Everything to Know About the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender

Gretsch guitars at the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender, 2013
Gretsch guitars at the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender, 2013 | © FRANKIE TEASE MAGAZINE / WikiCommons
Lissa Townsend Rodgers

For over two decades, the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender has drawn aficionados of hair grease and slapback bass from around the world to a casino in Sin City.

The Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender was launched in 1997 by British DJ and promoter Tom Ingram. He had organized festivals in the UK, and when he moved to Southern California, he started looking around for the right place to establish a stateside rockabilly shindig.

As he explained in 2015, “I looked at a lot of cities and decided Vegas was by far the best location… the freedom of restrictions in Vegas makes the difference, such as 24-hour bars.” The festival shares its name with the 1964 film starring Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret, both of whom would fit right in, either on stage or in the crowd.

Viva Las Vegas car show, 2012

The festival began with about 1,200 attendees but grew to over 20,000. What used to be a few dozen bands in two showrooms is now over 100 performers—not counting overflow gigs all over the city. A car show that filled part of one deck of a small parking garage now extends over several acres. Viva Las Vegas still has plenty of music, but now there are also pool parties, dance contests, burlesque showcases, bowling tournaments, guitar clinics, vendor ballrooms and more.

Vegas resident Lucky La Rue, a DJ who frequently played the festival, said, “It started out at the Gold Coast… with maybe 100 cars. Now it’s at the Orleans, and there are tens of thousands of people from seven continents, and the car show is one of the biggest in the country—for a subculture, the numbers they get every year are pretty impressive.”

Kim Lenz plays Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender, 2014

Over the years, Viva Las Vegas has hosted a number of rock n’ roll legends, from founding fathers such as Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry to throwback divas like Ruth Brown and Wanda Jackson. Performance spaces are spread throughout the Orleans casino—lounges, bars, ballrooms, pool decks and parking lots all host stages for a variety of acts. Music isn’t limited to pure rockabilly, with country swing, R&B, jump blues, and garage rock also represented. Performances range from solo guitar-slingers to stage-filling combos with multiple musicians, singers, and dancers.

Viva Las Vegas car show at the Orleans, 2012

The 2018 weekender takes place April 19–22 and features dozens of acts. Classic rockabilly crooner Robert Gordon and a lineup of Sun Records veterans are among those representing the old school, while newer acts include Shanda & the Howlers, Deke Dickerson, and Big Sandy & his Fly-Rite Boys. The Saturday car show concert is headlined by the reunited Stray Cats and piano O.G. Jerry Lee Lewis.

Even if you don’t want to get a wristband for the weekend, individual tickets are available for the car show and outdoor concert. You can also just check out the scene; some of the lounges as well as the vendor ballrooms are accessible, should you wish to shop for a vintage leopard coat, an imported tin of hair pomade, Buddy Holly vinyl album or parasol adorned with Frankenstein’s face. It helps to take home a little bit of style to remember Viva by.

Satin Dollz burlesque troupe at Viva Las Vegas Weekender, 2014
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.