Now, a new festival in honour of Bon Scott, the late lead singer with AC/DC, is to be held in the Australian port city where he spent his formative years.
High Voltage, named after the band’s hit song and debut album, will bring together bands, artists and entertainers across the western port settlement of Fremantle to honour the musician who to this day is widely regarded as one of the best frontmen and vocalists in rock history.
Instead of taking place at one venue, the free event will span the entire city, with performers taking part in a vast procession following a circular circuit through its streets. The concept echoes one of AC/DC’s most famous videos, when they were filmed performing their song ‘It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll)’ on the back of a flatbed truck as it travelled through the heart of Melbourne.
While details of the programme will not be unveiled until March, it is hoped the event, scheduled for May, will attract thousands of tourists to visit the city where a statue honours Scott. He fronted AC/DC during the band’s early glory years, performing on seminal albums such as ‘Highway to Hell’ and ‘Let There Be Rock’. He died aged just 33 in 1980 from acute alcohol poisoning.
Scott was born in the Angus town of Kirriemuir, where his parents, Chick and Isa, produced plentiful amounts of its famous gingerbread through their family bakery. But like many Scottish families in the post-war era, the lure of starting a new life on the other side of the world was too great to resist.
They emigrated to Australia when Scott was aged six, settling in Fremantle, the city nicknamed Freo, which lies ten miles south of Perth. There, the young, would-be musician joined the Fremantle Scots Pipe Band, and is said to have played the bagpipes with aplomb. That early training would stand him in good stead – his pipes featured prominently in both the track and video for ‘It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)’.
Those behind next year’s event in Fremantle said it was a fitting way to remember Scott and celebrate his legacy decades after his death, and hope it will become an annual event. Bonfest, a festival held in Scott’s honour in Kirriemuir, regularly attracts fans from all around the world.
David Templeman, the Australian culture and arts minister, said: “We know that we have a vast array of talent here in WA and this event is a wonderful celebration of local hero, AC/DC's Bon Scott.”
Politician Simone McGurke, a member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly for Fremantle, said: “Freo locals are proud to claim Bon Scott as one of our own, so it's great we can put on another fitting celebration of his music, so it can be enjoyed by everyone.”