Perth Festival will close with a ‘Highway to Hell’ AC/DC celebration

Perth Festival 2020 will come to a close with a massive celebration of the life of Bon Scott and classic Aussie rock band AC/DC.

Presented on the final day of the festival on 1 March 2020, and taking inspiration from the AC/DC song Highway to Hell the event will see the world;’s longest stage created by closing off a 10km section of Canning Highway.

Described as a ‘once-in-a generation opportunity’ Highway to Hell is a chance for residents and visitors to enjoy an afternoon and evening of live performances and other free activities between the Canning and Fremantle Traffic bridges over the Labour Day long weekend.

Diverse local and international acts will perform AC/DC songs from stages on the back of semi-trailers in a slow “hit parade” from Applecross to Fremantle, starting at 5pm and ending at 8.30pm.

Artists range from Finnish bluegrass band Steve ’n’ Seagulls and Japanese female rock trio Shonen Knife to the WA Police Pipe Band, Amyl and the Sniffers, Perth Symphony Orchestra and the Pigram Brothers.

People are invited to walk the route with the trucks, set up a picnic anywhere along the highway or gather at one of four special activity and entertainment areas: the Canning Bridge Zone in Applecross, the Tompkins Park Zone in Alfred Cove, the Valley Zone in Palmyra and the Rainbow Zone in East Fremantle and Fremantle.

“For years, Bon walked this iconic southern stretch of Canning Highway from the Leopold Hotel in Palmyra to Fremantle, and AC/DC lit up the Raffles Hotel with legendary gigs,” Perth Festival Artistic Director Iain Grandage said.

“Now we’re closing the highway, all 10km of it, for one special day designed for families and fans alike.”

“The idea of closing down the highway to celebrate a favourite son is an exciting way to celebrate our city and bring the curtain down on the 2020 Festival. Everyone is invited. As Bon Scott sings in the song that inspired this event, ‘And all my friends are gonna be there too’.”

Canning Highway will be closed to vehicles from 1pm and roving performers, community choirs, food and market stalls will operate at Tompkins Park and other key zones from 4pm.

Other entertainment will include concerts at key zones along the route, a mass singalong of Highway to Hell at Tompkins Park, rock patch-making sessions with the Embroiderers Guild of WA, community choirs, exhibitions, public talks and other activities in the lead-up to the day.

Key intersections will remain open throughout for access to streets north and south of the highway. Canning Highway will reopen to traffic in stages from 9pm to 11pm.

More details will be released in coming weeks so local residents, businesses and Festival-goers can plan ahead.

Highway to Hell marks 40 years since the death of the WA-raised rock legend, who grew up around Fremantle and went to gigs along Canning Highway as a youth. Scott died in London on 19 February 1980, and his ashes were laid to rest at Fremantle Cemetery on 1 March.

Perth Festival runs from 7 February to 1 March. The full program is out on 31 October 2019.

Source: Media Release, image Cam Cameron.