Lame Van Halen leads Melbourne limping into 2013: opinion

Happy new year, everyone!

I hope you saw Christmas in with a bang from London, New York, or the back blocks of Gippsland (for those whose work won’t let them leave the confines).
Melbourne’s tallest buildings sang with a symphony of fireworks and about half a million people headed in to the city for the 10-minute display. The alcohol-free apparently event went off well, with police happy and lots of smiling tourists kissing for the TV cameras. However, the Letters to the Editor in today’s Age newspaper turns up the tarnished side of the PR coin: 
“We attended New Year’s Eve in the city,” writes Fiona Jackson. (Yes, she is related.) 
“I cannot fathom why, at Federation Square at 7.30pm, early 1980s music was being blasted and the stage lay empty. Duran Duran and Van Halen? Did the organisers just whack on the golden oldies radio station? At Flagstaff Gardens between 11pm and midnight, at least 2000 people soberly waited for fireworks, bereft of an MC or live entertainment. A 90-second countdown video and a DJ was embarrassingly lame.
“Here were missed opportunities where Melbourne could have shone and put on local acts. Many underemployed performers would have jumped at the gig. Let’s put some effort into the experience, not just crowd management.”
An excellent point regarding under-employed musos, and given the stories circulating in the press regarding heavy-handed policing at the MCG and other events, perhaps the jibe of crowd management vs experience has found its mark?

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PS: Sadly, I can’t share any Melbourne fireworks pix with you, not least because I wasn’t there. And to whip them off the City City of Melbourne home page would be absolutely too naughty, considering the content 😉

About the author

Fear is found on a creaking glacier in the Caucasus mountains and joy is encapsulated in the perfect Shanghai dumpling. And while I love a $500-a-night hotel room (who doesn’t?), sometimes the best stories are found in a $20 guesthouse. With an eye always out for good markets and great street eats, I write the travel news and features for the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s The Age newspapers, and features for whoever else asks. I have a particular soft spot for the wilds of the Middle East, scarves and carpets. My articles and photographs have been published in a range of consumer magazines and newspapers in Australia and abroad.

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