Like a slumbering beast, Narara Music Festival has laid dormant for over 30 years, waiting to rise again.
In 2017, that time has come. Originally held for the first time in 1983, and one last time in 1984, Narara Music Festival was a great, Australian rock festival that quickly faded into obscurity.
By the healing hands of two intrepid promoters, Adrian Buckley and Dan Burrows, Narara has been given new life. “I've always had an interest in the classic Australian festivals,” Adrian says.
“The festivals that began it all including Sunbury, Narara and the great festivals of the late '70s and the '80s. I wanted to do a rock festival and it was suggested I try and bring Narara back.”
The original 1983 line-up was a cornucopia of truly iconic Australian bands such as INXS, The Angels, Choirboys, Cold Chisel and The Church. Although deeply rooted in its heritage, Adrian says the newly revived Narara Music Festival is focused on the future of Aussie rock, not its past.
“That's what we want it to be and one of the interesting things that happened when we brought back Narara was there were people expecting it to be a heritage or nostalgia festival and we never ever wanted to do that. We wanted to give indie-rock bands and pub-rock bands a festival they could play at,” he says.
“In saying that, there's such an incredible oversupply of these nostalgia festivals anyway and we want to do something different. That's what Narara stands for, particularly the first year when it was pretty much all Australian acts; it stood for Australian rock & roll, and the bands who are playing are hopefully the future of Australian rock.”
The bill for this year's Narara Music Festival features a line-up of 12 rock, blues and psychedelia bands from across the country, including The Vanns, The Snowdroppers, Lepers & Crooks and Wild Honey. Completing the line-up are Polish Club, Chase The Sun, Bones Jones & The Skeletons, Transvaal Diamond Syndicate, Papa Pilko & The Binrats, Space Carbonara, Dos Enos and Ivy.
Although Narara has been reincarnated ostensibly as a platform for contemporary Australian indie bands, it also retains a sense of its heritage.
This year's bands will each play a song from the original '83 line-up in tribute to the festival's origins. “I think that's important,” Adrian says, “because we are using the name of something that was so iconic and I think it's important to pay homage to that, also to hear these bands play these songs.
“These are amazing songs and the songs that have been chosen are just amazing as well. The Vanns' version of 'Never Tear Us Apart' [INXS] is a really incredible cover of that song and I'm really excited to hear what these bands will do with these iconic Australian songs.”
In the year of its rebirth, Adrian has big, albeit realistic, plans for the continued success of Narara Music Festival for years to come. “In our first year we want the festival to be successful and be something that people come to,” he says.
“Then obviously over time we'll look at building it. Initially, we don't want to be one of those flash-in-the-pan events, we want this to turn into a really iconic rock, blues and psychedelia festival.”Narara Music Festival is on at Mt Penang Gardens (Central Coast) on 6 May.