Sunshine, good music and a handful of your crispy cool ciders; is there a better recipe for a good time? We don’t think so.
Ballarat’s annual Summer Sundays sessions is just enjoying its first strides in a COVID-world, having already welcomed the likes of ARIA award-winning singer Clare Bowditch, Aussie blues and roots muso C.W. Stoneking, Aussie legends Ella Hooper of Killing Heidi and Hayley Mary of The Jezabels across two stellar, reimagined gigs this month.
The key takeaways
- The final Ballarat Summer Sundays takes place this weekend
- Enjoy the gig in the flesh or from the comfort of their backyards via a live-stream
- Lineup features Benny Walker, Candi Wade and Ross Wilson & The Peaceniks
Looking for more music news? Head to our dedicated music news section.
Previously held annually at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, this year’s sessions have been designed to take place at Ballarat’s three major tourist attractions – Sovereign Hill, Ballarat Wildlife Park and Kryal Castle.
Designed to be a COVID-safe edition, punters this year can either enjoy the gigs in the flesh or from the comfort of their backyards via a live-stream, and since kicking off in early January, there’s just one more session left.
Going down on Sunday, January 24, this very last Summer Sundays session will see three very special performances within the legendary land of adventure at Kryal Castle – Australia’s only medieval adventure park.
Yorta Yorta singer/songwriter Benny Walker and talented local artist Candi Wade will kick off the action, ahead of headliner musician Ross Wilson, founder of the monumental band’s Daddy Cool and Mondo Rock.
As a solo artist with no less than 26 ARIA Top 40 hits to his credit as a singer, songwriter and producer, Wilson is one of Australia’s most awarded, respected and well-known artists, as proven by the Mondo Rock magnum opus ‘Come Said The Boy’, which has been valued among the works of Elton John and Van Halen as one of the most outstanding pieces of its time.
Bringing the cool to Ballarat, Wilson and his crackin’ band The Peaceniks are set to entertain music fans with entrancing energy of enlivenment and eagerness, marking their very first performance of 2021.
“We’re getting revved up for this one because this will be the first show I’ve done since March 15th last year [at the Airey’s Inlet Open Mic Festival],” Wilson reflects. “It was the following weekend when everything was shut down abruptly and so just like everybody else around, there was no work.
“It was a bit hard, but we got through it, and we’re really looking forward to playing again, especially kicking it all off at Kyral Castle; I’m pretty excited about that.”
While this will be Wilson’s first performance within the castle grounds, the Daddy of Cool himself is no stranger to the live performances, having hit stages around the country for more than 50 years, many of which took him to venues across Ballarat and regional Victoria.
A unique performer who can draw material from various eras of a truly sensational career, it will all be on display this Sunday. Punters can expect a selection of Wilson’s favourites from The Pink Finks and Mighty Kong to Mondo Rock and Daddy Cool, as well as several tunes from an acclaimed solo catalogue.
“We’re pretty excited. I’ve got my whole full band and we’ll be playing my favourites, like ‘Eagle Rock’, ‘Come Said The Boy’, ‘Cool World’, and ‘Summer of ‘81’, plus a couple of new ones as well so it should be interesting for everyone,” Wilson shares.
Alongside been Wilson’s first show in a year, this gig is looking to be an extra special occasion, marking the 50th anniversary of the record-smashing first Daddy Cool album and his signature tune ‘Eagle Rock’.
“We went alright back then,” Wilson laughs. “We released ‘Eagle Rock’ in May 1971 and then that was the national number one hit for 10 weeks in a row, as well as been number one on the Melbourne Top 40 singles chart. So, it’s pretty special that for the first time on its golden anniversary we’ll be playing in Ballarat.”
50 years on from one of his most recognisable tracks and the music keeps emerging. Last year saw the release of Mondo Rock’s first live album, Summer of ‘81, which was recorded at Victoria’s Pier Hotel, three weeks before the launch of their most popular album Chemistry in 1981. While this newly released album boasted some of their catchiest hits, Wilson has also revealed a brand new album is in the works.
“I’ve spent some time over the last year writing some new ones while I was in lockdown, particularly the second half,” Wilson reveals. “I also spent a lot of time going through old archives of mine, of like tapes, demos and recordings that I’ve done and I found a few songs I’d forgotten about that that I really liked. So, I’ve been working on those as well.”
While the style of music he produces with The Peaceniks is naturally different to the rock and pop hits we often associate him with, it’s his distinct voice that ties it all together, and it’s for that reason that this new album will stand on its own merits, pleasing music fans across the world.
“There are two things that tie my songs together. One is that I wrote them, and secondly, it’s the sound of my voice. It’s pretty unmistakable so when you hear me singing, it all kind of joins up and grooves together.
“On Sunday, I’ll be road-testing some songs from the new album and we’ll be performing a couple of these songs that people haven’t heard before… but I guarantee they will get a good reaction,” he adds.
And with unassuming amiability, Wilson sums up exactly what the Summer Sunday sessions are all about: “Ballarat’s back, music’s back and Ross Wilson’s back; we’re all back. It’s just going to be a really good time and chance to shrug off the COVID blues.”
You heard it from the man himself. So go on, round up your mates, get in early for your entry ticket to the attraction or jump online to view in the comfort of your home, caravan, holiday house or where ever you choose to get your Summer Sundays fix!
The final concert will be live-streamed via the Summer Sundays Facebook page.
The Summer Sundays concert series is presented by the City of Ballarat. For more information head to @SummerSundaysBallarat on Facebook.