Daft Punk’s Wee Waa album launch: Everything you need to know
One of the most famous acts in the world chooses to unveil their new album in a small, off-the-map Australian town and a media frenzy ensues. It may sound like the plot for a quirky Australian comedy, but this is real life. Yesterday, the Narrabri Courier announced that a town in regional New South Wales would be hosting the “global album launch” of Daft Punk’s hotly-anticipated fourth album Random Access Memories. As hard to believe as that news was, today we have confirmation that one of the biggest dance albums of the decade will be heard for the first time in the regional town of Wee Waa, population 2000.
Pitchfork have confirmed the reports overnight, presumably by way of a Sony representative. Sony are expected to make a public statement about the event later today, but inthemix can confirm the label has already purchased the domain name www.daftpunkweewaa.com. So what do we know so far? On the night of May 17, Random Access Memories will be played to 4000 ticket holders in Wee Waa and, it’s thought, streamed live out to the world. As with everything Daft Punk, many of the details about the event are still shrouded in mystery. We’ll be updating this story regularly, so hang around to stay up to date with the latest. In the meanwhile, though, this is what we know…
UPDATE: GA tickets have sold out. From now, tickets will only be available to local residents who live within the 80km zone of Wee Waa.
Tickets are going for $35 a pop and are limited to 4000. Officially, they go on sale at 9am on Friday the 12th of April through the Venue Tickets website (or you can call them on 02 6792 4654). However, inthemix spoke to a representative from the Narrabri Shire Council this morning who told us that a glitch in the system resulted in a small number of tickets going up for sale last night, after news of the event broke. The council has assured inthemix those ticket sales will be honoured, but couldn’t tell us how many had been snapped up in the tech error. If you managed to get a ticket then, you’ll need to pick it up on May 16 or 17 from the Crossing Theatre in the neighbouring town of Narrabri. Naturally, you can expect the remaining tickets to sell out in an instant – the council already has reports of people camping out to buy them in person.
Update: It’s likely that the few accommodation options in Wee Waa have, by now, been entirely booked out (though you can try your luck by phoning the Waa Waa Motel on (02) 6795 4522, Imperial Hotel on 6795 4125, Royal Hotel on 6795 4215 or Welcome Inn on 6795 3997). There may still be motels available in the neighbouring town of Narrabri, which is located about 20 minutes drive from the action or you could try the smaller outlying towns of Boggabri, Pilliga and Burren Junction. Arrangements for a shuttle service between Narrabri and Wee Waa are currently being made. Alternatively, the Wee Waa campsite is open for booking by calling 1800 659 931 (bathroom facilities will be available). Wee Waa’s Mayor has also indicated that homestay accommodation may become available – more info to come.
Let’s be clear: so far, there is nothing to suggest that Thomas Bangalter and Guy Manuel de Homem-Christo will be at the Wee Waa event in person. What we do know is that the launch will be held at the Wee Waa showground during the annual Wee Waa show, where the album will be played in full and streamed out online. Random Access Memories will be played from 8pm at the showground, before being officially released for sale at 12.01am in Australia a few hours later. “Gates open at 3:30 on Friday in readiness for a fun packed weekend of events,” the Wee Waa town website promises. “Kicking off with the Daft Punk launch on Friday night other events will include typical Australian country show entertainment including the pet show, showgirl competition, cross cut saw competition, fireworks and much more.” As for how the townsfolk are feeling about it? A Shire Council representative told inthemix the town is “absolutely excited” and that the event is “a coup for regional Australia”.
Additionally, inthemix can confirm that an exclusive limited edition of Random Access Memories will be available for purchase to those in Wee Waa.
For about $200 each way you can fly from Sydney to the neighbouring town of Narrabri through Aeropelican, though there are no public transport options between Narrabri and Wee Waa. A better bet may be to get the Sydney – Narrabri CountryLink train service (that’ll set you back about $65 each way), which takes 7.5 hours. Then, of course, there’s the roadtrip option – Wee Waa is about six hours drive from Brisbane or eight hours drive from Sydney, via the Kamilaroi Highway.
Wondering where the heck Wee Waa is? You’re not alone. Pronounced Wee-War, the town is situated on the North-Western slopes of regional NSW. That’s about 570 kilometres or eight hours drive from Sydney, or six hours by car from Brisbane. Wee Waa is part of the Narrabri Shire and is 40 kilometres from the larger town of the same name, which has a slightly larger population of 6,100. According to the Wee Waa website, the town boasts a “butcher (coming soon), a baker and a candlestick maker”- you can’t make this stuff up! There’s also a café and not one but two pubs, for those in search of food and drink. This morning, inthemix spoke to Narrabri Shire tradesperson steward Zoe Miguel, who told us she couldn’t comment on how preparations were getting underway as “I’ve honestly got no idea, I’m currently picking cotton and haven’t been into town for weeks”. Take a look at an aerial view of the town below.
We’ll be updating this story regularly, so keep checking back here for further updates as they come.