LAS VEGAS — This isn't your 1950s bubble gum and poodle skirts rock 'n roll. The Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend is a flashback to classic cars, vintage pinups, Tiki drinks, tattoos and a fashion aesthetic that balances high heels with just as high hair.
"It's good clean fun, with a hint of naughty," said Tara O'Hara of Chicago.
Thousands of fans of the era gathered over the weekend for musical performances and car show off the Strip at The Orleans Hotel and Casino.
"It's the culture, the lifestyle, the attire, the cars, the music and the old mannerisms," says Tino Pacheco of Rialto, California when asked what attracts him to rockabilly.
At the center is rock 'n roll.
Publicist Alisha Alexander said Monday that some 8,500 people attended the festival and about 17,500 people visited the car show. She says the retro weekend has grown so large, organizers have added a second music-only event — the Rockabilly Rockout — in October at the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino that harkens back to the event's roots.
"It's gotten a lot bigger. You have people from all over. Germany, Austria, Mexico, Italy," said Pacheco who attended the weekend for about 15 years. "A lot of us come here to keep the culture alive, to keep it going. And that's what makes it unique."