Monday, April 5, 2010

Rockabilly Vegas Weekend 2010

13th Annual Vegas Rockabilly Festival. April 1-4th, 2010 at Orleans.

Rockabilly Weekend in Vegas is held twice a year. Once in April and in September, at times when the Las Vegas weather is cool and comfortable enough for such a large outdoor event.

Many attendees have been to several prior gatherings of this semi-annual Vegas event.
The Culture of Rockabilly is defined as a segment of young people who have a strong desire to re-create the era of Early 1950s Rock 'n' Roll and the days when Hot Rods were a major form of self-expression.
I first became interested in Rockabilly music following my late 60s hippie-days, after the Beatles had broken-up and the late-sixties era was left in shambles.

In 1972 I went in search of America's Rock Roots and found it the moment I first heard Elvis Presley's 1955 Sun Record song 'Baby, Let's Play House'. Most of Elvis' early Sun label songs never received wide airplay following his 1956 Ed Sullivan appearance. His Sun songs had mainly been only heard in the South USA from 1954-55. But, when I heard Elvis singing his rockabilly-style, some 17 years after the original releases, the songs seemed more fresh and vibrant than the Early 70s music being released in that Post-Beatles, Post-Psychedelic era.

The following year of 1973 brought the movie 'American Graffiti' and a new resurgence in nostalgia and the first Fifties Revival began.

In the 1982 era of MTV, many bands like the Stray Cats and the Clash brought another wave of interest in America's Golden Era of Rock and Rockabilly Music. Fifteen years later, when I first moved to Las Vegas in 1997 I noticed that a whole new, worldwide culture of Rockabilly had been revived and found it's annual gathering spot at a convention at the Gold Coast Hotel.

Modern Rockabilly Culture can be defined in several ways - but it is safe to say that it is a sort of a Blue Collar Culture of easy-going people who have no desire to engage in Post Millenium techno nightclubs, disco culture or high-style, designer brands or gourmet living. They like their "Working Class Hero" status, and in this day and age, that's quite a refeshing and individualistic stance and one I highly applaud.

This year I was able to go out for a few hours to photograph the event. What I saw was one of the most happy, peaceful and friendly crowds of people I've seen since San Francisco's Human Be-In at the Golden Gate Park in January, 1967.

I admire the culture of Rockabillians and their non-conformity, their uniqueness, sense of individuality, creativeness and their goal to live an easy existence by enjoying the simpler things in life.

I had a great time for the few hours I was there and would recommend that every Las Vegan attend the next Rockabilly Festival in the Fall. It is definitely a good time and something to experience first hand.

Rockabilly Weekend has many young parents attending with their kids.

The event took place from Thursday thru Sunday inside the Orleans' casino, bars and pool area with 60 bands playing in various spots. The parking lot behind the Convention Hall was used for an outdoor Vintage Car Show, with vendors' booths set-up and an evening concert headlined by Chuck Berry.

The Saturday afternoon, outdoor car exhibit.

One of the hundreds of souped-up, hot rod, jalopies on display.

Girl taking a break from walking by sitting on her boyfriend's knee.

Casinos owners aren't the only ones proud to show off their skyrises. Here's a new addition to the Las Vegas Skyline. A monumental achievement all on its own.

The Burlesque Competition was held on Saturday Night.

Couples come to Rockabilly Weekend from all over the USA, England, Europe and Australia.

Attendees walking from the hotel to the outdoor festival.

Young Rocker with his dad.

Rockabilly People come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

A few of the people attending the Saturday events. On Sunday, the Tiki Pool Party was held at the Orleans' pool, where most everyone wore vintage 50's bathing suits.

The Orleans' Hotel began hosting the event about two years ago after its long-run at the Gold Coast. The Orleans was jammed packed thru the four days and obviously enjoys hosting this happy crowd of free-spenders. During the weekend the Palms, Gold Coast, Rio and Orleans were sold out of hotel rooms. Many attendees also favor staying at the Imperial Palace, and Treasure Island and cabbing over to the events.

Everyone is urged to attend and feel welcome, even if not wearing vintage clothes, retro 1940s and 1950s hair-styles or sporting elaborate and large tattoos.

Although roughly 80% of the attendees are true to their Rockabilly Culture and regalia.

Remember. The next Rockabilly Vegas Weekend will be held in September. Try to see it.

150 Larger, Higher Definiton Rockabilly photos will be posted later this month at:

Rockabilly Past and Present Videos:
1. Dean Z at Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend 2007 singing 'Good Rockin Tonight, 2. 'Whole Lotta Shakin' byJerry Lee Lewis 1957, 3. Elvis re-mix of 'That's All Right Mama', 4. Betty Page and Frank Zappa, 5. Mamie Van Doran sings 'Hey Mama' from the 1958 movie 'Teenage Confidential', 6. Johnny Burnette sings 'Lonesome Train' 1956, 7. Betty Page to 'Petter Gunn', 8. Elvis on Sullivan 1956 'Baby Let's Play House', 9. Jerry Lee Lewis 'Great Balls of Fire' 1957, 10. Stray Cats 1985 'Elvis on Velvet', 11. Bobby Lord 'Everybody's Rockin But Me', 12. Stray Cats 1981 'Stray Cat Strut', 13. Rockabilly in Japan, 14. Pin-Ups and Rockabilly cars and Vegas, assorted miscellaneous.
In Old Las