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Aquarius anniversary inspires Legends contest

Aquarius Legend entrant Al Basch will channel John Lennon at MardiGrass

To celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Aquarius Festival, this year’s Nimbin MardiGrass will launch a legends tribute competition, featuring such icons as Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Neil Young and many more. Aquarius Legends creator Billy Cliff said it would be a celebration of counterculture ideals, as personified by the groundbreaking musicians who led the way back in the heady 60s and 70s.

“These legends inspired generations with their music and messages, not just in terms of drug prohibition and enlightenment, but also as champions for the environment, alternative lifestyles, civil rights and peace,” Mr Cliff said.

“It may be five decades since Bob Dylan penned the protest song, The Times Are a-Changin’, but the dream still lives on and so does the music. These legends laid down the soundtrack in the age of Aquarius, culminating here in Australia at Nimbin in 1973 when thousands of young people gathered for the Aquarius Festival, a ten day celebration of love, peace and music, which has since grown into legend, and radically changed the face of the area forever,”

Mr Cliff said he expected a good roll up of talent for Aquarius Legends with “all the big names locked in” including Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa, John Lennon and a couple of Neil Youngs, but he wanted more entrants, particularly female legends.

“C’mon girls, show us your best Joni Mitchells and Janis Joplins, the more entrants the merrier. On MardiGrass Sunday, May 6, the tribute artists will go head to head in heats in the Hemp Bar with the top three going through to the final, and whilst we we welcome doppelgangers, we also want people to be free to reinterpret original works in their own way,” Mr Cliff said.”

The event is open to both professionals and rank amateurs, and the judging panel will include celebrity judge, Senator Derryn Hinch. The only criteria is the music must be associated with a counterculture icon, an artist who is strongly identified with the peace and love values of Aquarius. Sorry, that means no Elvis Presleys need apply. Ironically, Mr Cliff said the tribute concept was also partly inspired by the king, specifically the runaway success of Parkes Elvis Presley festival, which attracts over 20,000 visitors each year and injects millions into the local economy.

“If a straight little town like Parkes can pull it off with just Elvis, imagine what we can do in Nimbin with our Jim Morrisons, Jimi Hendrixs, Chers and Carol Kings,” he said.

If you would like to take part, please go to the contact page at nimbinmardigrass.com or email nimbinmardigrass@hempembassy.net or just rock up in your rig on Sunday, May 6 and register.