With much anticipation leading up to the Viva Rockabilly Weekend 20th Anniversary, I can say that the overall experience was very different that any previous we had attended. The best way to describe it was the vibe felt very chill, everyone was extremely laid back. That said, there was a lot of controversy with long line ups to see the musical acts, main events and constant over crowding issues. This among other unexpected situations caused massive frustration and lead to many unhappy attendees. Of course we did not let any of those unfortunate things ruin our Viva experience, we chose to go with the flow and partake in some new Viva events that we had missed out on previously. Here’s a daily recap our time at VLV20 and I must apologize well in advance for taking so few photos this year…
The first day is always rather quiet with attendees still arriving from all over the globe. Most International visitors tend to arrive earlier in the week to acclimate to the time change and to explore Vegas since they are coming from so far away. We took this opportunity to visit the well known Charleston Antique Mall, something we really enjoyed in years past. My favorite stall that always had a beautiful array of vintage clothing was no longer there but it was replaced with the most exquisite collection of lucite handbags that I have ever seen in person. Unfortunately I only window shopped as they all came without a hefty price tag averaging $150-300USD. Luckily I did not leave empty handed, I picked up these lovely red embroidered gloves with matching handkerchief for $15. Before returning to the hotel, we stopped at the grocery store to load up on water along with snacks and breakfast foods to save on dining out all three meals each day.
Once back at the Orleans, we ventured around the hotel and braced ourselves for the mad rush when the vendor rooms opened at 5pm. As you can expect, it was utter chaos and impossible to move in the massive crowds. I quickly made my way to my favorite vintage vendor as I always find a few great pieces there and luckily scored this beautiful vintage scenic Cypress skirt. Before calling it quits, I made my way to the Atomic Swag booth to meet the wonderful owner Michelle for the first time. There I picked up three tshirts for me and one for the hubby. That was enough for us, we would go back later in the evening when the crowds died down.
That evening our friends from Minnesota organized a dinner at the Golden Steer Restaurant, a true Las Vegas landmark since 1958. The location appears to be nothing special from the outside but the interior decor was like walking back in time. Our group was dressed to impress, a lovely collection of fabulous vintage evening wear. Sadly we didn’t get any photos of all of us, so you’ll have to take my word for it. Dinner was delicious and none of us left hungry.
The hubby woke up early (6:30am) and immediately headed down to go wait in line for burlesque tickets. This gave me the opportunity to get ready and meet him in line. The line was insane, snaking around and around estimated at over 2500 people. Luckily for us, we were towards the front and scored tickets to the 9pm show featuring Dita Von Teese. The hubby made his way to the pool while I quickly went up to the bowling alley when it opened at noon. I was on a mission to visit the vendor Vintage Blue Moon as she previewed some incredible pieces on Instagram. Instantly I spotted the most gorgeous Alfred Shaheen dress on the mannequin and fell in love. With a little persistence, we were able to compromise on the price since I knew it was going to blow my spending budget out of the window but this dress was SO worth it! Quickly I made my way to the Viva Fashion Show, one of the events I always missed in previous years. Knowing a few of the independent designers (Ains & Elke Stylehaus, Prettie Lanes & Rebel Love Clothing) who were taking part, I committed to be there to show my support. These ladies all did such a phenomenal job, the models and designs wowed the crowd. The show stopper was hands down Prettie Lanes…we were instantly teleported back to the 1950’s where the women did not leave the house without looking flawless from head to toe. Here’s a teaser video so you can see for yourselves: https://www.instagram.com/p/BTZpxE-BAfN/
After the fashion show, I quickly changed into a comfortable vintage playsuit to join the hubby and our friends for an afternoon lounging in our pool cabana. We were joined by some amazing company: Miss Mae Laroux, Jessica well known as NoAccountingforTaste on IG(follow her, you can thank me later), Siobhan and her lovely friends from the UK. The weather was perfect, sunny, warm and not super windy like the day before. Jessica was our unofficial photographer to capture our poolside attire.
