History of Rock n Roll Dancing in Melbourne

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2020 The Year of Cancelled Rock n Roll Festivals

Posted by [email protected] on September 10, 2020 at 8:10 PM Comments comments (0)

2020 - Year of Cancelled Rock n Roll Festivals

After a great start to the year with rock n roll festivals held in Geelong, Rosebud foreshore, Parkes Elvis Festival, Gippsland and even a slim down version in Ballarat, rockers everywhere were eagerly awaiting for more festivals to enjoy the music and dancing that these festivals bring.


Unfortunately due to severe health risks associated with Covid-19, it has now come to a shattering halt with news of cancellations for all the remaining 1950's style themed festivals. Firstly, Coolangatta Cooly Rocks and Wintersun 2 were cancelled followed by Camperdown Rock n Roll Festival. Chromefest in Lake Entrance was next. Even regional rock n roll festivals such as those held in Barham, Horsham and Mulwala were cancelled. It was hoped that GreazeFest in Brisbane might proceed after it was initially postponed from August to November. But it has since been announced last week that it too has been cancelled.


The decision to cancel all these festivals is totally understandable and even prudent in the circumstance. Covid-19 is a world wide pandemic and Australia is not immune to it. The health and safety of patrons is paramount. It would not be financially sound nor logistically feasible to hold rock n roll festivals with Covid restrictions introduced and international and State borders closed. Lets hope the much anticipated Covid vaccine is found soon and we can return to some normality to resume dancing and attending music & dance festivals next year.


In the meantime, please stay safe and let's hope we 'll meet up again somewhere at a rock n roll festival in 2021.

Jitterbug Copied with permission from Vicrock.com.au

Shepparton Shake-Out 2017

Posted by [email protected] on September 7, 2019 at 4:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Shepparton Shake-Out Rockabilly Festival 2017

Despite ominous weather forecast for a very hot day on Saturday and rain on Sunday, the feed-back was very positive from those who had attended last weekend's inaugural Shepparton Shake-Out Rockabilly Festival. I wasn't there on the opening Friday night but had a great time on Saturday & Sunday.

There was just so much to do and see. Non-stop music all day & night, live bands from overseas and local Aussie bands, non-stop dancing of course plus a host of other fun-filled activities including hotrods & Kustoms classic cars display, merchandise and food stores, carnival rides for the kids & family, Miss Pin Up & 1950's fashion parade, dance classes and competition.

The Shepparton Showground was a fantastic venue to hold a 1950's style music and show & shine hotrods festival. Unlike Camperdown, there was no problem with finding accommodation with a big range of accommodation providers in Shepparton and surrounding townships. The venue has a large car park for patrons and a large oval for hotrod & cars display and merchandise stores. It has two large band stages & dance floors under cover, and the rockabilly stage was especially welcome as it was air-conditioned and therefore very popular when it was very hot on Saturday. In addition, there was a room for dance classes as well an open stage for the Miss Pin Up and 1950's fashion parade.

As usual, there was a big selection of overseas and local Aussie bands to entertain the patrons that came from Victoria and inter-states. Overseas bands included the Vargas Brothers & Gamblers Mark from the USA, CC Jerome from the Netherlands and Shorty Jetson from Belgium. Local Aussie bands included many my favourites like the Detonators, Benny & the Flyby Niters, Hank Jalopy Demons, Kieron McDonald, Three Loaders, Phoenix, Robyn & the Rancheros, Kitty Martini, the Jump Devils, Silverados from Adelaide, Twang and Route 66 from Queensland and Bad Luck Kitty from NSW. Bands were playing concurrently on two stages but nevertheless, I still got to see and dance to most of the bands in action.

The Rock n Roll dance competition was well attended with a big field of competitors including many younger dancers competing for the first time. Great to see dancers showcasing the competitive side of Rock n Roll dancing. I think the winners were from the Albury R&R Dance School taught by Johnny Phung who himself was a former VRRDA Rock & Roll dance champion back in the 1990's.

Finally, I think general public & family participation was a bit down in numbers due mainly to the inclement weather. Increasing participation level from the general public & family is an an area that could be looked for next year's event. All in all, it was a fun event and all those who attended had a great time. Thanks to the Shepparton council and Arthur (the promoter) for organising this year's Shepparton Shake-Out Rockabilly Festival.

Jitterbug - Copied with permission from vicrock.com.au

Ararat Jailhouse Rock festival 2017

Posted by [email protected] on September 7, 2019 at 4:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Ararat Jail House Rock Festival, 17 - 19 March 2017

What a great festival Ararat’s 23rd Annual Jail House Rock and Roll festival was over the weekend 17 – 19 March.

