10 August 2010

Picnic at Hanging Rock

The summer of 1987-1988 was like an economic “phoney war” similar to that we just experienced, 20 years on, with the 2007-2008 financial crisis. In the months following the 1987 share-market crash, we were waiting for the impact to hit. One of the casualties was surely the Neon Picnic rock festival, which went belly up hours before show time. But the global financial woes were just one of many things that caused the Picnic to be cancelled. The directors were inexperienced and completely out of their depth. The festival was targeted at late-1980s yuppies; the ticket itself was a brightly coloured credit card. And on the bill was a diverse range of quality acts but no real drawcard to drag the mythic, well-heeled, musically broadminded sophisticates into a paddock. They needed a Bon Jovi to draw the bogans and underwrite the whole thing. (Eleven years later, Sweetwaters 1999 was similarly wrong-headed and mismanaged – and by someone with much more experience.)
Neon Picnic headline

This article from Rip It Up, February 1988, and more about the Neon Picnic, can be read at AudioCulture.


John E said...

Nice post Chris - I had a ticket too, and kept hold of my wee neon credit card for years,a reminder of the tail end of '80s excess - I was out of pocket too - I had planned to make a killing selling my hippy South American jewellery - I'd just got back with a swag of stuff- I made it to Hamilton before finding out it was down the tubes.


John Edwards

Peter McLennan said...

great story! Cheers for posting this. I've been listening to a bit of Nona Hendryx lately...

Vickie said...

Glad I found this, I went to the Waitakere concert, can't remember too much about it now but was interesting to read the story behind it.

Anonymous said...

Great story I just came across it and brought back some memories for me. I was living in Mt Eden having just arrived from Canada and read about the festival I had Worked on several music festivals in Winnipeg so I went down and offered my services.
I ended up selling tickets, tshirts and festival pins in Queens Square on the corner of Queen & Custom in downtown Auckland out of my tiny red Subaru Van, I had great time meeting people and was looking forward to the concert.
Now I'm retired in Florida and still have one Neon Picnic pin that I've kept over the years
Brian M Gates
Punta Gorda Florida