It all started Thursday morning when the sleepy little town of Tucumcari, NM began to see a slow trickle of custom cars roll down its stretch of Route 66. The Voodoo Creeps and Straightrazors, car clubs from Albuquerque, had begun arriving, many under the cool darkness of a desert night.
If there was any doubt something big was brewing for the weekend, it was clear by Thursday night as Rockabilly on the Route 2014 kicked off with a rockin’ bowling event at Mountain View Bowling and a classic movie screening down at the Odeon Theater.
Men in cuffed jeans and women in pin-up-style outfits knocked over pins and knocked back drinks with dozens of local business owners, town officials, and excited citizens. It was clear this year’s Rockabilly on the Route would be bigger, better, and more fun than the already successful previous year’s.
We started to write this as a basic rundown of each day and night’s events, but that style of article doesn’t do an event like this justice. Rockabilly on the Route is more than just an itinerary of great bands and car events. It’s the people that make this worth coming to each and every year.
It’s about local motel owners being willing to show you the sites and introduce you to townspeople and an event promoter pulling a dead rabbit out of your rental car grill and then making a truly awful music video about it.
It’s about showcasing great music like the best drum solo we’ve ever seen from Mad Max & the Wild Ones to the performances of international bands willing to fly in and fly out for just such an event.
It’s about having a PBR at the hotel with a bunch of people you’ve never met before as a hail-inducing thunderstorm sweeps over you. (and motel owners that let you park your classic car under a carport at a nearby place they own)
It’s about watching the “Ultimate Elvis,” Justin Shandor get an entire room on the dance floor. It’s about seeing people dancing hand-in-hand until they finally turn on the lights, and then watching Elvis get a tattoo right in front of you.
Rockabilly on the Route is about out-of-town car clubs bonding with local car enthusiasts with one hell of a car show. It’s about the same clubs and locals doing burnouts one after the next as the whole town (seriously, the whole town was there) cheered on.
It’s about showcasing Tucumcari’s place in Route 66 history with a beautiful museum while inviting vendors to also showcase their Route 66 books, stickers, and souvenirs. It’s about listening to stories from residents about the town and tuning in to the oldies show on the local radio on your way to the night’s live performances.
A rockabilly festival like this can be a success in most any town with a love for great music and awesome cars, but Rockabilly on the Route’s choice of Tucumcari, NM matters... It’s about merging people from all different walks of life through a shared appreciation for the town’s importance as a Route 66 icon. (Picture below is of show promoters Ungie & Simon being presented with the key to Tucumcari.)
The rapid growth of Rockabilly on the Route in only its 2nd year is a testament to the fact people still care about these towns dotted along the Mother Road. It’s why people like Simon Cantlon from Vive Le Rock Productions (with the help of Amber Kemp) and Ungie Davila & her crew from La Loca Magazine put in countless hours to organize and promote Rockabilly on the Route. Is there really a better place to put on a festival like this?
So without further delay, we want to share some good news with you… Rockabilly on the Route 2015 has already been announced with an expanded 5 day schedule from June 3-7 right back in Tucumcari, NM! If you’ve ever dreamed of taking a Route 66 road trip, this is the perfect party to plan your trip around.
Visit Rockabilly on the Route’s website to find out more or to sign up to be a sponsor for the 2015 Rockabilly on the Route.
And just for your own pleasure… Even more pictures from the 2014 Rockabilly on the Route car show: