Format update for Festival

ARARAT - Ararat Rural City Council has given in principal support and approval for a number of proposed arrangements for the 2013 Jailhouse Rock Festival.

The Jailhouse Rock committee, which has overseen festival proceedings since its inception in 1994, has decided to update the format of the festival and provided council with a description of their intentions:

The committee is working in partnership with Rockabilly King Productions (RKP) for the planning and presentation of the 19th annual event.

A significant issue for the JHR committee has been to raise sufficient funds to run the event. Local and regional business has been significant financial contributors over the past 18 years.

There has been a general belief that the event needs to be refreshed and refocus on its original target market - Traditional 50s and 60s rock 'n' rollers. To this aim we have decided to work with RKP to re-brand and re-launch the event as Australia's premier rock n' roll event and to specifically market and promote the festival to this sector.

In order to finance this change we will be moving to a fully ticketed event, with daily, weekend and special event ticketing. (This will allow us to introduce internet pre-event ticket sales, improve cash flow and protect against extreme weather events).

The JHR committee's proposed arrangements for the 2013 festival include moving the entire event to Barkly Street, which would see the closure of Barkly Street to motor vehicles from Vincent to Queen Street with an option to extend 100 metres north and south into Queen Street.

Organisers said the changes would allow the festival to remain in the CBD, concentrate the crowd and speciality stallholders, along with expanding music programs in the Performing Arts Centre and Astor Cinema from Friday through to Sunday evening.

It would also centralise classic and hot rod vehicle display without impacting on the majority of CBD traders.

Cr Gwenda Allgood said by supporting the proposal in principle it allowed council the opportunity to hold further discussion and look at the specific details of the new Jailhouse Rock proposal.

"What we are going to do is actually talk to the people who are going to run the Jailhouse Rock Festival (JHR committee and Rockabilly King Productions)," she said.

"Their proposal is to close off the bottom of Barkly Street for a set amount of time, but there are still ongoing discussions."

Cr Fay Hull said the committee would still need to apply for the appropriate road closure permissions and event permits for the 2013 festival.

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