The hubby and I enjoyed a quiet dinner at the Ondori Asian Kitchen before attending the Viva Burlesque Showcase at 9pm. To our surprise, the show began much later than scheduled but we found ourselves in very good company sitting in front of Karianne (Miss_Sneakytiki) who I have known for a couple years now through Instagram. Of course Dita Von Teese was all glitz and grace performing her infamous martini glass and revamped Cowgirl acts. It was a wonderful show featuring several talented burlesque performers and the hilarious Murray Hill. As we exited the theater, there was a insane amount of people crowded outside in the casino area…something was not right. We bumped into friends who informed us that there was an issue upstairs and the police we on scene and everyone was being redirected downstairs. Rumors later came out that it was due to overcrowding issues and some individuals getting out of hand.
Car Show Day! This is by far my favorite event at Viva and the one occasion I allow myself to splurge on being pampered by talented stylists. I don’t know how I got so lucky but my glam squad consisted of two of the very best in the industry: makeup by Erika Reno and hair by Madame Pomp. These two ladies are not only super talented, they are total sweethearts! They sure made me feel beautiful, I received so many kind compliments from strangers and some even asked to take my photo. The car show was loads of fun, seeing a lot of familiar faces and meeting a few new ones as well. I made sure to go say hello to my favorite shop owners: The Oblong Box Shop, Prettie Lanes, Ains & Elke Style Haus, Rebel Love, etc. We made our way through the vendors and cast our votes for Miss Lily White in the Pinup Contest before taking a break indoors for a late lunch. A quick outfit change into something a little cooler, we made our way back out to peruse the gorgeous classic cars. Overall, I felt this year’s vendors were a lot of the same selling tshirts and nick nacky stuff yet several of the vendors I always love to visit weren’t there sadly. Although I did visit a couple new ones that are worth mentioning: Miss Nouvelle & Star Struck Clothing.
Saturday evening is the big night where everyone goes all out and dresses to the nines…it is always such an incredible night for people/fashion watching! My gown almost did not make it’s debut when the seams along the zipper started to pop just as we were about to leave our room to go to dinner. Fortunately I came prepared with a sewing kit and quickly got to work repairing the zipper so that the dress could make it through the next few hours. Alas, I was ready to go for a nice dinner for two at Alder & Birch. In years past we always attended the Burlesque competition on Saturday night but we decided to switch things up a little. We rounded up a few of our friend for a little Burlesque Bingo. Oddly enough, my hubby was more into playing bingo than watching ladies take their clothes off but it was a interesting night to say the least.
After the hustle and bustle of all the activities at Viva, Sunday is when everyone kicks back and relaxes at the Pool Party. We are early risers so the hubby went down right away to get in line so that we could secure a great spot for the day. Thankfully we got in early and found lounge chairs around the smaller pool as the whole area quickly filled up. I was flabbergasted to hear that the hotel was charging people for chairs, so not cool! As soon as I spotted the lovely Lily White, I went to say hello as I’ve admired her for some time through Instagram. She is truly beautiful inside and out…what a doll. The rest of the day was spent chatting with friends and watching the swimsuit competitions. Boy of boy…was it a scorcher! I threw in the towel late afternoon and went back up to the vendor rooms one last time but left empty handed.
With the weekend now winding down, we opted for a casual dinner at TGI Fridays followed by a couple casual games of bowling. There we met up with the ever so delightful Eleanor Paige who kicked both our butts even wearing a huge puffy petticoat. lol. It was the best way to finish off the weekend, low key and in good company.
As I mentioned previously, Viva 20 would be our last year attending simply because we feel that we’ve experienced what Viva has to offer with this being our fourth time. There are so many other destinations we’d like to travel to next but never say never…we may go back in a few years. Until then, I encourage you all to visit Viva Rockabilly Weekend at least once to check it off your bucket list.