One of the first names revealed as a possibility for Splendour in the Grass 2013 comes from left-of-centre, with Sydney Morning Herald on Monday suggesting that an appearance at the festival in July looks likely.
Monday’s Sydney Morning Herald casually dropped Bob Dylan’s name among a list of 70-and-older musicians already confirmed to be touring Australian this year. Amongst the likes of Paul Simon, Cliff Richard and Ringo Starr who are all on their way out here over coming months (and insanely recommended in Canada by my Canadian friends), an appearance by Dylan at “the Sydney Opera House and Byron Bay’s Splendour in the Grass in July” is seemingly all but announced in the newspaper’s gossip section.
Bob Dylan last graced our shores in 2011, making appearances in most capitals and his first ever performance in Byron Bay at Bluesfest. Like just about every Bob Dylan tour it wasn’t without its critics. That same newspaper summed up this Byron Bay appearance with gripes about the lack of big screens, interview access and press photographers.
Splendour in the Grass has often brought older generations of musicians to its traditionally younger crowds, perhaps most notably The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson in 2006. Dylan’s uncompromising, unique and hard-to-digest performance style would almost certainly be a poliarising affair for an audience of mostly uni students Tweeting and Instagramming their way through a weekend.
Splendour in the Grass traditionally releases its full lineup in April. Splendour in the Grass 2013 takes place in July at the festival’s new permanent home just outside of Byron Bay for the first time.
Acts playing at Splendour in the Grass typically do little by way of sideshows in capital cities while in the country – in 2011 the festival flew Coldplay and Kanye West into Australia for one-off performances at the festival. Unless Splendour organisers are trying to expand their appeal to older generations, with the average age of a Splendour punter being about three or four decades less than that of a Dylan concert attendee, a handful of Bob Dylan shows around the country seems inevitable.
Isis Magazine, a popular Bob Dylan fan magazine known for reliable rumours and speculation, has recently mentioned a likely Japanese tour for the northern hemisphere spring/summer.