Oldtimer happenings, they exist in all shapes and sizes. Static shows, tours, concours’ and of course a multitude of combinations. Lovers of Americana like to go back to ‘the roaring fifties’ with thematic festivals. Because we at CineCars aren’t afraid of screaming V8 engines and ladies in petticoats, we sent our editor in chief to the Rockabilly Day 2016. Not in the least because he lives just around the corner of Flanders’ biggest event in the genre.
Reluctlantly I park my greasy banger in a remote field. Not American, not a VW, it just means you’re not really part of the world dominated by hillbillies and tattooed ladies. I’m allowed to watch though, and that’s why I’m here for in the end. This isn’t your everyday classic meeting, this is a festival of American culture, of fifties style and appreciation. Mobile barber shops, polkadots and just a whole lot of tattoos. The spread on offer is broad, be it a little one-sided. Wild bearded dudes in overalls accompanied by ladies that all want to look like Lana del Rey, it is Grease in overdrive. It’s every subculture of fifties USA stacked on top of each other.
It gives the Rockabilly Day a very special atmosphere. Whilst the blistering sun erases the tracks of last nights thunderstorm, the festival area slowly comes alive. An endles row of silky smooth running Chevvies, Chryslers, Dodges and many more enter the festival ground. One laid back and low, the next one loud and kickin’. Rusty pick ups, completely bonkers rats, they’re all here. You wander from one Discovery show into another. Beautifully restored cars, skillfully pimped rides and moonshiners galore. Just like Hells Angels on fat Harley Davidsons by the way, to emphasize on just anoth subculture. And VW’s of course. Beetles, busses, the whole air cooled scene is here. Californian beach style embodied by the little car that was meant to get the Europeans on wheels.
Sixty years ago a gathering of all these groups would have caused a small civil war, today we enjoy the gathered beauty together. The cars, the ladies, the beards and the tattoos, I don’t know where to look first. Thumbs firmly behind my suspenders I wander the grounds for several hours. Enjoying the passion that drives these enthousiasts in the way they act out their hobby, the many details that make every vehicle special. Each in its own way, within a niche that appears to have developed its own conventions. In the end the message is always the same, to see and be seen. And that’s a motto we at CineCars don’t mind at all.
Text and pictures: Marc GF Zaan