by Peter Vawser
Last year Riverstock 2009 celebrated the 40th anniversary of the original Woodstock Music and Art festival with temperatures in the dry 40’s and the country in drought.
Riverstock 2010 challenged the organisers and technical crew with persistent, albeit welcome, rain from Thursday through to Sunday night! But what a joy it became. StageRight Productions provided a water resistant solution to the precipitive problem and, well Hey Man! dancing in rain is fun! Check out the pics on Facebook and the SA Warriors Website to prove it.
Through Thursday and Friday the crew toiled in the rain, erecting marquee and sound stage, running cables, aligning pantech trailers for storage and stage access, setting up tents and facilities and just making stuff happen so that the players in bands and acoustic acts that were to come could actually do their stuff!
And as with previous Riverstock, two magnificent stages were provided At the far end of the outdoor arena, close to the well patronised beer tent, “Stage 2”, catering for smaller and acoustic ensembles, set up and Managed by Trevor Philby. At the top end of Moorook Riverfront Park, “Stage 1” engineered by Lance and crew from StageRight Productions, and Stage Managed by Kevin Neeson. 8,000 watts front of house PA, full stage mix and lights, we were set to be part of a weekend that some budding musos could only ever dream of!
And in the rain we played! The conditions did take their toll on the setting up procedures and our scheduled start time on Friday was delayed by 15 minutes to 7.15pm, but from then it was full on with Stage 1 featuring Woodstock tribute bands “Long Time Coming” (covering Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young), “Ratatat Revival” (the best Credence you’ll hear live today), “La Crème” (doing Jimmy Hendrix and 10 Years After), “Full Tilt Janis” (lead singer Mel IS the on stage reincarnation of Janis Joplin), “Sultana Bunch” (the best Santana you’ll hear without having to wait for Carlos to tour) and “The Jackets” (covering classics from The Who including a selection from the Rock Opera “Tommy” but sadly having their Friday night set cut short because of the outdoor midnight curfew).
And throughout, Stage 2 providing a variety of popular, country, blues and folk provided by Tush, Little Riverbound, Brompton Blues Band (BBB), Special K’s and Richie Wavins (Wayne Rich, with his special tribute to Woodstock stalwart Richie Havens). The night was full.
But wait, there’s more! After midnight we let it all hang out at the Club with “Full Tilt Janis” again and friends playing through til 2.00am. What a day!
Day 2. Saturday November 13…
… was a somewhat subdued* morning. Some of us awoke in time to see the foggy cloud gently caress the peaceful river as it embraced and absorbed the falling drizzle. Others elected to forgo the early delights and chose to arise closer to lunch time… They missed out!
From 11.45am through the afternoon Stage 2 and Stage 1 took turns providing the non-stop live entertainment that the Riverstock festival guarantees.
First surprise of the day was “Wound Up” who delighted with covers from the Sha Na Nas, the band that played alongside Jimmy Hendrix at Woodstock ’69. Then “Wild Flower” on Stage 2, followed by the debut performance of the “Warrior Soul Choir”, an initiative set up this year where Association members can be part of a managed choir delivering soul and other classics, singing this time to a recorded backing track.
Brompton Blues Band (BBB) on Stage 2, and back to Riverbound on Stage 1, demonstrating to us that there are as many versions of Country music as there are stars in the sky! “Two’s a Crowd” on Stage 2 led us into “Lost in Bass” on Stage 1, pumping up the energy and the volume! Duo “Tush” back on Stage 2 returned some calm before “Undercover” unleashed themselves on the main stage.
“The Jackets Unzipped” shared some acoustic original material on Stage 2 before local band “Crunch Lab” rocked it out big time. “Little Riverbound” showed their versatility with a set on Stage 2 before the “Warrior Soul Choir” gave their second performance for the weekend. Having worked out some logistical issues this showing really let the Choir’s potential shine!
The “Special K’s “ on Stage 2 finished the afternoon segment for Saturday and shortly after 6.00pm “The Jackets”, this time in full kit played their “The Who” set to kick off the evening session. They were followed by “La Crème”, “Long Time Coming”, “Full Tilt Janis”, “Rock the Casbah”, “Sultana Bunch” and for the first time at Riverstock 2010, “Ratatat Revival” with their tribute to “Creedence Clearwater Revival”! (Rollin’ on the River!).
All these Stage 1 acts supported by those on Stage 2 – Kieren Farrel, Two’s a Crowd, Wild Flower, BBB, and Richie Wavens.
And as midnight fell, Stage Manager Kev finally subdued* the crowd sufficiently for Sultana Bunch to finish at the outdoor venue with the promise that the Club was about to kick off with “Lost in Bass” and “Rock the Casbah” to take us through til the clock on the wall said it was time at 2.00am! Another big day….
Day 3. Sunday November 14…
It had been a big** night. The rain had stopped by about 10.30 Saturday night and dawn on Sunday was magnificent! An early contingent of crew gathered to prepare*** the stage for the day and by shortly after 9.00am Lance had the big rig runnin’ and an informal open jam evolved with several acoustic guitars, a bass, drums and numerous vocalists lettin’ it all just happen! The sun was shining, the river-birds were singing and with bacon and egg sandwiches and great coffee we knew the day would be a cracker!
BBB opened the formal program on Stage 2, followed by local teenage band “Five Star Hotel”. These young guys and girl rocked their hearts out and by the audience applause it was clear that the future of music in the Riverland districts is healthy and secure!
The scheduled program became dynamic as a substitution was needed on Stage 2. Sadly “Wildflower” had to withdraw as poor Cath had sung her soul out with Lost in Bass on Saturday and a good part of her voice went with it! Richie Wavens stepped in and then it was back to Stage 1 with “Long Time Coming” and the growing crowd appreciating and enjoying the perfect sunshine. Richard Tonkin delighted all with his ukulele on Stage 2 then “Wound Up” once again on Stage 1. “Special K’s” were back on Stage 2 followed by “Riverbound” on Stage 1, electric and energised and oozing out more country charm. “Tush” provided more class on Stage 2 then “Undercover” came out in the open again on Stage 1 with their blend of classics, pop and rock.
Another dynamic program change saw “Two’s a Crowd” finish the Stage 2 entertainment before our attention turned back to Stage 1 for Richie Wavens, who bravely ploughed through broken strings, the terror of alternate tunings and other instrument hardware issues with true Woodstock authenticity. And then, the final act for Riverstock 2010 “Crunch Lab” exploded onto the stage with their polished pot of popular party pop pub rock! Moorook Riverfront Park rocked to the limit as this final set came to an end and the crowd applauded and made their unified commitment to return in a year’s time for Riverstock 2011.
During the afternoon, Riverstock 2010 MC Peter Vawser and Moorook and District Community Club Manager Jarrod Loxton thanked and praised all involved in the planning, organisation and physical effort that had taken place to make the Festival a reality. Special thanks go to all the sponsors for their support, without which such an event could not be held for entry by gold coin donation!