Blue Grassy Knoll
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Blue Grassy Knoll are a 5 piece gypsy-bluegrass ensemble that formed in Melbourne in 1996. Original members were Steph O'Hara (violin, mandolin), Simon Barfoot (guitar, vocals, drums) Gus Macmillan (Banjo, Flute) Philip McLeod (accordion, cello, mandolin, harmonica) and Alex Miller (double bass). Other members have included Dan Witton (double bass, 1999–2000), Phil Collings (guitar/drums, 2001) and Mark Elton (double bass, 2007 - )
Over their 13-year career they have cemented their place as one of Australia’s most unusual, accomplished and enduring performance troupes, as their cross-over from music to live filmscore has set them apart from any other ensemble. They have created a body of work encompassing four feature-length live filmscores, five short live filmscores, have released 4 CDs, and have embarked on 15 international tours, performing at festivals on all 5 continents, the highlights being seasons at The New Victory Theater on Broadway, The Edinburgh Festival, Lyric Theatre in London, the Sydney Opera House, and festival appearances in Ireland, China, South Africa, Brazil, Korea, Germany, the Netherlands and New Zealand.
After a 4-month tour across the USA and Canada in 2003 the band were beginning to experience touring fatigue and only performed sparingly over the next 4 years, playing once a year at festivals such as Sydney's Rocks Aroma Coffee Festival in 2004 and 2005 and the Singapore Arts Festival in 2006. A turning point for the band came in 2007 when they were commissioned by the Victorian Arts Centre to create a new score for the 1922 Chinese silent film Labourer’s Love, which toured to Beijing and Shanghai as part of the Australian Theatre Festival. They found themselves reinvigorated by success of this project, as well as the following Australian performances at the Westgarth Film Festival and 2007-2008 Woodford Folk Festival, and the company have resumed their career as an ongoing venture.
In 2009 the band obtained funding from the Victorian Arts Centre's Full Tilt fund to develop a new score to Buster Keaton’s classic 1926 film The General and commenced 4 weeks paid rehearsal as artists-in-residence at the Arts Centre in July/August. They performed this new score in 2010.