Friday, November 5, 2010

Rockin' to the rhythm of the LBC!

Ok, I am finally ready to write my thoughts on Rhythm Rocker, the rockabilly weekend held in Long Beach, California last month.

Held at the Seaport Marina hotel, this was the first ever Rhythm Rocker, and I was so excited at the prospect of recreating a little Viva Las Vegas vibe at the midway mark until the next one in April 2011. It was a fun weekend, and simultaneously disappointing, because let's face it, it was never going to be Viva.

The hotel was pretty crummy, or at least that's what the general opinion seemed to be amongst everyone there. To me though, it was almost luxurious compared to the weekenders held at Pontin's Holiday Camps across the UK! There was not a plastic bedsheet or electricity meter in sight! Our room was big and comfortable and had a great 'dressing up' area that was well lit, with a big mirror. To counterbalance the wonder of that though, we only had one bedside table, no chest of drawers and no fridge. The rooms were all completely different, with some of our friends having smaller, uglier rooms with precarious mattresses but a full set of furniture and one even had a fireplace! The best, was the mushrooms growing out of the ceiling in the hallway though....

But enough about the decor, let's talk bands. The line-up was pretty damn good, with Big Boy Bloater headlining from the UK on the Friday night, a Sun Records tribute (featuring Big Sandy and Carl Sonny Leyland, amongst others) on the Saturday night and Miss Mary-Anne & the Ragtime Wranglers on Sunday. All three headliners were awesome and really fun to dance to, although my highlight of the whole weekend was seeing The Cleftones on Saturday night. Swoon. Dancing with my loverboy to 'I only have eyes for you' was particularly magical....

Unfortunately, the weather was a bit gloomy for the entire duration of the weekend, with grey skies and not even a hint of sunshine. It wasn't cold, but let's just say the pool party was not well attended, and those that were there were fully clothed!

Now this is where the weekender fell down for me. Due to the gloomy weather hardly anyone went to the main courtyard during the daytimes, despite there being bands, djs and vendors (which on the whole, were a little disappointing) set up out there. This detracted from the weekender feel for me, as it meant that people only really went out to the main ballroom at night, and the daytimes were a bit disconnected. I still had a few dances and chatted to some friends in the courtyard at various points, but there were not really enough people out there at all times to encourage a proper party atmosphere.

On other weekenders I have attended, there are always lots of people milling about and dancing, practically 24 hours a day. Which brings me to my next point - the music cut off at 2am each night, at which point everyone was sent back to their rooms. This is supremely rubbish, as the whole point of travelling somewhere for a whole weekend, is that the music goes on late and you have the option of cramming in as much partying and dancing as you like, with the added bonus of being able to pop back to your room at intervals for a quick nap or an outfit change. Had they not shut down the main room, I am positive the party would have continued into the morning, because it was really fun until they hit the lights and kicked everyone out!

All in all I had a fun weekend. It was great to go somewhere new, but also have a lot of friends around, with great music and an extremely close proximity to In'n'Out Burger....

As with any new venture, there are things that worked, but also a number of improvements that could be made. Whilst this was not the best weekender I have ever been on, I still enjoyed many aspects of it, and had a lot of fun dancing, meeting new people, joking around with friends and seeing some top quality live music. Would I go back and spend the same amount of money on flights, hotel, ticket etc? Not unless some significant changes are made. I do, however, hope that the weekender continues to be a yearly event and I look forward to seeing it get better and better.


  1. I think they should do it in Palm Springs...and also do it over Labor Day weekend since people don't have to work on Monday.

    See you tonight Mel!

  2. A wonderful post. I enjoyed reliving the event through your experience. Hopefully the next weekender will provide late night dancing and music.

  3. Now, I know what I missed. Still, looking forward to Viva!

  4. Kim, I think they should do it in Palm Springs too. There seem to be a lot of other dance weekenders held in that area that I always hear about.

    See ya later!

    Aaron, you know that ending the music at 2am don't fly with us when we have our dancing shoes on.... :P

    Linda....ME TOOOOO! I cannot wait until Viva! :) :) :)