The history and hedonism of the Leeuwin Estate Concert

Australia is a nation with a proud history of producing excellent fine wines. The sun, dry climate, and superb soil quality lend themselves to an exquisite terroir, and one of the very best names in Australian wine is that of Leeuwin Estate.

Founded in 1974 in the tranquil Margaret River region of Western Australia with just a few juvenile vines, the label has since become a byword for world-class vinos renowned for their sophistication.

Since 1985, though, Leeuwin Estate has become just as well known for its annual concert as it has for its great wines. Held in the visually stunning grounds of the winery, the Leeuwin Estate Concert is one of the most eagerly awaited events across Australia, attracting enormous crowds to watch international musical superstars performing a medley of hits.

The great Estate

Though the 2015 event has been and gone – the gig was held in March – it’s never too early to start looking forward to the Leeuwin Estate Concert in 2016. Though the show’s headline act has not yet been announced – it traditionally remains a heavily guarded secret until at least November – you can rest assured that it will be an act drenched in international acclaim.

With this in mind, why not book your Leeuwin Estate Concert holiday package with Motive Travel? We’ve been organising trips to this magnificent event for years, and it always proves a hugely popular occasion. We don’t just provide tickets to the Leeuwin Estate Concert itself – you’ll also be treated to a couple of nights accommodation in selected hotels near the Margaret River region, not to mention being whisked to and from the concert in a laid-on bus, if our recent 2015 event is anything to go by.

So who are some of the famous faces to have graced the Leeuwin Estate Concert, and what’s the story behind this great Australian extravaganza?

Three decades of decadence

Way back in 1985, London’s renowned Philharmonic Orchestra embarked on a tour of Australia. However, to support their jaunt across the land Down Under, it was apparent that they needed a little financial help.

Such a revered musical set-up could not be allowed to travel all that way around the world without playing in Western Australia, so the Leeuwin Estate winery provided a few dollars so the tour could continue. In gratitude, the London Philharmonic Orchestra played in the grounds of the vineyards in a thank you gesture – and the rest is history.

That first concert 30 years ago wasn’t completely without its share of controversy – after all, what major festival isn’t? Because the Margaret River is so remote – Perth, the nearest city, is some 267 kilometres away – it was feared that, should an emergency occur, the authorities, ambulances, and suchlike would not be able to reach the winery in time. However, those concerns went unfounded, and 5,000 revellers descended upon the event, which was covered by fascinated media the world over.

A who’s who of famous faces

Every year since, Denis and Trisha Horgan, who own the winery, have put on a concert with the help of their family. Household names from around the world have graced the stage at Margaret River – artists that wouldn’t look out of place headlining Glastonbury or Woodstock. The late, great Ray Charles performed in 1988, accompanied by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. Diana Ross took to the microphone in 1992, followed a year later by the evergreen Welsh wizard, Tom Jones.

1998 saw Latin legend Julio Iglesias sing up a storm, after Dame Shirley Bassey wowed the crowds the year previous. Perhaps the Leeuwin Estate’s biggest coup came when Sting was signed up to perform in 2005, performing a medley of his solo material as well as delving into The Police’s back catalogue.

Who will be on show in 2016? Find out soon by keeping in touch with Motive Travel – as a Perth based travel agency, the Leeuwin Estate Concert in 2016 is an event close to our heart!

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