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A Vintage Aussie Music Festival Is Getting Brought Back To Life

Written by Emmy Mack on May 17, 2016

It’s been a long time between drinks for the Narara Music Festival.

Back in 1983, before most of us were even skidmarks on the underpants of existence, as many as 45,000 punters made their way to the leafy NSW suburb of Somersby (confusingly, not actually Narara) to see the biggest acts in Australia rock the fark out of the Cenny Coast bush.

As legend has it, hundreds of fans got stranded at Narara train station on their way to see the massive lineup, which featured INXS, Men At Work, Cold Chisel, The Angels, Choirboys and more, after (understandably) getting confused about the festival’s exact location.

But despite that small hiccup, the event was a roaring success and returned the next year with an even bigger bill featuring international acts like Simple Minds, The Pretenders, Talking Heads, Eurythmics and Def Leppard.

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Image Via Facebook / Kerrie Gadd Dunstan

Flash-forward more than three decades and the festival is set for a resurrection, thanks to local promoter Adrian Buckley.

Buckley, who is also responsible for the annual Wollombi Music Festival and many other local favourites, is promising that the legend will return next year “with a twist”.

Taking place on May 6th, 2017 at a brand new home – Ourimbah’s Forest Of Tranquillity – the new-look Narara Music Festival will follow in the footsteps of its predecessor by 1) also not taking place at Narara, and 2) with a bill featuring “Rock, Blues, & Psychedelia in an incredible setting”.

“There will be no folk, no alt-country, no electronica…just Rock & Blues,” explains Buckley, adding that punters can “leave your yoga mat at home”.

“We want to capture the essence of the old school festival where music & the love of music created an energy all of its own, so though we’ll create an amazing space in an amazing place it will be a stripped back & raw festival experience,” he says. “Head bands are encouraged!”

The outdoor festival will also shun modern boutique festival trimmings by keeping it simple, and all about the music.

“There will be a fantastic licensed bar & quality food trucks for all kinds of tastes, but there will be no market stalls outside of an official merchandise tent so you can buy the music/merch of the bands you loved over the day & night,” Buckley says.

Nostalgic nods to the original events will also continue with another interesting logistical twist. As the promoter explains, the final two songs from each 2017 artist’s set will actually be covers of songs performed by bands at the original festival.

Kind of like a running, multi-band Like A Version.

Other bands to grace the original event’s bills include Mi Sex, Australian Crawl, The Celibate Rifles, Divinyls, Hoodoo Gurus, The Models and “A whole heap more luminaries of the music world”.

We’re definitely keen to hear more about Narara ’17 (and it’ll also be interesting to see whether the event gets any love from triple j).

Now here’s a #flashback: the original fest was choc-full of iconic moments, including this one time when a fan presented Michael Hutchence with an actual live baby lamb during INXS’s headlining set, and this other time when The Angels played with a blood red full moon rising over the stage behind them.

Their entire set was professionally filmed and released as a live album and VHS concert (lol) dubbed Live At Narara.

Check out some of the footage below.

Watch: The Angels – Take A Long Line Live At Narara Music Festival 1983
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gc9FRvk1yW8

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