Lake Havasu City’s got its Rockabilly Reunion, Bullhead City has the Colorado River Bluegrass Festival and Kingman is kicking off its first Rude 66 Festival Saturday at Mohave County Fairgrounds with a dozen bands playing rockabilly, surf, punk and ska-tinged sounds.
Along with a full day of music on three stages, the festival will feature a car show, arts and crafts and food vendors, a full bar and Miss Rude 66 Pin-Up Girl contest, said James Guillot, manager of the fairgrounds.
“I’m really excited about this plan,” he said. “This could be the biggest thing happening in Mohave County.”
Guillot said he was approached by Frank Casillas, leader of local band favorite, The Tiki Bandits, earlier this year about putting on the festival, and they were able to make it happen at the fairgrounds.
The headliner will be Chuck E. Bump and the Crocodiles, an eight-piece swinging “jazzabilly” band out of Lake Havasu City.
“We’ve got some bands that are more on the alternative side, doing surf rock with a punk twist,” Casillas said.
Most of the bands are from around the region, including Lonesome Dick, who played the Sounds of Kingman Concert series a couple months ago at Metcalfe Park.
Casillas, general manager of The Rad Stop in Bullhead City, worked professionally in the music business for 29 years, founding the ska-punk Voodoo Glow Skulls with his brothers in 1988 in Riverside, California. They toured nationally and opened for Rev. Horton Heat and other big-name rockabilly headliners.
He’s organized other events such as the Bullhead City Cornfest put on by the Kiwanis Club.
“I decided to put something on for Kingman,” he said. “We’re (Tiki Bandits) based out of Kingman and we did the Mohave County Fair. This is a twist to the traditional Route 66 car shows, a little more edgy. Guys are more into rad rods than classics.”
The music throws back to the 1950s and ’60s, and while the bands come at it from an alternative side, they’re committed to preserving the rockabilly and surf style of music, Casillas said.
“This event does have the potential to become just as big as other surrounding events with some history behind them already,” he said. “We’re not trying to do just another rockabilly-themed event. Our event is a bit more diverse with a car show open to all styles, makes and models.”
It’s being sponsored by the Ghouls Car Club of Yuma.
Rude 66 Festival is focused on music and lifestyle, and showcasing talent from great local bands, Casillas said.
“There’s a whole subculture of retro, tiki and vintage style that is starting to make a scene,” he said.
Kingman is starting to see a thriving downtown scene, and there’s a movement toward preserving local history and art. With the nostalgic attraction of Route 66, there’s no better time to introduce a festival of this style, Casillas figures.
“Kingman is very hip,” he said. “First off, there’s an actual downtown that is thriving. Bullhead City and Lake Havasu do not really have that. Kingman is popular with Route 66 enthusiasts and tourists. The Mohave County Fairgrounds is the perfect venue for an event like this, and I think locals are ready for something different and exciting.”
WHAT: Rude 66 Car Show and Music Festival
WHEN: 11 a.m. Saturday
WHERE: Mohave County Fairgrounds, 2600 Fairgrounds Blvd.
BANDS: Chuck E. Bump & the Crocodiles; Tiki Bandits; Franks & Deans; Lonesome Dick; Surfside IV; 5F5; Thee Swank Bastards; Simmer Down; Epic 18; Time Crashers; Ukulele Hiro; Savage Kat; One with the Dead; Long Tyme Comin.
EVENTS: Car show sponsored by Ghouls Car Club; Miss Rude 66 Pin-Up Girl Contest sponsored by Black Sheep Ink Tattoo; local arts and crafts vendors; food; full bar.
TICKETS: $10 advance; $15 at the gate.