Western Australians and Perth Festival goers will be able to pay homage to AC/DC’s Bon Scott and his Western Australian links on the world’s longest stage at the 2020 Perth Festival free public finale event.
The McGowan Government, through Tourism WA, struck a new four-year deal to support Perth Festival’s annual headline event until 2023. As part of the new funding agreement, Tourism WA will sponsor the 2020 Perth Festival closing event, Highway to Hell.
The Highway to Hell event will take place on March 1, 2020 – the 40th anniversary since original AC/DC front man Bon Scott was laid to rest at Fremantle Cemetery.
The free event will take place along Perth’s southern stretch of Canning Highway – from the Raffles Hotel to the Old Fremantle Traffic Bridge – and take inspiration from the AC/DC song of the same name, in celebration of Scott’s connection to the area.
It will showcase local, national and international acts, including female rock trio Shonen Knife from Japan, bluegrass band Steve ‘n’ Seagulls from Finland and the Pigram Brothers from Broome, along with the WA Police Pipe Band and the Perth Symphony Orchestra.
The acts will perform a curated program of AC/DC songs as they move along the 10km route on flatbed trucks, at short intervals.
Based on previous Perth Festival headline events, Highway to Hell is expected to attract a large crowd, including thousands of interstate visitors who will contribute millions of dollars to the WA economy.
There will also be performers leading the world’s largest karaoke rendition of AC/DC’s Highway to Hell, as well as other static and roving performances taking place in venues and among the crowds along the Canning Highway route.
The highway will be closed to traffic and visitors will be invited to set up picnics from 3pm along the northern side of Canning Highway, from the Raffles Hotel to the Old Fremantle Traffic Bridge, before the main performance program begins at 5pm. Hospitality businesses along the route will be open with extended trading permits.
The Festival will be promoted through a targeted digital marketing campaign in Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore and Malaysia, and has the potential to deliver strong national and international media coverage and online reach due to AC/DC’s huge popularity worldwide.
Perth Festival, which is the longest-running annual international multi-arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere, has been supported by the State Government through principal partner Lotterywest and other agencies since 1992.
The full program of events will be released on Thursday, October 31. A suite of four festivals that celebrate place and honour history and shared stories of WA – in particular Noongar stories – will also be a feature of the program of events.
The State Government, through Lotterywest, has been supporting the Perth Festival for more than 25 years and has provided $7.7 million for Perth Festival this year.
As a result of Lotterywest’s 2018-19 record sales result, a $700,000 boost was made available for Highway to Hell to ensure the event is free for the whole community to enjoy.
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“Our multimillion contribution to the Perth Festival ensures we can continue to secure signature events like Highway to Hell, which promises to be an event to remember, and will help attract visitors, create jobs and boost the local economy.
“It’s these once-in-a-lifetime sort of events that we’ll be able to look back on in years to come with our families and be proud that it was held right here in WA.
“Perth Festival is a wonderful celebration of arts, culture and community spirit, and reflects on the contribution of arts and culture to our social and economic wellbeing, and we’re pleased to continue State Government support for the Festival through Lotterywest and Tourism WA.”
As stated by Tourism Minister Paul Papalia:
“Perth Festival is a cultural tourism attraction not to be missed and I’m particularly looking forward to next year’s closing event, Highway to Hell, which promises to be a high-profile celebration of epic proportions.
“This free event presents a fantastic opportunity for not only the people of Perth, but also those travelling here from interstate and overseas, to share in a unique homage to an iconic Australian musician Bon Scott, and possibly one of the world’s most famous rock bands.
“Taking place on the Labour Day long weekend, it will be a truly memorable event to close the 2020 Perth Festival.”
As stated by Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman:
“Perth Festival is a highlight on Western Australia’s arts and cultural calendar, and in 2020 will reflect the vision of new Artistic Director Iain Grandage, who was raised and educated in Perth.
“The cultural industries bring our uniquely Western Australian stories to life and gives us a sense of identity and community.
“Bon Scott has deep links to our State and remains a Western Australian cultural icon on an international stage. I encourage Western Australians of all ages to rock out to Highway to Hell next year.”