Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend 2018 – A Swingin’ Success!
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend continues to gain momentum as one of the strongest cars-meets-culture events worldwide. And trust us…they come from international lands to be part of this thriving scene.
So how did it get to where it is today? Twenty-one years ago, Englishman Tom Ingram took a gamble in the city of Las Vegas. Taking a gamble is nothing new for this city, but the gamble he took was different from rolling dice on a table or laying cards down. The idea that a hotel (then the Gold Coast Casino) would play host to a gathering of Rockabilly music enthusiasts, and their vehicles must have seemed like a long shot.
What started out small and intimate for the first few years as since snowballed into a worldwide avalanche. Every spring an army of loyal rockabilly music devotees gather from every part of the planet in Las Vegas, to attended what has possibly become the biggest rockabilly music event on earth.
The headliners of the car show were 80s rockabilly sensations the Stray Cats. The paved lot in which they played was so packed, when they came on stage people were sitting and standing on their cars hundreds of yards away to catch a glimpse (we’ve never seen the car show area so packed).
Eighty-two-year old Jerry Lee Lewis preceded the Cats and after a few songs warmed his fingers up and sounded just like Jerry Lew Lewis should. Prior to Jerry Lee, veteran musician Duane Eddy and his twangy guitar wooed the audience with his 50s and 60s instrumentals that made him so popular. Besides these big three, Mitch Polzack & the Royal Deuces and Hot Rod Lincoln performed at the car show that day.
These three acts drew smilin’wide fans for as far as the eye could see. In the morning before these acts ever took stage the Japanese rockabilly fans set up camp front and center against the railing. There they waited all day, in the same spot for their heroes to take stage, now that is true devotion the rock and roll lifestyle!
It seemed that nearly every continent on this planet had devotees who traveled all the way to the Viva Las Vegas show just to enjoy music. The same applies to the vehicle owners who brought their rides to the show, though most of them come from the United states and Canada. However, the VLV weekender is far more than a car show.
Inside the Casino the ballrooms were filled to capacity with music acts all rooted in the early American rock and roll genre. While most live music acts finished up around 3 am, DJ’s spinning vintage wax tracks kept the red eyed crowd bopping till dawn’s early light.
Vendor halls were filled, selling all sorts of goods, and if that was all too much, nursing a hangover by the pool seemed a popular way to spend the day between acts. Even poolside early rock and roll music was piped in prompting dancing in the aisles.
The frenetically-paced weekend had so many special events taking place it would be tough to shine the spotlight on one single entity. Perhaps the greatest part of this particular rock and roll weekender is the people watching. Cars, guitars, rock & roll stars, we tried to capture it all for your viewing pleasure.
Here’s to being young and twenty-one!