Sunbury: Australia's Greatest Rock Festival

Sunbury: Australia's Greatest Rock Festival


We've had a look at a couple of great books from Melbourne Books before; indeed we had a chat with author Michael Lawrence who put together their superb books on Midnight Oil and Cold Chisel. With gift-giving time just around the corner, we thought it time to have a look at some of their new releases - starting with the first ever book on the iconic Sunbury rock festivals of the early '70s.

Sunbury: Australia's Greatest Rock Festival issurprisingly, the first ever attempt to cover this landmark festival in book form. Seen by many as a watershed moment in Australian rock history - a moment which established that vast numbers of people were prepared to head out to support local musicians, and a moment that also also perhaps established once and for all the undoubted quality and power of the local scene - the first Sunbury festival in '72 was a like a coming out party for all the greats. How's this for a line-up? Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs, Max Merritt & the Meteors, Spectrum, Country Radio, Carson, the La-De-Das, Chain, Wendy Saddington and more. Sunbury '73 featured many of the same, plus the likes of Madder Lake, Sid Rumpo and Blackfeather.

Sunbury '74 again featured some of the same big names, together with a reformed Daddy Cool, a pre-Shirl Skyhooks, the Dingoes and Angry Anderson & Phil Rudd's Buster Brown, together up & coming Brit outfit Queen, who were apparently ignored by most in attendance. Sunbury '75 was a bit of a fizzer financially and marked the end of the run, despite an appearance by Deep Purple. A young AC/DC were meant to play at this one, but pulled the pin after getting into a fight with Purple's roadies.

The book is a labour of love for Peter Evans, the man who operated the stage lighting for the first three Sunbury festivals. A 240-page hardback coffee-table type book Sunbury: Australia's Greatest Rock Festival is full of Peter's superb photos (together with some choice pix by the likes of Rennie Ellis) and in-depth commentary. It is, of course, a mandatory purchase for all fans of the era.

This book would, of course, make a great Christmas gift - for yourself or your Oz Rock friends and family. You should be able to find it at your local book retailer - if not you can order direct from Melbourne Books here. Make sure you also check out other music titles from/on the Dingoes, Jeff Duff, Captain Matchbox, Mick Thomas (of Weddings Parties Anything), the Seekers and more.

We hope you enjoy the sample pages we've included here and of course suggest you listen to our I Remember When I Was Young - Oz Rock from the '70s playlist while you're having a gander! 

- Dave Laing 

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