Katy Perry was told to dress “bright”. And boy did she deliver.
- The Alpine and Towong Shires were allocated free tickets to give to fire agencies and fire-affected communities
- Katy Perry said she loved locals and wanted to come back to Bright, which reminded her of her home town
- Those at the concert said they were grateful Perry was helping put regional Victoria back on the tourist map
The American pop singer went out on stage clad in a high-vis dress with matching eye shadow and earrings for the Fight On concert at Pioneer Park Reserve in the Victorian town of Bright to raise money for the bushfire relief.
The Alpine Shire recently estimated the summer bushfires and associated smoke had cost the local tourism industry $90 million, while Tourism North East estimated up to $208 million dollars would be lost across the entire region for the March 2020 quarter.
While locals hope the concert will raise much-needed funds, Perry said the real reason she decided on the small Victorian town was closer to heart.
“It reminded me of home,” she said.
“It really grounds me when I’m out in these types of places. Small towns are the backbones of big towns — small places are the best finds.”
Perry grew up in Santa Barbara, California, which was ravaged by its own fires in 2017 and again last year.
“Hearing stories of [people] evacuating over Christmas and New Years and all the people who volunteered and their families, it really hit close to home,” she said.
“Music is about the community, it’s about people, it’s about touching people’s hearts. I love local people. I’m from a local little town … so I felt really close to it.”
Bright fire brigade captain Brett Michie said having the international superstar in his town of 3,000 was “awesome”.
His daughter had been a fan of Perry’s for seven years, so naturally he knew all her songs too.
Mr Michie said it was nice to have a positive story come out of the small town after a “big, busy month” of fighting fires.
“It’s totally different having this many people here and this much media attention,” he said.
Local firefighters from the Alpine region and CFA crews from Corryong to the north-east had travelled to Bright to share in the revelry.
Being from a small town, Perry said she knew how regional towns relied on outsiders to survive.
“Local communities really depend on tourism, that’s their economy,” she said.
“I definitely wanted to get out of the bigger cities and into the smaller places that were truly affected. I’m here to help give that message of gratitude to all of them.”
“I think a celebration is always a good choice, to come together and remember we are stronger and will build back up and move on.”
Perry said she had travelled with her team early this morning (eating a breakfast burrito) from Melbourne and was baffled as to why anyone lived in the city.
“There’s so much oxygen out around,” she said.
Local Rosie Fletcher said she was “so excited” and wanted to thank Perry for coming out.
It meant “everything”, she said.
“We just appreciate that she’s coming to us when there are so many other people out there that probably wished she was coming to them.”
Ms Fletcher’s friend Shannon Crawley said she hoped the concert would show people that country Victoria was “open for business”.
“We just want everyone to come back and visit,” she said.
“I saw her 12 years ago before she was huge so I am so excited to see her again.”
Perry said she liked to travel around Australia whenever she was in the country and was excited to experience another slice of Aussie life.
“I’m trying to get one of those chips on a stick,” she said.
While Bright’s locals are grateful the international sensation decided to promote their small pocket of the world, Perry hoped it would have a long-lasting effect on their spirit.
“I don’t know if we’re all good on raising money, but [we want to be] about re-empowering, raising spirits, showing up physically, bringing the community together,” she said.