THE show must go on, Ararat Jailhouse Rock Festival organisers said after their storeroom was demolished in Tuesday’s wild storm.
Rock and roll king Elvis Presley’s gaze smouldered through the rubble left behind after the storm tore through Kokoda Park, gutting the former clubrooms of the disbanded Miners Football Club.
Festival secretary Sandra Walker said members stored their equipment in the brick building.
When she heard the building had been hit, she feared the worst.
“About six of us went straight down there with tarps and saved what we could, but it was too dangerous to stay,” Ms Walker said.
They returned the following morning, with concerned community members in tow, to salvage as much as they could.
“We’ve retrieved about 80 per cent of what was in there,” Ms Walker said.
“We’ll come back from the ruins.”
The event’s dance floor, memorabilia and historical items were saved, although Ms Walker said ensuring they were still in working condition would be another thing.
Next year will be the 20th Ararat Jailhouse Rock Festival.
About 5000 people generally attend the event.
Cardboard props were the main casualty.
“But we don’t really use them now,” Ms Walker said.
She hoped the Ararat community would help organisers prepare for the festival in March.
Ararat Rural City Council demolished what was left of the old clubrooms on Wednesday.
“It was just a ruin,” Ms Walker said.
She was shocked by how contained the weather system had been.
“It just sort of hit one spot,” Ms Walker said.
At her home a few blocks from Kokoda Park, the storm manifested itself in the form of heavy rain.
East Grampians Health Service chief executive Nick Bush said he had never seen such an isolated storm do so much damage.
Mr Bush said the Ararat and District Hospital ran on generator power between 7.30pm and 1.30am the following morning.
But it was otherwise unaffected.
“There was just a lot of noise and wind – no patients came in,” Mr Bush said.
“The windows were shaking and I thought one of the chairs was going to knock over in the room – the wind was quite strong, and I could hear things being blown around outside.
“But most of the damage was about 100 metres away.”
He said he was ‘blown away’ on Wednesday, as one of many Ararat residents who visited the affected area to see what had happened.