Did you know?
In USA all the stars did shows at the Fairs and in Australia they followed suite. Johnny O'Keefe, Lonnie Lee,The Bee Gees and a host of others toured Australia in caravans doing 20 to 30 minute shows in large tents. Lonnie recalls doing 28 shows in one day at Sydney Showground in 1964.

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The shows toured the country towns prior to 1959 were the circuses such as Wirth's, Ashton's and Lennon's, tent variety shows such as Sorlies and bush country singers such as Buddy Williams, Tex Morton and later Slim Dusty and Rick and Thel.
The new Rock'n'Roll star was a new thing! They were heard on every radio station, pictures in magazines and if you had the new TV, you saw them on it!

The First Tours

Quite amazingly the country areas of Australia had not seen much, if anything of the stars they heard on radio and read about in the magazines until 1959 ! Of course there were the country music shows that went around in their caravans, the tent shows such as the famous Sorlies and the circuses, however these did not feature the really big stars that radio broadcsat across Australia.

It was not until a few months after the ABC TV show 'Six O'Clock Rock' went to air, that it was considered a reasonable enough financial risk to take out large shows with the big record stars. In USA they had their 'Bandstand Cavalcade of Stars' and the big shows promoted by the Fell family, however here we had to rely on good old Lee Gordern to do it.

How they did it!

All of the travel in those days was by car and the production was supplied by the venue. Consequently it was not too good most of the time however the screams were so loud in the theatres they wouldn't have heard anyway!

The venues were mostly big old movie theatres which had the charm of the old variety days. They held from 6/700 to 2000 people and must have buckled with the scream noise and foot banging. The artists stayed in the local hotels as motels had not yet been introduced and when one looks at these hotels now, it shows there was not too much luxury on tour in those days.

Yes - Rock'n'Roll took the 'city' to the country and it has never left!

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