Rock 'n' roll is 'here to stay'

Dancing up a storm are ahead of Wintersun are Kelvin and Debbie Cutler with Annette and Keith Johns.
Dancing up a storm are ahead of Wintersun are Kelvin and Debbie Cutler with Annette and Keith Johns.

DANCE instructors Keith and Annette Johns will be dressed in their '50s finest and tapping their blue suede shoes during this year's Wintersun Festival street parade.

The couple, who run Club Rock, say there will always be a place for rock n' roll in the Tweed, even if the nostalgia festival has to move elsewhere.

Aware of the issues surrounding the embattled festival, including organiser Barry McNamara's threats to move it from Tweed and Coolangatta, Mr Johns believes locals wouldn't allow the event to fade away.

“I know a number of people who just wouldn't allow the festival to stop, so even if it had to go under a different name, we would still have it in some form,” Mr Johns said. “And it's not just Tweed; all the major cities (around Australia) have a huge rock 'n' roll following.”

The festival will stay on the border next year, but its future remains uncertain.

“We are extremely happy it is staying, at least for the time being,” Mr Johns said. “It wouldn't be the same anywhere else.”

Mr and Mrs Johns recently brought their rock n' roll dance club to the South Tweed Sports Club on Friday nights following the departure of the South Coast Rockers. Membership for the club is going strong, with dance less- ons also running at the Kirra Sports Club on a Thursday night.

The pair are now gearing up for Wintersun, which officially starts this Friday.

“We've been involved with Wintersun for a number of years and we are asking all our dancers that come along on a Friday night - and anyone else who wants to be involved - to dress up in their 1950s clothes and join us in the parade,” Mr Johns said.

Wintersun director Mr McNamara said despite the economic downturn he is predicting this year's event to be a success.

“We believe that, despite the global economic climate, Wintersun 2009 will be one of the best ever staged, with growth in car entries, strong New Zealand interest, and with general enquiries,” he said. “This year we are delighted to be able to reintroduce the street parade, include Griffith Street in the festivities and include Kirra in both our parade and car cruises.”

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