Created in 1995 as a not for profit incorporated body, the 2017 celebration of all things rock’n'roll; showcased the fantastic Fender Benders, the tremendous Smokin Wingtips, the Rockin Atomic High Tones, the great Robyn and the Rancheros, the wonderful Two of Us along with the sensational DJ and hosting expertise of DJ Jeff and Susanne.

The sun shone brilliantly on Alexandra Oval for the entire weekend as hot-rod and classic car owners’ show cased their beautiful machines, stall holders displayed their wares and the magic sounds of rock and roll radiated from the huge and improved pavilion which beaconed dancers to the dance floor.

Friday night had many dance under the stars in the extra-large marquee on Alexandra Oval with the Atomic High Tones; then there were choices on Saturday night with the Smokin’ Wingtips dancing up a frenzy under the stars in the marquee on the oval, the Fender Benders blowing the roof off Alexandra Hall, and Robyn and the Rancheros scaring the ghosts away as J-Ward rocked the night away.

Non-stop entertainment by the featured bands on both Saturday and Sunday, the Shannon’s Show ‘n’ Shine as well as a fashion parade was very entertaining with babes, toddlers, teens and adults showing off their eye catching fashions; I don’t have all the winners names but do know that Josh Sharples was crowned King, Helena Appleby crowned Queen, Kim Zdravkovski came away with Lady of the Day and Matthew Zdravkovski as Gentleman of the day. A big congratulations to all the winners.

The JHR Festival has been conducted by a volunteer committee as an annual event for the last 23 years with the support of the Ararat Rural City Council, and generous sponsorship from local & regional businesses. Congratulations to Sandra who never stopped smiling and her hardworking committee for making everybody so welcome and for once again, pulling off another wonderful Ararat Jail House Rock Festival.

Be sure to save the dates of 16 – 18 March 2018 for Ararat’s 24th Annual Jail House Rock Festival. This is an event that all rock and rollers would regret missing.

Jitterbug - Copied with permission from vicrock.com.au

Cooly Rocks on 2018

Posted by [email protected] on September 7, 2019 at 4:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Cooly Rocks On 2018

It seems like rockers from the southern states just couldn't get enough of Coolangatta's mainly sunny & dry weekend weather for Cooly Rocks On 2018. Not quite beautiful one day and perfect the next, but it was close enough. How could anyone complain when the Cooly rock n roll festival is mainly free entry to all music & dance events with the exception of a couple of gigs at the upstairs room in Twin Towns, South Tweeds Sports Club or at Seagulls. And what a bonus too this year when you can combine Cooly Rocks On with Wintersun 2 which started a weekend earlier at Murwillumbah, and later, on the same weekend as Cooly Rocks On with live bands staged at Seagulls.

The 1950's style festival at Cooly had fewer interstate bands this year but on the positive side, it gave interstate visitors an opportunity to sample lots more local Brisbane bands such as Twang, Lock N Load, the Argonauts, the Walters, Little Stevie and the Tailfins, Cherry Divine & Linelockers just to name a few of those bands. Lance Lipinski from Texas, USA was the headline musical act with his trademark showmanship and his extravaganza performance on stage. It was obvious everyone loved & enjoyed Lipinski's performance on stage. Personally, I also enjoyed seeing Aussie "rockabilly" and rock n roll legend from the 1960's - Lonnie Lee & the Leeman.

Cooly Rocks On is much more than just rock n roll. There was blues, swing and rockabilly on offer too to suit your music genre preference or style of dancing. Of course, Cooly Rocks On is also about kustoms and hotrod display & cruisin' plus the usual attractions like the street parade on Saturday morning, Miss Cooly Rocks On competition, dance competition & classes and merchandise galore on the beachfront at Marine Parade.

Not as many band stages this year but there were other venues staging gigs during day time and in the evening such as Coolangatta Sands hotel, Greenmount Beach Club, Coolangatta Surf Club, Currumbin RSL but the biggest venue has to be (again) Twin Towns where it was packed with dancers every night for the duration of the festival.

I enjoyed my weekend at Coolangatta this year and I am sure many others did too. The festival enables many to catch up with friends & family from interstates and to share a dance, a meal & drinks or simply enjoy watching the cars or bands on offer. Whether it was better this year is quite debatable but I am sure it could be better again next year if more rockers and the general public support & attend Cooly Rocks On. From reports I have heard, over 80,000 people attended the festival the year before and more people again attended this year which is good news. Increase attendance not only add to the festival's atmosphere but also results in more businesses participation and hopefully also encourages increase funding from the Council to run the event to its full potential. So together lets support rock n roll and keep it going for many more years to come.

