Previous find of the month
Good Friday Pop Festival : 27th of March 1970
This month we have the file '70/1275F - Forests Branch - Frank Boddy - Canberra Young Libs - Feet Pop Festival'. This file covers the organisers correspondence with the Department of the Interior in preparing the ‘Good Friday Pop Festival’ held on the 27th of March 1970. The main organiser of the event was Frank Boddy on behalf of the Canberra Young Liberals and ‘Feet’, the Free Expression Entertainment Troupe.
FEET foot pop festival. The Canberra Times, 14 March 1970, p.14: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article107913738
The festival was held at ‘Brubee’, an unofficial name adopted by the organisers of the festival for Stromlo Block 17 which was located adjacent to the future suburb of Duffy. Initially the main organisers were looking for a site in Pierces Creek but this was declined by the Department because of the risk of bushfires.
The following review of the concert from the 'Young Canberra' column, page 18 of the 31st of March 1970 Canberra News, provides a good overview of the day:
Although Joshua Moore's 'Griffin's Town' column on page 8 of the same issue was a little more cynical:
A second festival was held in 1971. The organisers requested use of Stromlo Block 17 again but it was unavailable as pine seedlings had been recently planted on the site. On page 7 of the 10th of April 1971 Canberra Times it was reported that "Pop festival collapses". The festival had been relocated to a paddock just over the northern border at Tinya and was to run for three days. A variety of problems occurred resulting in the festival finishing at the end of the first day.
Additional reports on the 1970 festival can be found on page 6 of the 28th of March 1970 Canberra Times and page 6 of the 5th of April Canberra Sunday Post. These can be found on microfilm held by the ACT Heritage Library. We could find no information in regards to this festival online.
The Milesago website has a history of Australian rock festivals between 1970 to 1975. It lists the "Pilgrimage for Pop", held at Ourimbah, NSW over the Australia Day weekend in January 1970 as Australia’s first rock festival. This could possibly make the Good Friday Festival the second open air rock festival in Australia, however this is almost impossible to confirm as the Milesago website points out:
“Another notable fact is that while these festivals were significant events and historically very recent, most were poorly reported at the time and have been even more poorly documented since. There remains much work to be done in collecting, recording, organising and analysing this information and as time passes it becomes ever more pressing to capture for posterity as much as possible about this fascinating aspect of our social history.” (1)
ArchivesACT would be interested to hear from anyone who attended these Good Friday festivals: firstname.lastname@example.org
Well my goodness - what a surprise. My son, the three year old in the photo, who still lives in Canberra alerted me to this. Yes, I was there and remember it well. A beautiful day, with my wife (both of us in suitable hippy garb of the times), as well as son and dog. The music was less than wonderful, but... It is fun to read about all the issues associated with agreeing to a venue, even involving the Prime Minister! - shows how small, "bush", and delightfully naive Canberra was in 1970. I was PhD student (from Canada) at ANU at the time and now live back in Ottawa. In my archives here I have (somewhere) a glossy black and white print of the photo obtained at the time from the Canberra Times.
I also remember the DJ Holger Brockman, as well as a famous(?) rock program on 2CA called Rafael's Blues - very avant garde stuff at the time.
Another big event around then was the Aquarius Festival of the Arts - held on the ANU campus. Open-air and tented performances of various kinds, anti-war protests, camping out everywhere, lots of weed in the air, etc... A sort of minor Woodstock. I was a photographer for Woroni (the ANU student newspaper) then, and still have many photos - even some negatives. Funny how things pop up.
Ian Crain, Ottawa Canada