Little Max Mallia turned six years old last week, but he’ll take the stage for the third time in the fifth annual rock ’n Roll Festival in the heart of Victor Harbor on September 19-20.
And at the other end of the scale is 76-year-old Billy Orr – the oldest rocker rolling around here – who will be strumming his hot red Fender Stratocaster guitar with the Bobby Dee & The Decibells, just like he did with Australia’s legendary rocker, the Wild One Johnny O’Keefe, before his death 37 years ago this October.
No one is more proud when Max goes on stage with the Pumpin Piano Cats than his dad, Jess, who has been one of the best rock ’n roll DJs around for the past 20 years.
“Max is still learning and he needs a little prompting at the start, but when he fires up he gets right into the music,” Jess said.
“It’s what he wants to do; there has never been any parental pressure.
“I guess Max was always around from an early age when we’d be jamming at home, and even at two he’d grab the microphone and say ‘let me sing, let me sing’. Like a real showman, he just loves performing before a crowd.”
Jess, 50, who played in some great bands of the era like the Stray Cats, said there was no doubting who was Max’s favourite singer and song. “Definitely Jerry Lee Lewis and one of his great songs Great Balls of Fire,” he said.
It’s a a fabulous shakin’ and jivin’ weekend, which really starts on the Friday night with performances at the Crown Hotel and at Warland Reserve. On Saturday the cruisers – magnificently presented vehicles and bikes with their shiny chrome – will greet Ocean Street and the main stage area at Warland Res, and right through the day and late evening there will be super DJs and bands like Andy & The Rockits, The Customlines, The Satellites, East Texas, Puffin Billy, The Shakers and, of course, The Party Cats and Bobby Dee & The Decibells playing at various venues including the Grosvenor Hotel and the Victor Harbor Golf Club.
Come Sunday, the big bands are The Gospel According to Elvis (of course), Andy Seymour & The Rock of Ages Ensemble, and Itchy Fingers.
While the Festival focuses on rock ’n Roll with some amazing dancers hitting the smooth floors, especially on Sunday afternoon, the classic and custom vehicles will certainly grab plenty of attention.
And so will Max when he gets up there and shakes the place down. Come Monday morning he’ll be just like any other Reception kid in Prospect – tired. It’s not easy being a Rock ’n Roller. Just ask Elvis if you spot him in McDonald’s.