Enliven the Gorge with sounds of music

IT IS hard to fathom the reason why there is no Basin concert anymore.

The rock concert was popular over decades since its start in 1969 and is regularly mentioned with fondness.

This nostalgia is almost instantly followed by questions over why the event has not been rebirthed.

The concert attracted tens of thousands of revellers of all ages and had a reputation as a family-friendly event.

It drew new and emerging Australian acts, old favourites, and showcased local legends.

A plan for a 2012 show lapsed when its organising committee failed to secure a $30,000 grant to cover sound and staging costs associated with the show.

Even a reduced $10,000 request failed to win support.

The requested amount was a pittance compared to the tourism and community benefits that the event could have brought to the city.

Several musicians had offered to play for free and even the Launceston City Council saw merit in the event, offering up $10,000.

The council wants to revitalise the Cataract Gorge this year.

It sees the Gorge as the start of a tourism site linkage in Launceston that includes Seaport, Royal Park, a redeveloped North Bank, and Inveresk.

Tourism heads talk about the need to get one extra night's visitation out of mainland and international tourists who visit Tasmania.

A Basin concert in 2015 would achieve this and should be included in any plan to breathe life back into the Gorge.

The Basin is a concert venue like no other - a natural amphitheatre - and its unique setting alone will draw tourists.

The problems concerning the large costs to stage such an event could be overcome by sober ambitions and economical thinking.

It does not need to be the city's second Breath Of Life festival; rather a complementary community-based event.

One of the problems facing Australian music festivals is the similarity of many of them.

Those that have managed to be successful have differentiated themselves, created a reputation and recognisable brand, and catered to niche tastes.

Monster festival Soundwave is an incredible success story, despite its short lifetime, and consistently puts on headliner-heavy performances with line-ups that cause rock fans to involuntarily and uncontrollably salivate.

The Falls Festival has a sturdy reputation; one that sees big international acts regularly enquire about performing at the event.

Then there are the myriad of one- day festivals that occupy streets and laneways on the mainland that rely on just a few big names to fill out their program.

If run along the same lines, the Basin concert has the potential to be just as successful as these smaller gatherings.

The concert successfully managed to pull popular Australian artists up until its end, with Screamfeeder and the Cosmic Psychos included in the last roster.

Changes to music industry distribution have forced bands to take their music out on the road more than ever before, simply to compete with others and make their living.

Launceston is blessed with some great musical acts and popular bands that, for the love of music, would commit their time to a worthy cause - as they have been so generous to do many times before.

It is time for the talk, wondering and navel-gazing over a Basin concert revival to stop, and for it to simply happen with unquestioned support from the Launceston City Council and state government.

And, while we're at it, whatever happened to the classical music event Night In The Gorge?

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