The legendary music festival held in August 1969 known as Woodstock, where peace, love and rock ’n’ roll was the order of the day, is being revived in the musical Rockville 2069. Here, rock music meets the future with a techno edge.
This contemporary rock offering sees more than 60 artists from different cultural and musical backgrounds teaming up to present a genre with a twist.
It is the brainchild of composer Johnny Ray, who has for the past five years worked to conceptualise an idea that is dear to his heart.
Co-writing the musical with Bruno Paiola, Ray was able to capture the essence of the rock era that revolutionised the world to bring a new voice to the rock musical scene.
As a fully orchestrated rock musical, the production will be released in the form of an album on Saturday. Audiences can enjoy an audio-visual concert and live performances of the tracks.
The 22-track album boasts artists such as Joseph Clark, Lucy Tops, Monique Hellenburg, Andries Botha and Cedric Van Denschrik. Lending further musical direction to the album is the creative Kyle Peterson, and it has been masterfully adapted and scored by Darryl Andrews.
Saturday also marks the 43rd anniversary of Woodstock, a day Ray marked on his calendar for the release.
“I know, as a rocker, what I want to hear. In my generation it was the rock culture that changed things with the central theme that was love and peace,” shares Ray.
“In the 1960s music stopped the Vietnam war. Today it’s the opposite, people are killing each other more than ever.
“That whole revolution of the 1960s is put it to the test in this story.”
The musical combines the rebellion of the Sixties and the Seventies, which comes alive when intertwined with a love story set against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic world.
“It’s set in 2069, when guys who are die-hard followers of the peace, love revolution get together to celebrate 100 years of Woodstock and while they celebrate the world comes to an end, so it tests the fibre of love and peace,” he grins.
Ray has also created a graphic novel to aid the album’s concept of communicating the story in a literary sense.
“Nobody knows the musical yet so I thought, ‘why not have a graphic novel made that people can follow the story to while listening to the album?’
“It’s also the first time in the world anybody’s put a musical together with a graphic novel.”
The idea has since culminated in a 40-page graphic novel that provides elements of a sci-fi visual journey that perfectly complements the soundtrack. Encased in a designed LP cover, the style elements of the novel merge retro with techno.
Guests will receive the album as well as the graphic novel on the night, as it is included in the ticket price. Ray hopes to stage the musical in a theatre venue with the help of sponsors.
“This is for the festivalgoers from Oppikoppi to Rocking the Daisies. I’m hoping to attract sponsors on the night. This musical is ultimately for West End and Broadway, I wrote it with that in mind,” he smiles.
• The concert for the CD launch of Rockville 2069 takes place on Saturday at Kelvin Grove in Newlands. Doors open 8pm, show at 8.30pm. Tickets: R120 to R400 at Webtickets.