Jitterbug - Copied with permission from vicrock,com.au

Geelong Jukebox Rockers Festival 2019

Posted by [email protected] on September 7, 2019 at 4:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Geelong Jukebox Rockers Summer R&R Festival

Geelong Jukebox Rockers staged its annual Summer R&R festival just last weekend and it was a great success indeed. The rockers I spoke to all had a great time. This R&R festival is one of the "must attend" festivals in Melbourne/Victoria for those who truly love our 1950's style music, dancing and classic cars.

The festival was staged over 3 days starting with the Friday night dance with the Fender Benders. Saturday's activities included dance classes, dance competition and the evening dance with the Smokin' Wingtips. Sunday was the family "picnic" day with live bands playing concurrently at the outdoor stage and the hall at White Eagle House. The 3 bands in attendance comprised the Fender Benders, Atomic Hi Tones/Rockin' Daddies and Shane Magro Combo with its new set up. DJ Jeff played music for more dancing during the band breaks. There were also classic cars, caravans and motor bikes display on the day.

Weather wise, it was a brilliant sunny day and a huge crowd turned up to enjoy the music, dancing and cars display. All in all, it was a wonderful day catching up with friends from all over Melbourne and country Victoria plus visitors from South Australia too. Well done to Geelong Jukebox Rockers for staging another very successful R&R festival and keeping us rockin' all weekend.

Jitterbug - Copied with permission from vicrock.com.au

Ballarat Beat 2019 festival

Posted by [email protected] on September 7, 2019 at 4:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Ballarat Beat 2019

Despite some pre-event negative publicity and comments on social media about the changes that were to take place for Ballarat Beat, I nonetheless went ahead to attend this rock n roll music and dance festival. I am so glad I went as I had a great time on the weekend listening and dancing to some of Melbourne's favourite bands which included Scotty Baker, Jukebox Racket, Louis King & the Liars Klub, Atomic Hi tones, Hank Jalopy Demons, Itchy Fingers and Robyn & the Rancheros.

And of course it was more than just music and dancing. There was a 1950's fashion parade and Miss Pin Up competition which usually draws a big crowd. There were classic cars on display and 1950's merchandise for sale. Rockers were dressed in their 1950's clothing and the vibe in town generally was one of having great fun and catching up with friends from all over Victoria and inter-state.

It was a shame that Lydiard Street was not closed off this year as this was the major focal point for rockers and the general public in past years where bands played on the Lydiard street stage, dancing rock n roll, classic cars display and lots of merchandise stores. Instead, this year the "public" stage was located off the George Hotel's laneway. Public participation from what I can observe was well down from previous years. The Hop Temple bar & restaurant, on the other hand, was rockin' all Saturday afternoon.

There's no doubt it's very hard to stage a music festival year by year and still drawing in the crowds. I hope rockers are ready to provide constructive comments so that the promoters can take note and make those necessary changes to make Ballarat Beat even better for next year. We must all try to support our rock n roll festivals to keeping it alive and vibrant for many more years to come.

Jitterbug.  Copied with permission from vicrock.com.au

Gippy Rocks 2019

Posted by [email protected] on September 7, 2019 at 4:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Gippy Rocks hosted its fifth year of Rock n Roll Festival in Sale last weekend and it was a very enjoyable weekend of R&R music, dancing and competition. The weather was fantastic all weekend. It was also my first time attending a R&R event in Sale. Gippy Rocks is a charity event with all profits going to charity and for a very good cause. Well done to Gippy Rocks.

The festival started off on Friday night with the Cadillac Drifters playing at the Sale Memorial Hall. It is a huge hall with one of the biggest dance floors in Victoria. It was well decorated with balloons and streamers and it was quite obvious that the Gippy Rocks organisers have gone to a lot of trouble to make everyone feeling welcome and ensuring the hall exudes the R&R 1950's feel and vibe. On Saturday, there was two bands - Rockin' Tones playing their classic jukebox tunes and the Silverados from Adelaide with a slightly more upbeat "rockabilly" tunes. I enjoyed both bands and the contrast in style between the two bands is something I find quite pleasing.

There was also the Regional Gippsland R&R dance competition on Saturday afternoon. The format is varied which included a "Jack & Jill" fun event which is open to everyone to participate. There were also other fun events like "boy-boy, girl-girl" event as well as an "adult-child" dance event. Most of the finals were danced and completed in the afternoon with the exception of the last event which was the "open" event. The final dance off took place during the Saturday dance night.

