Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 4. 21st March 1973
Festival Wellington — Suck your Own Daisy
Suck your Own Daisy
Encircled mouths sucking on daisies that associate city rubbish bins with festival entertainment, groups of flags and drums, and a programme which only your neighbour received, have been the City Council's Public Relations method of manifesting a community festival. Festival Wellington 73 opened officially on Friday night at Civic Centre, with brass bands, pipe bands, clowns, marching girls, dancing in the streets, a masked ball for the city's elite, a barbecue for the plebs and a melee sponsored by the Mongrels (glass courtesy of N.Z. Breweries).
Mercer Street was blocked off early in the night and thousands of citizens crowded the stage area hoping to catch a glimpse of the mayor and other dignitaries between the ranks of bands and marching girls. And a splendid scene it was too!
The "invitation only" Festival Masked Ball began at 9.00pm on Friday, The masks no doubt were to allow the dignitaries to get really pissed without being recognised. The supper was appalling — fruit salad and cream, potato salad and Watties peas and chicken and ham. I stood in my hippie disguise munching ham next to Muldoon and the past three "Maori of the Year" winners, a little perturbed that I had forgotten my tuxedo.
The scene outside was equally reflective of N.Z. culture, featuring the old tradition of hoonery and bottle smashing. Apparently the Festival Committee freaked out after Friday and demanded that bands vary their music. This was because the Police (well known authorities on rock concerts) had advised the Town Clerk that a Sociologist whom they had exclusive contact with, said it was "the continuous beat of the bass and drums which turned the audience into zombies making them smash bottles and riot". So the band for Saturday night, Mammal, were actually asked to play "Knees up Mother Brown" and "Irish Eyes are Smiling" and to take lead guitarist and drummer off for half an hour. They didn't, of course, and the Saturday dancing went off without incident.
More about the Festival next week. But remember Saturday night's Hot Rock Concert with the 1953 Memorial Society Rock & Roll Band, Mammal, and the Return of the incredible Tamburlaine all at the Union Halt, Saturday, 8.00pm, $1.00.