A Day On The Green stopped by Peter Lehmann Wines for its 17th time this weekend and it’s clear to see why it keeps coming back.
With a stellar line up of Australian music legends, a stunning location, fine wine and perfect weather why wouldn’t the punters come year after year. This year a massive 6,500 came to enjoy the iconic Australia Festival.
John Farnham the headline supported superbly by Mondo Rock, Kate Ceberano, Russell Morris and The Badloves. Each act well meshed to each other as well as being a highlight in their own right. With DJ sets from the cheeky and hyper active “Grand Master Baitz” in between each set to keep the crowds on their feet.
The Badloves has the difficult job of kicking off the day, that awkward opening set where people are still arriving and getting settled, despite the lack of front stage crowd Michael Spibby and The Badloves came out to rock playing a mix of their hits including Slave, I Remember, Lost and crowd pleaser Green Limousine.
Russell Morris was next and he was ready to party, getting straight into it with Walk My Blues, he didn’t do too much talking between songs other than to take a moment to introduce his band pointing out that if you’re familiar with them guitarist Peter Robinson who is a sheer magician on the strings needs no real introduction. The crowd lapping it up, The Real Thing and Sweet Sweet Love getting the best response.
Kate Ceberano kicked off with one of her oldest and most popular hits Pash, she exudes happiness on that stage. Engaging with the crowd from the moment she appeared. Kate likes to talk, sharing stories about where songs came from, writing songs with her brother Phil who had joined her on stage as he does regularly and more. For the most part she just sings and boy does she do it well. Her voice flawless and energy never ending. She included a tribute to Chrissy Amphlett with I Touch Myself.
Young boys Are My Weakness getting the biggest response from the crowd. Encouraging them to get on their feet in a tongue in cheek dig, calling out “this isn’t a Stevie Nicks show get up people”. Ensuring to mention she is a huge fan of Stevie but a live show is a place to dance.
During a break we were introduced to a couple from the crowd who had been selected as the “A Day On The Green Buddies”, winning a back stage tour and other prizes, culminating in an on stage proposal much to Belinda’s surprise.
Mondo Rock came next fronted by Ross Wilson, with all his dad dance moves he was his usual entertaining and eccentric self, never standing still for long. The original band line up taking the crowd back to their youth with classics like No Time, Cool World and the most well known (amongst this crowd) Come Said The Boy. There is no doubting their musical ability still sounding great and Wilson definitely knowing what to do on that stage, However the crowd were a little subdued during this set. Maybe a combination of the heat getting to them or maybe they were worn out from all that dancing with Kate. While the set still went down a treat and received great applause there weren’t as many people on their feet for this one.
Then it was time… the main event, the moment it seemed everyone was waiting for, the Legend himself John Farnham.
Kicking off with a hard and fast cover of We Will Rock You. John has this particular way of gracing a stage that in all the years he’s been performing it has never changed, he’s engaging, interactive, excitable. You can clearly see he is a man who loves nothing more than to perform, he loves the stage and the fans love him on it. From the moment he came out all 6000 plus punters were on their feet.
John loves a chat and to tell a joke or two, quite often at his wife expense, or to make light of his changing age and fitness level. You can see the sheer delight he takes when the crowd sings the songs for him, regularly asking for the spots to be turned off and the “house lights” on so he can see the faces who adoringly sing along for him. He looks nothing but proud, a little puffed but mostly proud.
Somehow managing to get through a full set without launching into Sadie at any point he covered a great range of hits Reasons, Chain Reaction, Don’t You Know It’s Magic, Two Strong Hearts, Burn For You and finishing off with an encore of It’s A Long Way To The Top before disappearing into the winery for a few glasses of red before calling it a night. It’s safe to say A Day On The Green was indeed an amazing day, each act delivering fabulous sets and giving the crowd what they wanted. There was literally something for everyone, with such a diverse age range from babies and families to the gentleman celebrating his 95th birthday.
Hats off to the masses who were a well behaved and respectful crowd, one thing that can’t go unnoticed is the cleanliness of the gardens, a far cry from other festivals I’ve been to it was rare to see any rubbish or empty bottles left around with most cleaning up as they went, or staff there to make sure it was under control.
Overall a remarkable day out featuring some of Australia’s finest musical icons, in a simply superb location with the event well looked after by staff and volunteers. Well done A Day On The Green and Peter Lehmann Wines, you sure know how to host a festival.
Review by Bronwen Caple