Australian music legend Bon Scott is to get the epic tribute he deserves in March next year, when 10km of Perth’s Canning Highway is to be closed for eight hours to host the world’s longest music festival stage: a roving concert, rolling from one end to another, devoted to AC/DC covers.
On March 1, 10 semi-trailers — eight topped with live bands playing AC/DC songs — would be taking over the highway’s southern portion, between Canning Bridge and Fremantle: The same regular pilgrimage Scott would make in his youth, heading from his Fremantle home to rock ’n’ roll hangout the Raffles hotel.
The stretch of highway was immortalized in 1979’s Highway to Hell, nicknamed for the fatal crashes that plagued its most dangerous intersection.
However, the event itself — which was announced yesterday — is as much a tribute to the film clip of an earlier AC/DC hit, It’s A Long Way To The Top, which featured the band playing on the back of a flatbed truck as it drove through Swanston Street, Melbourne.
For the concert — which marks the 40th anniversary of the singer’s death, and closes the 2020 Perth arts festival — two lanes of the stretch would be devoted to the “hit parade” of local and international acts, moving at 4kph with regular stops.
The other two lanes would be for the public, who would set up picnic rugs and vantage spots to watch the bands. Four other parks and stops along the route would be devoted to special events, including a mass singalong of Highway to Hell, and rock patch-making sessions with the local embroiderers’ guild.
Next year marks the first of four Perth festivals to be helmed by new artistic director Iain Grandage, an internationally renowned music director and composer who was born and raised in Perth.
The idea for Highway to Hell came to him when he was new to the job, but, he told the Guardian, he was not sure they could pull it off.
“The kicker was when we found out that the [festival closing] date was 40 years to the day” of Scott’s ashes arriving at Fremantle Cemetery, Grandage said.
“It was like: ‘We just have to do this,’ despite the ridiculous size of it,” he said.
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