Rockabilly on the Route - Tucumcari, NM
Tucumcari, NM: The classic car, vintage bike show and music festival that took New Mexico by storm in 2013 returns for the fourth consecutive year June 2-5, 2016, to historic Tucumcari, along the iconic blacktop roadway of Route 66. Four action-packed days with over 23 Rockabilly, Americana and Honky Tonk bands performing from all over the map, including Japan, and Australia!
Event producers Simon Cantlon and Ungelbah Davila, creators of Pink Flamingo Productions, say their goal is to celebrate the unique heritage of America’s Mother Road in New Mexico, as well as the country’s definitive musical legacy. The event is a fundraiser for the New Mexico Route 66 Museum in Tucumcari.
To extend on previous years’ success, Cantlon and Davila have extended the festival activities to include a beard and mustache competition, flea market, swap meet, specialty classes including hair and make-up tutorials, a veterans night, pool tournament and now three nights of headlining acts at the Convention Center. Thursday, June 2, will kick off the festival with a park and show of classic cars and vintage motorcycles at the Convention Center and into the night with our Rockin’ Bowling event at Mountain View Bowling where there will be live performances and karaoke. Thursday will keep things rockin’ at the Convention Center with headlining acts The Starlite Wranglers, from Japan, and The Henchmen, from California. After the headliners show there will be Red, White & Booze, a night to honor American veterans at the VFW Hall, including live music, pool, dancing, and the ladies of Heels for Combat Boots.
On Friday, June 3, events include a pool tournament, swap meet, flea market, merchants market, dance classes, mommy and me pinup contest, puppy pinup contest, and a classic car cruise down Route 66. Friday night includes a pop-up drive-in, and at the Convention Center happy hour will commence with live music followed by headliner bands/acts, including Lee Rocker of The Stray Cats and Gilded Cage Burlesk & Varieté’s burlesque showcase. The Midnight Madness after-party at the Tri-Star Inn Express Bar will feature even more live music on into the night.
Saturday will commence with a parade down Route 66, ending at the Convention Center where the classic car & vintage bike show, hosted by Albuquerque’s Voodoo Creeps C.C. and Duke City Rockers, will kick off. The show will last throughout the day, accompanied by live music in the beer garden, a wide variety of vendors, pinup, beard/mustache, mister rockabilly, and tattoo contests, kids' activities, dance and hair/make-up classes and car/bike show awards. One of the most popular events, the pin-up contest, will crown Miss Rockabilly On The Route 2016.
Following the car and bike show, the ever popular old-school burnout will take place, and in the evening there will be another happy hour with live music before the headline acts, which are A Man Called Stu, from Australia, Mad Max & the Wild Ones, from Utah, and Lance Lipinsky & The Lovers, from Chicago, at the Convention Center. The night will end with another Midnight Madness after-party with more live music at the Tri Star Express.
Sunday closes the weekend with a Rockin’ Gospel Brunch at Joe’s Back N The Day Diner, and a Tiki Pool Party with live music, colorful cocktails, and a pool to lounge or take a dip in at the Tri Star Express.
“We are continuing our international tradition this year,” says Davila. “We are thrilled to be bringing in bands from Tokyo, Japan, and Australia. It’s really exciting to see such an interest in classic, American rock’n’roll around the world.”
But this event isn’t just a great excuse to put on your blue suede shoes and bobby socks. “I feel that this event has a huge tourism and economical impact on Tucumcari, as well as the state of New Mexico,” says Jessica Elebario, former Convention Center director. “Rockabilly has a huge following around the world and this is our way to bring them to the state of New Mexico via historic Route 66.”
Cantlon, owner of Charleston-based Vive le Rock Productions, and Davila, owner of Albuquerque-based “La Loca Magazine,” launched Rockabilly on the Route in 2013 with an impressive headline performance by the rockabilly queen and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Wanda Jackson. In its inaugural year, the festival drew approximately 1,000 attendees from the local community, state and surrounding area. In 2014 the producers raised the gamut, bringing in the “Ultimate Elvis” Justin Shandor, the rockabilly teen sensations Mad Max & the Wild One, and The Lucky Bullets from Oslo, Norway. The event drew over 2,000 attendees from all over the United States and world. In 2015 the festival featured The Gretsch Brothers from Japan, Wayne “The Train” Hancock and more acts than ever before, drawing over 4,000 people. This year the producers expect to reach at least double that attendance.
With events for all ages and a little something for everyone, from hot rods to swing dancing to classic pinup girls, Rockabilly on the Route is the only event of its kind in the state. So pack your dancing shoes, grab the kiddos, load up the classic car and spend the weekend at one of Tucumcari’s historic mid-century motels this June for the biggest dance party of Route 66.
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