Book, catalogue, Festival Records, leather / paper, made and used by Festival Records, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1953-1957
This object has significance as a listing of the products distributed by Festival Records in the company's first five years. As an Australian record company, Festival Records was for over 50 years a significant force in the music recording industry. It financed, recorded, manufactured, promoted, marketed, distributed and published a huge range of local and overseas music, from classical to popular, under an equally vast number of labels. Although a major record company, it was independent of the five multinational companies that dominated the industry worldwide.
Before Festival Records commenced production in 1952, the company's first managing director John Dulhunty went overseas and secured the Australian licensing rights to manufacture and distribute recordings from over a dozen US labels including Westminster, Remington, Savoy, Regent and Atlantic, as well as Vox in England, and Metronome in Sweden. In its first two years Festival developed a large catalogue of popular jazz, swing, show tunes, square dance and stage musicals and became Australia's second largest manufacturer of gramophone records. Dulhunty returned to the US in mid 1954 and secured a portion of the catalogue of Decca Records. This brought to Festival the right to release records by such popular artists as Bing Crosby, Teresa Brewer, Louis Armstrong, Frankie Laine, Peggy Lee, Burl Ives and Danny Kaye. The rapid growth in the company's range of products can be traced in this series of product catalogues.
Festival Records manufactured vinyl discs in Sydney for 40 years. At the height of production in the 1980s Festival's factory was buzzing with 26 record presses pumping out 25,000 records per day. In addition there was a cassette duplicating plant, an art department, a printing department for album covers, plus a huge warehouse for packing and distribution.
Festival Records provided a home to a vast array of musical styles and many independent labels, not readily identified with the Festival brand. For over fifty years its existence as a major independent record company, competing with the multinationals, helped to create a healthy environment for Australian music.
This set of catalogues published by Festival Records belonged to Noel Brown, the first salesman at the company. He was probably responsible for having them bound.
1953-1954 catalogue printed by WE Smith Ltd, Croydon
1955-1956 catalogue printed by EA Coleman, Wallsend
1956-1957 catalogue printed by Bookcraft Printing Co Pty Ltd, St Peters.
Noel Brown, the first salesman at Festival Records, kept this volume for his own use and wrote his name and telephone number inside the front cover. Brown later became Festival's marketing manager. This volume remained in Festival Records' collection until donated to the Museum. It was displayed in the Museum's exhibition 'Spinning Around: 50 Years of Festival Records', from 2001 to 2003.