Rock star start for Rally

AUSTRALIAN music legend and Noiseworks frontman Jon Stevens will rock a free outdoor concert in Murwillumbah tomorrow night.

Stevens will sing live on stage in Wharf Street after two hours of free opening celebrations before the official start of the Repco Rally Australia.

The rocker will finish his set with a special rendition of Advance Australia Fair, just before five-time World Rally Champion driver Sebastien Loeb blasts on to the Tweed Super Special Stage in his Citroen C4 at the inaugural World Rally round to be held in the Tweed and Kyogle shires.

Repco Rally Australia spokesman Chris Nixon said Stevens was a huge drawcard for the opening of the event.

“We decided we wanted a really good entertainer to give the Thursday night opening some rock and to be a big attraction for the public,” Mr Nixon said.

The opening celebration and huge street party starts at 4.15pm and will feature a welcome speech by Tweed Shire Mayor Joan van Lieshout and a Welcome to Country ceremony with traditional dances performed by representatives of Bundjalung Kunjiel.

All the cars competing in the rally will be lined-up on public view in the street and drivers will be interviewed on stage and sign autographs at the event.

“This is really the best option for people to get up close with the drivers for the entire event, and it's free,” Mr Nixon said.

“It's a family event and that is why we have such a wide variety of entertainment.

“Particularly we are hoping the local people will show up and celebrate the fact that this is their event.”

Mr Nixon said the street, which will be closed from midday in preparation of the celebrations, will be a hive of activity and colour featuring stilt walkers and the Hot Chilli Drummers from Chillingham, who will be pumping out energetic beats on African drums and congas.

Mr Nixon said spectators will be able to visit the service park at the Cudgen Leagues Club to see the cars and their championship drivers. “From Friday people will be able to visit the service park, which is open all the time, and it's free to see the cars when they return to their team base to be serviced or to see the drivers when they return for a rest stop,” he said.

A community barbecue will be held at the Kingscliff Beach Hotel tonight to honour the drivers and welcome them to town.

The cars will hit the rally circuit for competition this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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