Cruise revamp hope

Camperdown Cruise volunteer Jo Williams is convinced there is a enough community support to re-invent the festival and keep the rockabilly vibe alive.

Camperdown Cruise volunteer Jo Williams is convinced there is enough community support to re-invent the festival and keep the rockabilly vibe alive.

THE end of the Camperdown Cruise might not be the last we see of classic cars cruising the streets and rockabilly dancers busting moves in the avenue.

After running this year’s Miss Camperdown Cruise Pin Up event and organising Glamour Central and the Best Dressed fashion parade, Jo Williams said she was in awe of the support received from the Camperdown community.

With that in mind, Ms Williams and fellow local Lucy Keough, both former Miss Camperdown Cruise Pin Up winners, will meet with Corangamite Shire Council management to gauge support for developing a replacement community-run festival.

The move follows last weekend’s announcement by Rockabilly King Productions director Arthur Matsakos that he will no longer stage the annual Camperdown Cruise which is estimated to have injected about $1 million into the local economy annually.

“When Lucy and I sought sponsorship from businesses for the pin up competition everyone was so, so generous and supportive,” she said.

“And the fact that so many people opened their own homes to accommodate the influx of visitors is a hugely generous gesture.

“We were also blown away by all the great Cruise displays in the shop windows and to see so many locals dress up and get into the atmosphere of the festival.”

Ms Williams said she and Lucy are convinced there is enough support for a similar event to be staged.

She envisions a scaled-down version of the Cruise, complete with classic cars, fashion awards and plenty of rockabilly fun.

The proposed event will be staged under a different name and on a different date.

“Our idea is to get rid of the security fence area and make the event a lot more inclusive for the wider community,” Ms Williams said.

“We could expand the music to include things like Elvis and Johnny Cash and could have more activities for the kids.

“We’ve already had a lot of shop owners who have already said they are 100 per cent behind us and I’m sure there are a lot of community groups that feel the same way.”

Ms Williams plans to meet with the Corangamite Shire in the near future to gauge its level of support and possible funding available.

“Arthur did a fantastic job running the festival for so long and I will personally be eternally grateful,” she said.

“From the very first Camperdown Cruise I went to I discovered a passion for rockabilly and the accompanying fashion that will be lifelong – I guess you could say I found my niche.

“We really thank Arthur for bringing that to Camperdown and wish him well with his new festival at Shepparton.”

Advance Camperdown Incorporated president Rob Fleming said the Cruise had “brought a great vibe to the town” as well as economic benefits.

“Advance Camperdown would certainly be willing to look at a proposal to re-establish the festival in some form or another,” he said.

“It’s no good sitting back and letting the festival just fall over and go away.

“I think there is a strong base to build on and that we have some great people who could really come up with something good.”

Mr Fleming said the ‘Cruise’ had been a great platform to showcase everything Camperdown had to offer.

“The festival brought people from all walks of life here and a lot of them came back again and again,” he said.

“It was amazing to hear all the wonderful comments visitors made about the town – they really enjoyed being here.

“Staging another festival would certainly require a lot of work, but I think Camperdown people can do this.”

Ms Williams said once she had firmed-up what funding support was available, she would then gauge the level of community support.

“We’re under no illusions that a similar festival will be easy to run, but we think its something Camperdown shouldn’t let go of,” she said.

“The town is almost purpose-built for such an event with its beautiful trees and heritage buildings and its very welcoming community.”

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