The Canberra Times

Australia's best tribute bands unite in festival bringing beloved music legends to Jindabyne

Fab four of a different time: Australian Rock Collective members (from left) Darren Middleton, Davey Lane, Mark Wilson and Kram will lovingly bring the Beatles most-loved songs to the festival stage.

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"This is the greatest and best song in the world," are Jack Black's words at the start of his band Tenacious D's hit song Tribute released back in 2001. He could have well been talking about the playlist at a new music festival that's about to hit Jindabyne in the NSW Snowy Mountains.

This Easter, music lovers will be treated to live renditions of songs that are amongst the best and most loved from some of music history's most legendary bands and artists, all played by some of the world's leading tribute bands.

The line-up has been brought together for the inaugural This Is Just A Tribute (TIJAT) festival that's being billed as a weekend of fun and music celebration across the generations in the beautiful surrounds of the Snowy Mountains.

From the Beatles to Oasis, Abba to Fleetwood Mac, INXS, Queen, David Bowie and more, the two-day event is a chance to hear the biggest hits performed live on stage by musicians who are devoted to faithfully paying homage to their musical heroes.

Headlining is the Beatles-obsessed Australian Rock Collective (ARC), the rock supergroup comprising four celebrated musicians from some of Australia's most legendary bands - Davey Lane of You Am I, Kram of Spiderbait, Mark Wilson of Jet, and Darren Middleton of Powderfinger. Since launching ARC eight years ago as "just a laugh", the four friends have put a new slant on the concept of a tribute band with their sell-out tours bringing the finest work of the Beatles, and others like Neil Young, to the stage.

Dan Morgan, from the festival's organiser Second Sunday, said the music at the event would "resonate with multiple generations of music lovers".

Australia's best tribute bands unite in festival bringing beloved music legends to Jindabyne

"We'd had the idea kicking around for a while," he said. "We thought, 'Wouldn't it be great to go to a music festival where you literally knew every song and you could sing along' - a festival where you don't have to sit through B sides or rarities, it's just these timeless songs that you love from the last 30, 40 or 50 years. All killers and no fillers.

"We thought about the perfect line-up of artists that everyone would really love, and then did some investigating and found some brilliant, and renowned, artists who just happen to be based out of Australia. We were spoiled for choice."

Morgan said the festival was a chance for people to experience the next best thing to actually hearing their most-loved bands playing live.

"As the years roll by, some of these artists that we've all grown up with you just can't see perform anymore," he said. "You can have the recordings but it's a different experience to hear all these songs performed live by incredible musicians who love them as much as you do.

"I'm an Oasis tragic but with the Gallagher brothers punching on it's unlikely they'll tour again so it makes me so happy that Noasis are on the bill and I can't wait to see what they bring."

Australia's best tribute bands unite in festival bringing beloved music legends to Jindabyne

For the rock royalty members of Australian Rock Collective, an obsession with the Beatles drives them to "go deep" and ensure their renditions of the classic songs are as close to the original as possible.

"All four of us are just obsessed with the Beatles," said bass player Mark Wilson. "We'll talk about it non-stop - all the tiny little elements. It's just great to be able recreate these songs. We're nerds ultimately and we go really deep.

"We'll do things like figure out what kinds of amps they used on the recording and we'll use the same guitars, work out how they got the sound so you can get as close as possible to it so if you closed your eyes you'd think it was [the Beatles]. That's how we feel it's got to be done, with all the love and care that we have for the band."

Wilson said he learned to play guitar as a young boy by listening to the Beatles, particularly the work of fellow bass player Paul McCartney.

"For all of us, we listened to Beatles records and that's what taught us how to play music, we never went to music school," he said. "We've grown up playing these songs.

"We are just massive Beatles fans; it's a joy for us to play these amazing songs and tackle them in a live scenario. And the best thing is we are four mates and out there being able to do this together."

One of the added special elements to the festival is that the audience has the chance to vote on which songs the bands play in their sets. People can choose favourites from a list on the TIJAT website.

"We wanted to make sure the artists play all the tracks people especially wanted to hear," said Second Sunday's Dan Morgan.

"We'll close the list off before the festival and it will be like the Brownlow medal, you won't know until the day. But it will surely be amazing, just to have a set list of songs that you would be hard pressed to hear performed anywhere in the world I would think."

To get your tickets to Australia's first-ever major multi-day outdoor music festival dedicated to tribute acts head to the This Is Just A Tribute website.