ARARAT - The Jailhouse Rock Festival Committee has been working behind the scenes to develop the program for the annual event held in March this year.
Festival director Ian Wilson said that following a review of this year's event, the committee came to the conclusion that the long-running event needed 'a bit of a freshen up' and to re-focus on its strength of being a 'traditional rock'n'roll event, a true celebration of all things of the 1950s and 1960s' rock'n'roll era'.
The Jailhouse Rock Festival committee has formed a close partnership with Rockabilly King Productions (RKP) in the lead up to the 2013 event.
Mr Wilson said the partnership isn't a take over.
"This is not a takeover, but a true partnership combining the extensive local knowledge and enthusiasm of the Festival committee with the wide-ranging event management, marketing and promotional skills of RKP," he said.
Rockabilly King Productions owner Arthur Matsakos said that his company and associates are 'thrilled to be working with the local committee' and intend to relaunch and rebrand the long-running Jailhouse Rock Festival as Australia's premier traditional rock'n'roll event.
Mr Matsakos and Mr Wilson recognise that by building on the strengths of the Festival over the past 18 years, Ararat is in a strong position to appeal to a wide range of potential event participants from across the whole of Australia.
"It was a relatively easy decision to join forces with RKP due to their impressive track record in delivering successful local events," said Mr Wilson.
RKP launched the Camperdown Cruise event just five years ago and has successfully grown that festival into a major community event which delivers an economic boost to the Camperdown region in excess of $2 million per year.
They have also introduced a rockabilly event to Ballarat, the Ballarat Beat Festival which will launch in 2013.
In addition to the rebranding of the Festival, a new program of live musical performances, a revamped dance program and a new focus on fashion and culture of the rock'n'roll era will be implemented. 'Fashion Central' will be created as an integral part of the event with visitors able to experience all the glamour, colour and unique fashions of the 1950s and 1960s' period.
With the support of the Ararat Regional Business Association), local business operators and the Ararat Rural City, the festival will be located in one central position: Barkly Street, running from the Vincent Street intersection to the Queen Street roundabout.
The area will be closed to traffic for the duration of the event, from 6pm on Friday March 15 until 6pm on Sunday March 17.
This significant change to the festival layout will see the concentration of festival events around the Ararat business precinct, allowing local business operators to fully benefit from the staging of the event.
ARBA will be working closely with all traders in Barkly Street and adjacent areas to encourage their participation in the event.
Representatives of ARBA and the Jailhouse Rock Festival will be visiting all businesses to discuss the changes in the event layout and schedule and the potential participation of the businesses in the 2013 Festival.
Mr Wilson said that the Festival's dream is to have all shops create a themed window display, dress in rock'n'roll clothing for the duration of the event and to make visitors truly welcome, and have them all leave Ararat as ambassadors for the region.
Mr Wilson urged anyone who wished to discuss the proposed program of events to contact him on 0427 388 758.