Jack the music man

First appeared in The Moorabool News, March 3 2017 

The father of Meredith’s esteemed music festival has died aged 77.

John (Jack) Nolan passed away at St Vincent’s Private Hospital on February 23 after suffering from heart and breathing failure.

He founded the popular Meredith Music Festival some 25-years-ago when his son Chris approached him with the idea of hosting an end-of-year party.

In 1991, the event was held for Chris and his friends in a paddock, with live bands set up on the back of a truck.

Five years later, Chris suffered a multi-organ collapse that left him in a coma for six-months. Jack and his wife Mary have since cared for their beloved son, who appeared on stage to open Meredith’s sister festival Golden Plains, which was born in 2006.

The event was launched by the Nolan family who gathered onstage with Chris and festival organisers, Greg Peel and Matt High. They waited for Chris to give a blink, which served as the official opening of the festival.

Today, more than 12,000 people attend the Nolan family farm biannually for a weekend of live music.

The likes of Paul Kelly, Nick Cave, Augie March and Neil Finn have performed on the Meredith stage, located at the bottom of a hill and known as the ‘Supernatural Amphitheatre’.

Jack and Mary have been known to watch the festivals from the family pavilion, which is surrounded by giant pine trees planted by Jack’s grandfather around 60-years-ago.

Long term festival attendee, Gerard Keogh said he had spoken to Jack and Mary at several Golden Plain festivals since 2010.

“Usually, with Jack, it was to envy his parking spot and give thanks for the new and improved farm that greeted us each March,” he said.

“I remember him being interviewed onstage prior to the festival in 2013 or 2014 and he radiated love for his farm, his family and all who got to share in the spirit [of Meredith]”.

Leah Attard said she met Jack back in 2014.

“He kept me company while I tried to search for my friends, but I actually ended up sitting with him for a while instead, because he had so many stories to tell,” she said.

“I thought he was joking when he told me that he was the unofficial/official host and the whole festival was actually a big birthday party in his honour. I hope this year at Golden Plains the festival organisers manage to create a space where his grand old life can be truly celebrated”.

Golden Plains Festival will be held this weekend from Saturday March 11.

Jack Nolan was the son of James Edward and Elizabeth (dec); and brother of Mary Esther (dec.), James and Peter (dec.).

He was also a dedicated volunteer, contributing 60-years of service to the Meredith CFA.