Imagine a one-day festival with a killer lineup of classic rock acts large enough to draw 100,000 concert-goers, on top of that, what if this was the festival’s inaugural appearance and all proceeds went to charity? Sounds pretty swell, right?

The organisers behind the brand new One Great Night On Earth are planning to do just that, launching a brand new live music event which, according to the festival’s website, is “to be held annually on private land in regional Victoria”.

Additionally, the event was conceived as “an initiative to raise funds for the charity, Fine Green Paddock, whose purpose is to help regional Australians whose lives and livelihoods have been devastated by natural disaster.”

It all sounds like a splendid idea on paper, with organisers estimating a $16 million intake, with 100% of the proceeds being distributed to those in regional Australia who are most in need, and last April the festival was making quite the rumble in the media about its launch.

But despite a team that included representatives from Fine Green Paddock, a legendary director handling production, and the requisite team of producers and media directors – the festival had no confirmed lineup, venue or even many concrete details – except the firm promise that it would be going ahead on the 1st of December.

A date that is now a mere 15 weeks away, and we’re still yet to see the lineup materialise.

But project director and founder of Fine Green Paddock, Lyndel Moore, is adamant the festival will still run as planned, with twelve hours of entertainment performed in front of an expected audience of between 80,000 – 100,000.

You wouldn’t know that from the event’s official Facebook page though, which has a severe lack of information on the festival and has instead been busy posting multiple clips of vintage acts like Led Zeppelin, Creedence Clearwater Revival and David Bowie.

Recent activity though, sees organisers responding to the various questions whether the festival was still running for its touted December launch – if at all, especially given that date is fast approaching.

FasterLouder points out that several responses to the inquisitive queries declare that One Great Night On Earth “is still very much on track”, telling fans “if you can be patient a little longer, I am sure you will be pleased with the outcome.”

While the organisation and infrastructure for a festival is extremely important (just look at Supafest, Heatwave, Blueprint et al.), ticket sales live and die by the lineup – and despite promises of a “12 hour format that’s CHOCKERS with great acts,” there has been zero confirmation on any acts booked for the festival.

Its doubly worrying when you take into account that the lion’s share of the major players of Australia’s festival season have already announced their own billing.

Yesterday, Meredith Music Festival announced its Primal Scream-headed lineup for its December showing, while the ticketing frenzy for Falls Festival’s meaty New Years lineup caused a website meltdown.

Add to that the fact that the big league festivals – the likes of Soundwave, Big Day Out and Australia’s reborn All Tomorrow’s Parties – have all announced their acts well ahead of their early 2013 appearances, and all events happening after One Great Night On Earth’s proposed December date.

Not only that, they’re all established organisations with well-oiled marketing, promotion and brand recognition that are equally scrambling for a share of the festival pie, yet here’s a brand new player to the scene looking for a (sizeable) slice of the action.

Considering the fierce competition and quickly shrinking timeframe, calling One Great Night On Earth’s declaration to sell 100,00 tickets ahead of its December 1st launch ambitious is an understatement.

But it’s not unprecedented. Prince was able to get just as many bums on seats for his Welcome 2 Australia tour despite its lightning turnaround from announcement to sale and performance – but he is the Purple One.

The question becomes then, what act – or combination of acts – would be big enough or enviable enough to get a lightning sellout?

The most detailed clues so far have come from the festival’s organisers, who teased that the “lineup will consist of 90% US and UK acts” focused on a “Generation X/Baby Boomer” format, featuring “artists who have played from the 60s and 70s.”

So, the newly-reformed Black Sabbath maybe? How about a visit from Aerosmith on their comeback trail?

They’d both certainly have the pulling power that One Great Night On Earth need, but when you add in the charity aspect to the equation, it seems unlikely.

On their Facebook, organisers commented that “our greatest revenue stream (ticket sales) goes back to a charity to support our fellow man and it is with this in mind that our artists are signing up to perform.”

Which essentially means that the festival doesn’t have the big bucks of, say Soundwave, to ensnare a high-profile act to make the long trip Down Under for a one-off event worthwhile.

Instead, the festival is basically relying on bands who will perform for free or a severely subsided price, and yet is big enough to ensnare enormous crowd numbers – at short notice.

A doable notion, but a risky one. Either way the equation doesn’t quite add up.

Either the bands are performing for free for the charity event, which makes it unlikely that they’ve got a drawcard big enough to fulfill their huge ticketing numbers; or they’ve got the revenue to afford an enormous act and/or acts who will sell 100,000 tickets in a snap, which makes the trumpeted notion of $16 million in profits going to charity seem slightly dubious.

Just a few years ago a similar effort was made to raise money for flood victims in Queensland. The Reggae For Recovery concert in Brisbane, put on by promoter Andrew McManus, failed to deliver a single dollar for flood victims after poor attendance actually saw the event lose money.

One Great Night On Earth isn’t necessarily destined (or doomed) to the same fate, but very real risks remain and no event is a guaranteed slam dunk, particularly if it’s your first time to the net.

However, organisers have teased that they may already have an ace or two up their sleeve – but are tied by contractual obligations to stay quiet – for the time being.

“We engaged a booking agent out of the UK at the start of the year,” they commented on their social media, “[Who] is one of the best in the business though you don’t get to engage the skills of someone with his merit without signing an agreement that binds us to announce when they are ready.”

Adding, “when heavy hitting performers ask us to wait and then announce to market with a BANG, that’s exactly what we will do. It’s not just one BIG HITTER we’re signing, it’s a 12 hour format that’s CHOCKERS with great acts.”

Emphasising that, “we are NOT a Big Day Out, nor are we are Soundwave… we won’t be releasing information as they do, nor will we operate the way they do. The line-up and festival will be skewed toward those who not only dig their tunes though have a firm intent to make great humanitarian change.”

“Yes, this project is still very much on track and if you can be patient a little longer, I am sure you will be pleased with the outcome.”

Either way, there’s no harm in giving One Great Night On Earth the benefit of the doubt.

Despite the potential risks of launching a virgin music festival in today’s climate, where many have crumbled before they’ve even begun under far less ambitious aims (2011’s music event death toll should be a stark reminder); when the dust settles, the addition of new blood to Australia’s live music scene is a good thing.

Let’s just hope that all our concerns are for naught and we have the successful launch of new festival to add to the calendar, instead of the steaming remains of another also-ran. In other words, another Harvest instead of a Supafest.

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