More than 20,000 retro music fans descend on Torremolinos for Rockin' Race Jamboree

Organisers claim that the four-day festival, the most important rock and roll event in Europe, attracted a record number of fans to the town and generated more than 4million euros of income for the local area

Tony Bryant / Marina Rivas


Monday, 6 February 2023, 11:50

More than 20,000 retro music fans gathered in Torremolinos over the weekend for the coveted Rockin’ Race Jamboree, a four-day American roots music festival that was held at different locations throughout the town from Thursday 2 until Sunday 5 February.

The fans, from all over Spain and Europe, wore striking hairstyles, a multitude of colourful vintage outfits and elaborate retro makeup and accessories, and, although, there was a rebellious air to the proceedings, the attendees were praised for their impeccable behaviour.

This year’s event, which has been running for 29 years, presented its most extensive line-up yet, with more than 40 bands from Europe, the UK, USA and Latin America. Organisers claim that the festival, the most important rock and roll event in Europe, attracted a record influx of fans and a forecast of four million euros of economic impact on the town.

“There is no festival in the world of this kind, and so it has become the most important for attendance figures and the number of quality bands, such as The Delta Bombers and The Planet Rockers,” organiser, Guillermo Jiménez, said.

The main concerts, which included rockabilly, blues, surf, rock and roll and boogie-woogie, were staged at the Principe de Asturias auditorium, the Hotel Barracuda and Plaza del Remo, as well as in several bars in the town. For the first time, the festival also included a huge retro dance floor located outside the municipal auditorium, which was imported from Holland especially for the event.

“It's like a summer holiday for us, it's wonderful,” Swiss music fan Annika Frischknecht, who has attended several editions of the event with her boyfriend, said.

The gathering was nominated ‘best music festival’ by the Ameripolitan Music Awards in Memphis, and attendees at this year’s event all seemed to agree with this proposal. “We come every year, it's wonderful. We usually go to all the festivals we can in Europe and we love this one for the time of year and the atmosphere,” Sharon Wilkins, who had travelled from the United Kingdom with her husband and two friends, explained.

Sandra Hayes, also from the UK, reiterated this feeling, saying, “it’s absolutely brilliant. It is so wonderful to see so many people enjoying the excellent music”.

The retro clad fans took full advantage of the good weather, transporting the town centre and the promenade back to the 1950s; while the continual parade of classic American cars and vintage motorcycles added an extra special ambience to the occasion.

Ardent rockabilly fans Bebi Acosta, Francisco Hernández and Ágata Acosta, who had travelled from the Canary Islands to enjoy the festival for the first time, said, “It's a lifestyle. We always dress and comb our hair like this. People are no longer amazed; they are used to it.”

The festival came to a close on Sunday afternoon in the Plaza del Remo, where hundreds of people enjoyed the sunshine, the food trucks, specialised DJs and performances by The Hightone Rhythm Ramblers and the Mad Martin Trio.

Mike and Susan Hollis, who had travelled from London, said that the afternoon was the “perfect end to a fantastic few days in Torremolinos”.




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