PERFORMERS from Ukraine, Germany, France and across Australia and hundreds of cars will lure an expected 10,000 people to Camperdown this weekend for the town’s annual rockabilly festival.
From a $200 sausage sizzle seven years ago the Camperdown Cruise is becoming one of the nation’s biggest rockabilly-themed weekends.
Many accommodation venues and private homes across the region are already booked out and fans are trying further afield in Warrnambool and as far as Winchelsea.
Corangamite Shire Council’s economic development and tourism manager Terry Binder said it was the single biggest annual event in the shire, with most of the economic stimulus coming from people outside the region.
“Organisers predict there could be in excess of 10,000 people visiting and there could be up to 1000 show cars lining the streets,” he said.
“It’s expanding towards being on the same sort of scale as Port Fairy’s Folkie.”
Rockabilly diehards with their slick hairstyles and ’50s fashions travel from across the nation and overseas for the festival from October 24 to 27, which will feature dozens of rockabilly bands, trade stalls, art exhibitions, fashion parades, burlesque shows, dancing and a pin-up girl quest.
Cruise organiser Arthur Bruce said it was an internationally-recognised festival and he head-hunted Ukrainian rockers Wise Guyz for the program.
“I chose them because they are authentic and are really big in Europe,” Mr Bruce said.
“It’s the first time they’ve played in Australia — I wanted to give international groups the opportunity to come out here for the world to see.”
Other international attractions include Marc and The Wild Ones from Germany, Nico Duportal of France and Roy Kay of the US.
The festival starts with a dance concert at the Commercial Hotel to celebrate Mr Bruce’s 50th birthday.
It continues Friday with more dancing and concerts, then expands on Saturday and Sunday with outdoor concerts at the clocktower, show car displays, street stalls and other attractions.
One of the 13 pin-up finalists is 36-year-old Camperdown teacher Joanne Williams — a recent convert to the rockabilly lifestyle.
“I moved back to Camperdown three years ago, attended a Cruise festival and was hooked,” she said.
Admission to the central festival area will be $10.