The Astranotes held a memorial reunion concert for late guitarist Wilf Stephens on Thursday.
The Astranotes held a memorial reunion concert for late guitarist Wilf Stephens on Thursday.

Hundreds turn out for band reunion

By RENEE REDMOND

NEIL and Judy Disson took a rocking and rolling trip down memory lane on Thursday night.

They joined hundreds of fans of former Lismore band, The Astranotes, who had paid tribute to founding band member Wilf Stephens, who died in early February.

Living in Darwin, he died of a heart attack, decades after he was accidentally shot in the heart while working on a copra boat on the New Hebrides island of Santos.

"We met at the Lismore City Hall when the Astranotes first played there," Neil said.

"We've since moved to Grafton and are still very much in love.

"Two of the band members are godparents to our daughter.

"We have not seen them play since their last reunion 10 years ago."

Astranotes drummer, Bob Pearce, said he hadn't played the drums in the decade since that last reunion.

He had come from Bonnie Doon in Victoria specially for this night.

"We're paying tribute to Wilf," he said.

"We started the band together in the early sixties in Nimbin and eventually moved our act to Lismore.

"Wilf is originally from the Pacific islands.

"When he used to sing, you could imagine the beaches and palm trees.

"A lot of people have come tonight as a reunion.

"We used to have 1000 people on average who came to the dances on a Saturday night at the City Hall."

Wilf's sister Evelyn Stephens travelled from Kerang in Victoria especially for the tribute.

"Music was my brother's life," she said.

"He would have been chuffed to know his band members were doing this for him.

"It's nice to think so many people romanced each other to the beat of the Astranotes so many years ago.'



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