date: 11th Feb 2016

tags: History, Music

Take “a psychedelic journey” through Australia’s first ever open-air rock festival, held at Ourimbah in 1970. Peace, love and rock’n’roll!

>> Watch “Once Around the Sun” now.


On the Australia Day Weekend, 1970, the “Pilgrimage for Pop”, Australia’s first open-air rock festival, attracted an audience of thousands to listen to such great acts as Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, the Nutwood Rug Band, Jeff St John and Copperwine and more.

The festival was held on a 600 acre property owned by a retired army colonel, and much against the protests of more conservative citizens of the town of Ourimbah. An article from the Australian Women’s Weekly covering the event reported that one local was even worried that the music would kill his chickens! 60 police and 30 bouncers were in attendance to prevent drug crimes (and rumoured orgies), but they needn’t have worried. What followed was a great weekend of fantastic music, and a reportedly peaceful crowd. John Lennon and Yoko Ono even sent a telegram: “War is over if you want it.”

The events were recorded by Gordon Mutch, a Sydney-based experimental filmmaker, who began to make “Once Around the Sun”, an impressionistic film with it own unique soundtrack. But when funding fell through, the unfinished film was discarded and then lost. 40 years later, it was rediscovered and given new life by National Film and Sound Archive, a perfect time capsule of a different era.

You can watch “Once Around the Sun” on beamafilm here.

If you can’t get enough rock’n’roll, check out The Stones in the Park, Leslie Woodhead’s recording of The Rolling Stones’ amazing Hyde Park concert in 1969.

By Rebecca Boyle


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