Cashbox magazine featuring Olivia Newton-John
This magazine has significance as an illustration of Festival Records' ability to generate sales for its Australian and international artists, and demonstrates the success in the USA of Olivia Newton-John.
Because Festival Records only operated in Australia and New Zealand and did not export the discs it manufactured, it could not give its own artists world outlets. To rectify this, in 1969 a production company named Festival Records International was started in London. It was run by Peter Gormley, Cliff Richard's manager. Festival Records International's greatest coup came in 1971 when the company signed Olivia Newton-John. Raised in Australia, Olivia had been in the UK making regular TV and concert appearances with Cliff Richard & the Shadows. Her run of hits began with her first solo single, a cover of Bob Dylan's 'If Not for You', arranged by the Shadows' Bruce Welch. In Australia Olivia's records were released on Interfusion, a label created by Festival for various overseas recordings. Olivia Newton-John broke onto the America charts in 1973 with the 'Let Me Be There' album, earning a Grammy award for the title track. Her version of Peter Allen's 'I Honestly Love You' was her first American No 1 hit and another Grammy award-winning Festival record. Olivia achieved fifteen Top 10 hits in the USA. This magazine dates from the 'Xanadu period' of 1980. 'Cashbox' was an influential American weekly music paper famous, along with 'Billboard', for its charts of record sales.
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.