By the end of a music festival one has normally experienced the following: exhaustion, hunger, ringing ears and coldness coupled with extreme satisfaction, jubilation and new discoveries. Although the Music On Film Festival is not quite a music festival in the traditional sense, one definitely experiences all of the above. This is a good thing.

The first (hopefully) annual Music On Film Festival was hosted at The Palais Theatre in St. Kilda from July 6 – 10. According to festival director, Dennis Watkins, the programme of the festival was essentially built around Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Waltz”, a concert film about The Band’s final concert which has widely been acclaimed as the greatest concert film of all time. Over the course of five days, twelve films were shown on a several-storey-high screen. The films ranged in style from documentary to animation to musical to concert film and showcased genres such as classic rock, pop, classical, blues, country, bluegrass and world music. The sound in the theatre was of live concert standards and one felt compelled to clap after each song (during the concert performances) as it felt as if the artists were actually in the theatre performing live.

The audiences were amazing. Over the course of the festival they ranged in age from one year old to about seventy years old, sometimes all within the same viewing. Although, for each movie the audiences waxed and waned, the turnout was relatively good, given it was the first Music On Film Festival. The mix of films was excellent and varied – true to form of a festival. Seeing twelve movies (many of them over two hours long each with some even stretching over the three hour mark) over the course of five days is actually pretty heavy going. There’s a fortune of information to take in and one doesn’t want to leave the theatre for fear of missing out.

It’s difficult to choose the highlights of the festival as each film was awesome in its own right. If one was forced to choose then it would have to have been the last day of the festival, which was named “Scorsese Sunday” as four films of the award-winning director, Martin Scorsese, were featured back-to-back.

We’re looking forward to the return of this amazing festival next year. If you missed this year’s instalment, you seriously missed out. It was magical.


“That made me so excited for Splendour! I think I’m going to grow my hair long again.” – A twenty-something leaving “Woodstock”.
“Look! That horse looks like a girl. That’s a funny looking horse!” “None of those girls are wearing bras!” – A pair of children during “Fantasia”.
“It’s broken, Keef!” – Yelled by a man during a hiccup that occurred in “Shine A Light”.
“We’re the biggest Pink fans in the world. Let us in!” – A group of girls who arrived early on opening night.
“Wow! I see Jack White in a totally new light after that film! I used to think he was a wannabe-weirdo. I stand corrected.” – A new Jack White fan upon leaving “It Might Get Loud”.

Interesting Trivia

– Eddie Kramer, whose photos of Led Zeppelin at their manor were featured in “It Might Get Loud” was a sound engineer at Woodstock as well as Jimi Hendrix’s long-time sound engineer.
– Bob Dylan pulled out of performing at “The Last Waltz” 15 minutes before he was due on stage as he felt that he didn’t want two films that he was in to be competing at the box office (the other film was Renaldo and Clara). He agreed to perform under the conditions that only two of the songs he performed were filmed.
– “Fantasia” was the first American film to use stereophonic sound.
– The wizard in the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is named Yen Sid which is Disney backwards.
– All three musicians featured in “It Might Get Loud” has contributed to a James Bond soundtrack. Jimmy Page played guitar on “Goldfinger”, The Edge co-wrote “Goldeneye” and Jack White wrote and co-performed “Another Way To Die”, the theme from “Quantum Of Solace”.
– “Pink’s Funhouse Tour” was filmed at the Sydney Entertainment Centre in New South Wales.
– Richie Havens’ performance of “Freedom” at Woodstock was totally improvised as he ran out of songs to sing during his encore.
– The two and three panel presentations featured throughout “Woodstock” were the innovation of a young film editor working on the film named Martin Scorsese.

– Brett Schewitz