Here Guille from Rockin' Race gives an exclusive interview to Rockabilly Bash.
Rockabilly Bash. When and where did the first Rockin’ Race Jamboree happen?
G-RR. The first festival took place in a small Irish pub called Pink Elephant, located in Torremolinos, in 1997. At the first festival there were only 3 bands - The Tennessee Boys and The Texabilly Rockers from Portugal, and Little Boy Arnold from Spain. It was a great festival and we had a very good response from the public.
RB. Why was it named Rockin’ Race?
G-RR. The idea of the name occurred itself because we wanted the word Rockin' for the music and Race for the link to motor racers (Hot Rods, Cafe Racers. ...), so we've got a cocktail under the name Rockin' Race and the party – Rockin’ Race Jamboree!!!
RB. Have anything changed since then?
G-RR. The begining is always very hard. At the first Jamboree attended around 300 - 400 people and there was a moment when the pub Pink Elephant got closed and we had to look for an alternative option, so we spoke with the City Hall of Torremolinos and they offered us the bigger place.
RB. Has it been in the middle of the winter each time?
G-RR. We have a big advantage - the good weather. Normally the winters in the Costa del Sol are really good, and for those who make reservations, the plane tickets but also the hotels are not so expensive as they are at the peak season, in summer, so we think it was good idea for the foreign public. Besides Torremolinos is very close to the airport (around 5 km) and to say more, the airport of Malaga has connections with the most of international airports of the entire World. So it all makes Torremolinos an ideal place to do a rockabilly festival just in winter.
RB. Can you specify any differences between Rockin Race Jamboree and all others festivals?
G-RR. We think that the Rockin' Race is a festival that step by step has got the same respect as the other international festivals. Now we have calls from the people who want to come to our festival from all over the World. I think the big plus is that it is in the winter and we have very good bands, besides it is festival with cheap entrance and good, but cheap, hotels. And the winter is cold in many countries, so I think it could be good time to come to the Rockin’ Race Jamboree.
RB. Is there anything you would like to change in the future about Rockin’ Race? Didn’t you think to add a couple more days to the festival?
G-RR. Exactly, we had the same idea to have festival for 4 days. And now we have Thursday a pre festival and Sunday a festival of farewell, but not in the Palacio de Congresos, which is the place where are going on the strong days of the festival, but in the Pub of the Apartments Buensol, which is the place of staying for the most people who are coming to the festival.
RB. How do you choose the bands?
G-RR. We are always looking for top-level bands at the internaional rockin' scene, because we want to offer quality and diversity. For the next festival we are longing to see Riverside Trio, who will be playing in Spain for the first time and we know that there are many people who want to see them too.
RB. Should you see all of them playing live before you will make your decision? And would you take any risk to invite the band you have only heard on recordings?
G-RR. Nowdays with the new technology of internet, the risk is less to make a mistake for choosing a bad band, but I remember years ago we had several deceptions with the bands we have heard on their recordings only. Now we are trying to see them live before and besides we know in advance the details of the band and thus we can assure a good show on stage.
RB. How difficult is it for you to find and invite the bands for the show?
G-RR. Normally we do not have any problems, many bands want to come to play at our festival. There are even bands who have played already 3 times at the Rockin' Race Jamboree and they are always very thankful. But we have had some problems with some artists, mostly because they were believed to be mega stars of Rock & Roll and later in the setting they were not.
RB. Do you have any favourites you would like to see performing at every Rockin’ Race Jamboree?
G-RR. Always there are bands which you would like to see at the Rockin' Race Jamboree and which have not performed yet there. There are so many bands!!!
I would like a lot to have be able to invite Ronnie Dawson, but, unfortunately, now it is too late.
RB. What band or singer has made the biggest impression on you?
G-RR. All the bands we have contact with are used to do their best. But as for me, I think Paul Ansell made the greatest night in 2006!
RB. There are so many styles present at your festival. And if to talk about you, do you have any preferences in rock’n’roll music?
G-RR. In general I prefer Rockabilly of 50's, but there are so many styles in Rock & Roll that other people like, so that is why we do the festival of various styles.
RB. I was last year at the 13th Rockin’ Race Jamboree and enjoyed it a lot! But I think one thing was missing. To the end of the night most of the girls were sitting on stairs, because there were not enough chairs. But maybe, it is meant to be so to keep people on the dance floor or not?
G-RR. We had a lot of reason, one of them was because of the Rockin' Race Jamboree took place in El Palacio de Congresos for the first time. Now we have taken note of all the errors to solve them in the next one, we will have many chairs and other things to please everyone.
No, it was not the ideal to maintain the full dance floor, but now I think it is good idea, hahaha!!
RB. Which Rockin’ Race Festival was the best in your opinion and why?
G-RR. For me the best festival was the last one, the new location is wonderful, the place itself is large and clean; the change to the Palacio de Congresos has been an advancement for everyone.
RB. How long do you have Tattooed Lady Holiday for pre-party? Is it cooperation of friends or just businessmen?
G-RR. It was organised just to have more parties and to do a great week of rock and roll before the Rockin' Race Jamboree, but the for next festival that activity will be carried out to another dates and we are doing the pre festival by ourselves. Perhaps in a future we will have the activities for a whole week, but this is not for sure yet.
RB. What countries does your public come from? Are Spanish people always in the majority?
G-RR. During the recent years, the attendance of non-Spanish public has been growing: many people have been coming from England, Germany and France. Also we already have got reservations for the next year from countries as Sweden, Norway, Italy...
RB. Is there anything special in Torremolinos that people who are coming here must see during the daytime? Can you advise any good restaurants? Is there any records or vintage clothes shops?
G-RR. Torremolinos is an ideal place to spend a few days in: its climate, its food (Paella, fried fish, sangria. ...) has a long history and besides it is also convenient as the airport is so close. We would recommend you to walk in the area of the Carihuela and you can find also many good restaurants there.
Nowdays there are not any rockin' stores in Torremolinos, but there is one in Malaga, which is my store called Sleazy Records (www.sleazyrecords.com), where you are welcome to make a visit. It is around 10 km from Torremolinos. We will have also stand at the festival, so you will be able to make your purchases there as well.
For more information about Torremolinos, you can visit the following links:
RB. Do you have already final lineup for the next festival?
G-RR. Yes. We have the Original Bill Haley’s Comets and Barrence Whitfield from USA, the Seatsniffers (from Belgium), 49 Special (from Portugal), Somkestack Lightnin’ and The Montesas from Germany, the Space Cadets and the Riverside Trio from United Kingdom, the Wild Goners and the Orientals from France, and three bands from Spain - the Beerbellys, Hip Shakin’ Trio and the Four Dots. Moreover we have DJ Cosmic Keith, Alex and Mousie’s Record Hop
RB. Where can rock’n’roll fans get information from?
G-RR. At www.myspace.com/rockinracejamboree or www.rockinrace.com. Or you can get information by sending an e-mail to email@example.com
RB. Thank you for you time and your great festival!! Good luck and hope to see you next year!
G-RR. Many thanks to you for this interview! It is a pleasure to have you at our festival, you will be very welcome!