Katy Perry is heading to Victoria's fire-ravaged northeast to put on a free concert. Image by Scott Barbour/AAP PHOTOS

Environment

Katy Perry lifts Vic town hurt by bushfire

2020-03-11 16:58:40

A Victorian community that became a ghost town after the bushfires now has thousands of visitors roaring in to see US pop star Katy Perry.

The town of Bright, in the state’s northeast, has been left financially bruised as tourists stay away following the fires, which narrowly missed the much-loved alpine community two months ago.

It’s these wounds that California girl Perry wants to help heal with a free concert at Bright’s Pioneer Park on Wednesday night for up to 6000 people.

“Australia has always given me so much love and support so FIGHT ON is one way to return that love,” the singer posted on social media earlier this year.

Families in Corryong, near the NSW border, will be bussed to the hour-long show, and communities in the state’s northeast and East Gippsland also scored tickets.

Emergency services workers and some members of the general public will also attend.

The influx of concert-goers is a boost to confidence that visitors will return, according to local business Bright Brewery.

“It is a very exciting announcement to hear that such a big star is coming to our beautiful little town,” spokeswoman Laura Gray told AAP.

“The financial impact on Bright, which relies so heavily on tourism, was devastating – it will be devastating for months and possibly years to come.

“It was surreal here in January at a time when we are used to 20,000 visitors and just no one was here – it was a ghost town.”

Local beer will go into a Victorian goodies pack for Perry, who is likely to pass it to her Hollywood star partner Orlando Bloom given she is pregnant.

Gum Tree Pies assistant manager Steph Makrikoftas said her junior staff had lined up for four hours for tickets.

“We are a little bit busier and will cook a little bit more and hopefully it’ll bring a few more people into town,” she told AAP.

The bakery was shut for a fortnight after the fires, then ran at a loss before breaking even.

While fire never hit Bright, locals were evacuated twice due to the fire threat. It’s been enough to dry up tourism in the town and surrounding fire-ravaged regions.

“It will put Bright on the international map. This is going to be all over her (Perry’s social media) channels. While it is a sugar hit, it does have a long tail,” Victoria Tourism Industry Council chief executive Felicia Mariani told AAP.

About 1.6 million hectares have been razed in the Victorian fires.