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From Highway to Hell to High Voltage, crowds gather in Fremantle for Bon Scott rock 'n' roll tribute

Southern River Band playing at High Voltage.

A number of streets in Fremantle have been closed to make way for a roving rock 'n' roll event, inspired by the late, great Bon Scott — AC/DC frontman and former resident of Perth's port city.

Three years ago, it was Highway to Hell – Perth Festival's 2020 smash hit that saw more than 150,000 people line Canning Highway to celebrate the legendary Australian rock band – this year it's High Voltage, a new iteration running off its predecessor's success.

Premier Mark McGowan donned a black AC/DC shirt as he spoke at the start of the free event, taking the opportunity to make light of yesterday's coronation of King Charles.

"Two great events going on in the world this weekend — the coronation and High Voltage, and I know which one is more exciting," he laughed.

Premier Mark McGowan wearing an AC/DC T-shirt while speaking to the media about the High Voltage event.

The state government, through Tourism WA, is responsible for delivering High Voltage with three stationary performance zones set up across Fremantle and a number of trucks converted into mobile stages, from which musicians and bands will blast their tunes as they travel along a five-kilometre circuit.

People watch on as a band plays on stage.

Among the Australian musicians and artists performing are Diesel, Katy Steele, Eddie Perfect, Dan Sultan, Natalie Gillespie and the Southern River Band delivering their own cover versions of hits made famous by Scott, alongside their own original tracks.

More than 50 acts and 500 artists overall are taking part.

Body Type on stage at High Voltage.
Sydney's Body Type performing AC/DC's High Voltage.

Mr McGowan said he was expecting thousands to attend, shrugging off grey skies and earlier rain.

"Bon Scott wouldn't worry about a bit of cloud so why should West Australians," he said.

"We've certainly put a lot of promotion into it and it's more specifically Fremantle this time, will be easier for people to walk around and see the bands and the events, it's a bit of a different format but we think it will work well.

High Voltage crowd at Fremantle Oval.

"We'll be happy if we get thousands of West Australians out here to enjoy themselves, that's what happened last time, and obviously it attracts tourists and the like from the country and from interstate to come and enjoy it and also means people spend money on the local cafes bars and restaurants."

Tourism Minister Roger Cook said he was looking forward to seeing High Voltage evolve, with it set to become an annual event.

"It's four festivals in one as you see five bands make their way through the streets of Fremantle celebrating everything rock and roll, AC/DC and Bon Scott," Mr Cook said.

Presbyterian Ladies' College pipe band delivering a cover of AC/DC classic It's a Long Way to the Top.
Presbyterian Ladies' College pipe band delivering a cover of AC/DC classic It's a Long Way to the Top.

Former WA treasurer Ben Wyatt also got in on the action, this time as the chair of the Perth Festival board, which has partnered on High Voltage with Tourism WA.

"I mean ultimately all of us at some point in our life has done something we regret to a Bon Scott song," Mr Wyatt said.

Former Labor minister Ben Wyatt speaks to journalists at the High Voltage event.

"So it's great to be here to celebrate him, to celebrate the cultural experience of Fremantle and Western Australia and to continue to attract tourists here to our great state."

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