Thursday, September 20, 2012

High Rock-A-Billy 2012!

Well, dear readers, this marks my 200th blog post, and I can think of nothing better to document the last days of summer (prepare for a lot of photos!) than my recent trip to Spain for the High Rockabilly festival.

Photo by Gabriel Mestre

After nine glorious days of sunshine in Calafell, we returned to London last Thursday night - in shorts, of course - and were greeted by a torrential downpour!  Even that did not dampen our spirits though, as we had such an amazing holiday - so amazing, that we are already looking forward to returning next year...

 Watching the sunrise from the balcony on our last morning...

This year's festival ran from the 6th-9th September, with a pre-party on the 5th, and a post-party on the 10th.  We went for a couple of days either side, to take advantage of the glorious beach and general holiday merriment.  Our apartment was right on the beachfront, so we spent every day laying on the sand and swimming in the sea, which was warm and wavy!

Many of our friends were in town for the High, which was great, because you always end up running into people you know, either on the beach, or when you're walking around.  The town pretty much gets taken over by people wandering about in 50s clothing and many of the restaurants and cafes in the area take to playing rock n roll for their customers!


One of my favourite parts of the event was the pool party, which took place every afternoon at the Solimar Hotel.  It made for fantastic people-watching and the amount of cute swimsuits and playsuits was pretty drool-worthy fashion-watching!


The pool party features a selection of clothing vendors, bands and djs and I would have to say that one aspect I preferred at this pool party, as opposed to the VLV one, was that soooo many people danced.  Yes, it was muy caliente, but you can't beat a bit of al fresco dancing!


On the Saturday afternoon, the Solimar poolside was transformed into a hillbilly bbq, with free meat and honky tonk tunes...

On Sunday, the pool party featured a flea market as well as a Johnny Cash and June Carter tribute band, who I rather enjoyed listening to.

The evening venue was at the end of what I dubbed the 'yellow brick road' which was lined by a canopy of trees.  This walk was quite pretty....the main venue was less so!  Located in a gymnasium, the night-time locale for dancing, drinking and band-watching is hardly the epitome of glamour, but it is big and roomy.

There is a separate tent for djs and dancing, which is open until the bands finish and the djs take over the main room.  Sadly, the wooden slatted floor in the tent did not agree with my white Remix wedges, and another pair bit the dust.  RIP my THIRD pair of broken wedges...

 My beloved wedges, pre-break!

To counter-balance my despair at the busted shoes, I did manage to find a super-cute Pendleton during my time in Spain, which I bought from the Sneaky Tiki stall.  Incidentally, Mr Sneaky Tiki (Long Beach) and the Vintage King (Camden) were two of our roommates in Calafell, along with LA dj Rockin' Vic and his lovely wife - so you can just imagine that our apartment was filled with all sorts of awesome vintage clothing and great music!  They were the bestest roomies, and we had a lot of fun...and cava!


At the event venues you swap Euros for 'Dollar Billys' (or Billy Bucks, as we started calling them) which is a dangerous thing, as it feels as if you are only spending Monopoly Money... 

There were quite a few bands that I thoroughly enjoyed over the course of the weekend, especially those with a country western feel, including the Janis Martin tribute (we danced to nearly every song) Wild Records' new sweetheart Mary Simich and 49 Special.  I also really, really enjoyed The Quasars who played at the pre-party - they were awesome, and we even managed to carve out enough room to dance to nearly ever song! 

Janis Martin Tribute

 Mary Simich

49 Special 

 The Quasars

Other musical highlights were Spo-Dee-O-Dee and The Rip 'Em Ups who both put on fun and energetic performances.

 The Rip 'Em Ups

I couldn't possibly write this post without mentioning some of the delicious food that we ate!  I'll tell you right now, that the tapas was disappointing, but there was a great Italian restaurant, Bella Venezia, which we returned to on three consecutive nights.  We dined on lobster spaghetti, seafood spaghetti and on our last night, I ordered the sea bream (whole) which came with four giant shrimp.  It was yummmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy....

I also managed to eat my body weight in olives, drink my body weight in cava and satisfy my sweet tooth with a couple of ice cream sundaes, not to mention the tiki cocktails at popular local bar, Bora Bora!

As with Viva, going to the High is like going on holiday with loads of your friends from around the world and making lots of new ones too....except with a beach and 32c weather!

Comparing the two, is (as loverboy puts it) like comparing apples and oranges - they are both similar, but very different.  I had an absolute blast and will be returning to the High (and Viva) for more fun next year.  Until then, roll on Rhythm Riot!