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A Flashback to the ‘50s: The Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender

Over twenty-thousand rock-and-rollers dressed to the nines for the 21st Annual Viva Las Vegas music festival at The Orleans Hotel and Casino. Stepping into the casino on Thursday, April 26, was like going back to the 1950s, but with a modern flare. As an added bonus, over 800 pre-63 custom cars of the traditional variety were parked on the casino’s lot for Saturday’s car show.

The Viva Las Vegas car show is unique in itself. The cars are themed after the era, and chrome, pinstripes and custom paint are prominent, but patina, bare metal and projects in progress mix it up a bit. Hot rod clubs gather in celebration on the car show grounds, and swanky ladies show off their modeling skills. Amidst the echoes of Rockabilly music, old friendships are rekindled and new connections discovered.

Viva Las Vegas Car Show Hands

The countless rows of rolling art was magical. Extreme ADD kicked in once our eyes were exposed to the masses of mind-blowing hot rods and customs, which resulted in walking several miles just darting back-and-fourth. I’d imagine we resembled an over-stimulated cat chasing a laser beam. In fact, our feet are still elevated as we publish this article.

Viva Las Vegas Car Show Flames

Extravagant custom roof paint carried metallic shimmers throughout the show grounds. Everything from soft and subtle lace panels to sharp, vivid edges were admired.

Custom paint at the Viva Las Vegas car show

Some of the best pinstripe art can be seen at the Viva Las Vegas car show. The longer you hold your gaze on this Cadillac’s intricate artwork, the more details come to light.  

Tiki Pinstripes on Custom Cadillac

A huge music stage was set up on the outskirts of the car show so attendees could Jump Jive An' Wail all day. The irresistible beats have the power to catch you in mid-step while unintentionally busting a move. Hearing an 82-year-old Jerry Lee Lewis sing “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” was a real treat, and then admiring a couple from his generation dance harder than anyone in the young audience left us feeling warm and fuzzy inside. Shortly after Jerry’s set, a clowder of tomcats and queens massed into the parking lot around the stage where the Stray Cats returned from an almost 10-year hiatus to rock the night away.

Crowd around the Stray Cats at Viva Las Vegas

Classy burlesque performances, including a special Elvira appearance, were extra perks to the weekend, and we spent some time at Sunday’s pool party in hopes of recovering before heading home.

Viva Las Vegas Pool Party

It is clear that the people of Viva Las Vegas are fueled by their love of custom cars and upbeat jiving music. There’s no such thing as a stranger at this festival. Instead, it’s one big family, and whether it’s your first time attending or your 21st, the friendships and memories last a lifetime.

Didn’t get enough visuals? Check out the photo gallery below!

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