On Sunday, it was a "picnic" day at the Canal Reserve with three bands - the Rockin' Tones, Silverados and finally another Melbourne band, the Jump Cats. There was classic car and hotrods display plus food and merchandise stores. Two dance floors were laid specially in the park for dancers.

I highly recommend Gippy Rocks as a rock n roll festival to attend. For those travelling by car from Melbourne, it is an easy drive of just over 2 hours. Lots of accommodation available in Sale plus scenic walks and sightseeing at the Port of Sale.


Copied with permission from Vicrock.com.au

Sapphire Coast Rock n Rodders Festival 2019

Posted by [email protected] on April 23, 2019 at 1:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Sapphire Coast Rock n Rodders Festival 2019

What a fabulous event again in Merimbula for the 10th Sapphire Coast Rock n Rodders Festival. It was hosted by Club Sapphire early in March but, as in the last 10 years, it was principally organised by Lyndon & Kerry with assistance from the local Merimbula R&R club. The weather in this seaside holiday town located in NSW South Coast as usual was fantastic with sunny sky during the whole weekend, and mild evening temperature which makes it perfect for rock n roll dancing.

This year, we again have Lyndon's band, Shadoogie, which was a household R&R band in Melbourne for many years before he moved away to live in Merimbula. Also performing on the 3 day event were the Fender Benders and the Honky Tonk Rockers. Shadoogie started off the festival playing to a capacity crowd on Friday evening. This was followed by the Saturday night dance with Shadoogie and the Honky Tonk Rockers playing in the main dance hall and the Fender Benders in the smaller room upstairs. Sunday night was the dinner dance with Fender Benders and the Honky Tonk Rockers and finished off with the jam session featuring all 3 bands on stage. The jam session has always been the highlight of the evening as patrons gathered around at the front of the stage to soak up the atmosphere and admire the talent on display as the 3 bands played as one. Lyndon even pulled a "band reunion" surprise on Sunday when he got his old band mates including Artie Shugg (ex Atomic Hi Tones and now with the Jump Devils) from 30 years ago to come on stage to perform a couple of songs.

There were dance classes and dance demo plus a "Jack n Jill" dance competition. Also on Sunday morning, classic cars and hot rods gathered for a hot rodders show. For those who wanted more to do, there was a food & wine market on Lake Merimbula's foreshore on Sunday morning or you could enjoy walking the whole section of the Merimbula Board walk which has a fantastic bush land scenery along with the beauty & serenity of Lake Merimbula.

This year's festival was the tenth in a row and Lyndon and Kerry have done a fantastic job in organizing it, year after year. Well done to Lyndon & Kerry. Well done also to the Sapphire Club for hosting it plus all the bands that have participated in this festival. I believe this year might be the last time that Lyndon & Kerry are going to host the festival. It has been an incredible success and whether the festival continues in its present form, only time will tell. I have always enjoyed attending the festival the few times I have been able to make it.

Paul - Jitterbug. Copied with permission from vicrock.com.au

Rockabilly Meltdown 2012

Posted by [email protected] on December 25, 2018 at 10:10 PM Comments comments (0)

2012 Melbourne Rockabilly Meltdown - Ferntree Gully Hotel 19-20 May

Another top weekend!!! The Melbourne Rockabilly Meltdown Weekend - it's got everything that any cool Kat or Kitten (or Rabs and Billies) want with a truckload of rockin' bands, lots of dancin' & drinkin', 1950's style fashion & competition, tatts galore, hotrods & Kustoms, merchandise paradise and even a PGR rated burlesque display that some would passionately argue as a perfectly valid reason to showcase our rockabilly counter culture - a lifestyle and phenomenon that is loaded with pride and attitude.

The rockabilly party started on Friday night at Lucky 13 Garage with 4 bands (Hank's Jalopy Demons, Lowriders, Flyin' Saucers and Benny & the Flybyniters) and continued on to Saturday night with debut performances from the Whiteliners (Sydney) and the Continentals (Perth) and well supported by local Melbourne rockabilly maestro, the Atomic Hi Tones. And then the BIG one - climaxing at the Ferntree Gully hotel with an all day and night extravangaza. Nine (9) top bands playing non stop music, tons of hotrods & Kustoms on display in the car park outside, merchandise stores, tatts & 1950's style fashion competitions and a parade of cool kats and kittens dancin' up a storm just like the early Rock "n" Roll years. Surely, the Melbourne Rockabilly Meltdown is becoming an institution for all things rockabilly and, deservedly so, gaining a nation wide repute for those wanting to experience live rockabilly music, culture and fashion. No wonder we seem to be getting just about a plane load of interstate visitors from Brisbane, Sydney and Perth and from the other smaller states as well attending the Meltdown. 

