to come and go, however this project has been in the works for a while. Moore explains:
“I began developing the project not long after the ‘Black Saturday’ fires in early 2009. I was involved in raising funds for people in the area and realised during that time that we could all be doing more to assist those in need. One Great Night on Earth as a vehicle to raise much needed annual and ongoing funds was then born, and also the registration process began for the charity that would collect raised funds – Fine Green Paddock. It’s been a long, tough slog, though bit by bit, the endeavour has come to the attention of the people who now make up our core crew both here in Australia and around the globe.”
Aside from the charitable goal of the event, Lyndel wants to “provide people with an experience that they won’t forget in a long time”.
“This isn’t a mainstream rock festival”, she continued, “it’s something that isn’t done anywhere else. Most ‘classic rock’ festivals are more metal over rock, but One Great Night on Earth is just pure classic rock.”
What is the layout of the festival?
“The festival will consist of a 12-hour classic rock format on one stage”, explains Moore, continuing, “our more mature demographic are not as transient as Gen Y’s. We want our audience to find a spot, graze all day and enjoy one of the finest bills around without missing whatever is on the opposite stage.”
This project will be stage directed by the legendary Chip Monck, who has promised a “Modern version of the Woodstock Turntable”, which is something that is sure to get those veterans excited. Chip is the festival’s Director of Production and has taken a very special interest in this festival, and for good reason. The +18 event, with an expected attendance of 80,000 – 100,000, will also have a wide selection of gourmet foods available for those Baby Boomers to get stuck into before they find a nice spot, and rock out in their camping chairs.
What is Chip Monck’s role in all this?
The last charity event of this magnitude that Chip was involved in led to the IRS freezing all donations (estimated $17 million) for the famous ‘Concert For Bangladesh’, making this One Great Night On Earth Festival his chance to make things right and do it correctly. When I enquired about Chip and his influence on the festival, Moore sung his praises:
“Chip’s CV reads like a list of the greatest shows on earth. He has created some of the greatest lighting and staging solutions of our time and many of his practices are now standard in industry. He is indeed a genius and his colleagues in the US all are very excited that he is about to stage what he calls “a culmination of my life’s work and the greatest show I will ever be a part of”. That makes One Great Night on Earth a project which in my opinion is blessed.”
Something that is also worth noting is the influence Monck has had on today’s concert and festival layouts, meaning that we are definitely in for something truly special come December.
If 100% of ticket sales are being donated to charity, how is it all being paid for?
From the beginning it was obvious that One Great Night on Earth was a charity event, before it was a festival. The festival itself, as all charity events do, will rely on some form of goodwill from both staff and artists.
“Our stage is being donated out of the US. It will then remain here in Victoria annually and will be housed by a local staging company who will utilise it for additional projects,” stated Moore. “Business streams and associated sponsorship with the project funds all production, and artists are set to perform philanthropically in return for strong global and digital media exposure. Our Social and Digital Media Director is the same man who works that campaign annually for the Oscars. The festival is not aimed at raising money for a crisis that has just happened, it’s aimed at helping people before the crisis hits. We want constant change, instead of simply when the media choose to give crisis their focus”.
Moore is evidently extremely passionate about the cause, continuing:
“The donation of 100% of ticket sales is setting a high standard we want others to consider. Any project with a strong business model can use a claim such as this to their advantage. There is much concern as to what percentage of funds raised for charitable purposes meets its mark. We make this grand statement with the greatest intent. This country is suffering from compassion fatigue because there is much doubt as to where donated funds are allocated and just how much is spent on administration, marketing and PR. We make the 100% statement because we feel it’s time that that pledge was made – and kept. It’s our ‘keep the bastards honest’ approach and we hope that via doing so, others will follow suit. We also feel that it’s important to be proactive and not reactive. It seems that so many benefit projects are staged post a traumatic event. We will raise money annually in readiness for assistance as opposed to just post the ‘shit hitting the fan’.”
In addition to this act of goodwill from an unknown American donator and the staff at One Great Night On Earth Festival, it looks as if the artists will be putting back a lot into the cause as well with a very intelligent way of combatting how the artists get paid. In essence, all bands will be playing the festival philanthropically or at a seriously reduced cost, though some artists featured will also perform sideshows in capital cities in which they will generate their revenue. The remainder of the artists do not need or desire money usually gained from touring and would rather do something for a great cause without substantial financial benefit. Subsequently, the artists will also be given assistance from previously mentioned John Heinsen. As his social media skills are sought after around the world, it seems as if the bands are getting a pretty decent deal.
What sort of acts will be playing the festival?
The caliber of artists playing has been subject to much speculation since the media began to pick up on the sheer size of the festival. Moore described the lineup as:
“The bands will all be of a classic rock ilk. Suffice to say that we will feature artists who have ‘honed’ their skill as musicians and are adept to live performance. As we have a Generation X and Baby Boomer format, we will feature artists who have played from the 60s and 70s, though some of course are still playing now (the good ones who stand the test of time).”
It’s natural to assume that these acts could consist of some washed-out Australian acts from the 60s and 70s, however Moore assured me that that would not be the case:
“The lineup will consist of 90% US and UK acts”, she confirmed.
Although this could possibly be a somewhat ambitious aim, it is actually quite achievable when the crew and their networking ability is taken into consideration. The pulling power of the booking agent that is working with the festival is massive, ensuring that the bill itself will be a true spectacle. When asked about the headline act, there was not much information to go off:
“The headliner won’t be that much bigger than the acts that play before them”, mused Lyndel, “but they are a headliner for a reason, and that will become obvious when they are announced”.
That said, international media attention is expected when the announcement of the headline act comes, so it would be wrong to jump to the assumption that it won’t be big. Speculation abounds in regard to the headline act for One Great Night on Earth, though with the project now mid-negotiation, the announcements are imminent.
One Great Night on Earth will take place on the 1st December this year and is sure to become an annual event in your calendar over the next ten years, as it brings some of the best classic rock acts to our shores, and even to the shores of other countries who have also seen similar disasters in recent years. It is a type event that is not held anywhere else in Australia, and held very rarely internationally. It is sure to be one of the most exciting events this year.