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.