Music wise, it just can't get any better, can it?. Bands from inter-states and a good old re-union of the many popular Melbourne bands under the one roof, for the first time after many years. It was very heartening to see and experience. Well done to the Jollys - arguably, our local Melbourne rockabilly promotion supremo. You guys have done it again! So looking forward to the next one in 2013.

Melbourne Rockabilly Meltdown - Monash Hotel.

Last night at the Monash hotel was the second leg of the Melbourne Rockabilly Meltdown weekend after the opening night at Lucky 13 Garage with 4 bands playing. From all reports, it was a fantastic night of rockin' and rollin' with local Victorian based "Rabs & Billies" almost swamped by a large contingent of rockabilly invaders from Queensland and some from Perth.

They were all there again partying at the Monash hotel last night with the Atomic Hi Tones firing up the mood with their own distinctive style of rockabilly much loved by many in Melbourne and also when performing inter-states. This was followed by the recently reformed " the Whiteliners" from NSW (supported by Doghouse Dave on double base) that really got the crowd excited and baying for more with their brand of Southern rockabilly mixed with Western Swing & Hillbilly.

Perth band, the Continentals, finished the night with the last set and kept the party mood going to the end. These guys with their debut performance in Melbourne didn't disappoint the rockabilly faithfuls with a polished performance & now we know why they love this band playing regularly at the Mustang Bar over in Perth.

And today, the big one at the Ferntree Gully hotel with hot rods & Kustoms display, tatts comp, merchandise stores of all varieties, 9 bands performing and lots of dancin' all day .......see you there!

Jitterbug (Paul Wan) copied with permission from Vicrock.com.au

Dance Festivals

Posted by [email protected] on September 7, 2018 at 1:50 AM Comments comments (0)

There are many Rock n Roll festivals held each year with live bands, dancing, classic cars, hot rods, and merchandise stalls.  Many country towns hold annual festivals and the accomodation is booked out from year to year.  Streets are closed off and thousands flock to enjoy the music, the cars and the nostalgia for all things 50's and 60's.

This list is a start at recording past and present festivals and was complied a few years ago.  For information on current years festivals please check websites or google for latest details.


Parks Elvis Festival  www.parkeselvisfestival.com.au/

Geelong Jukebox Rockers Summer Festival   www.geelongjukeboxrockers.com


Barham Rock n Roll festival.  www.clubarham.com.au

Mulwalla  www.clubmulwala.com.au

Ballarat Rockabilly   www.ballaratbeat.com.au


Bright Rockabilly   www.brightrockabilly.com.au - finished 

Ararat   www.jailhouserockfestival.com.au.  Held since 1994, celebrating 25th anniversary on 16th Mar 2019

Kurri Kurri (Hunter Valley) www.kurrikurrinostalgiafestival.com.au/

Rock til you Drop - Warragul Downtowner 2007-2009 run by Rhonda McDonald

Saphire Coast (Merimbula) long weekend  www.sapphirecoastrockandroll.com.au  2009 -2019

Gipps Rocks - Sale.  In 2019 it was held at the Sale Memorial Hall on Friday and Saturday and at the Canal Reserve on Sunday afternoon. It included the rock n roll dance competition on Saturday afternoon plus the final of the Open event on Saturday dance night. Bands playing during the weekend were the Cadillac Drifers on Friday nght, Rockin' Tones and the Silverados on Saturday dance night and finally, 3 bands on Sunday at the Canal Reserve with the Rockin' Tones, the Silverados and the Jump Cats.



Riverland RnR festival Waikerie  www.rocknroll.visitwaikerie.com


Cooly rocks on @ Coolngatta / Tweed Heads www.coolyrockson.mybigcommerce.com/

Wintersun festival


Mulwalla www.clubmulwala.com.au

Rich River www.richriver.com.au/welcome/index.mhtml


Barham www.clubarham.com.au


Victor Harbor www.rocknrollfestival.com.au


Ocker Rocker Taree www.clubtaree.com.au

Corowa Rocks @ Corowa RSL  www.visitcorowashire.com.au


Camperdown Cruise www.camperdowncruise.com.au

Bendigo Jailhouse Rockers  www.bendigojailhouserockers.com

Tallangatta Festival last weekend www.tallangattafifties.com.au

Chromefest (The Entrance) www.chromefest.net

Great Southern Blues Festival Narooma  


Adelaide www.adelaiderocknroll.com.au   Held since 1994, celebrating 25th anniversary in 2019

Rosebud Foreshore Festival www.foreshorerockfest.com.au/

Rock n roll festival at Latrobe Uni Bundoora 2007