Amid some controversy, this year’s 80s in the Park – Rockin’ Hotel turned out to be a-rockin’ good time for fans.
For some of the fans who have attended 80s in the Park in the past, there was a little disappointment over line-up changes with the bands among a few other things. This was to be expected as the festival, which is in its 5th year, had to be rescheduled. The original date was in September 2017 with reschedule date of February 2018. This was due to a hurricane that damaged the hotel where the event was to take place. The location was an amazing all-inclusive resort right on the beach in Cocoa Beach, FL, the International Palms Resort & Conference Center.
In the days following the event, we have seen a few highly publicized negative postings regarding some of the goings-on. On the other hand, we have also seen many more very positive reviews and this one will be no exception.
Putting aside the rampant “rumor-mill” postings to the contrary, this year’s festival turned out to be a successful event. Only 1, single, artist did not perform, and every effort was made to rectify the situation, but to no avail. However, the fans seemed to enjoy the remaining line-up of artists to play the four-day festival.
80s in the Park kicked off on Thursday with a VIP pre-party show at the hotel where band Adawak and local Orlando area favorite Rollin’ Heavy took the stage. This band really knows how to get a party started. They have a very diverse set list which also includes some Iron Maiden. This is a group of stellar musicians all.
Friday morning fans boarded the Victory Cruise casino boat, which was free to all ticket holders, for a-rockin’ party on the ocean with the band ROXX. The boat came into port about 4pm giving fans ample time to get freshened up for the bands to hit the main stage at 5pm.
This year they invited a guest M.C. It was none other than Don Jamieson of the famed TV show, That Metal Show, for Friday and Saturday’s bands. Sunday’s M.C.s were the married pair of Rockstar Entertainment, Charles and Lissa Knight. The couple also hosted the VIP after parties each evening and have been a part of this festival since the first one 5 years ago.
The line-up for Friday was Junkyard, Winger, then 80s in the Park fan favorites, L.A. Guns. Junkyard got the fans warmed up as they streamed into the fest. Next up, as the sun was setting, was Winger. This band always has the crowds singing right along to their biggest hits such as “She’s Only 17” and “Madeline”. Rounding out the night, and fresh from the Monsters of Rock cruise was L.A. Guns. In case you’ve been under a non-musical rock of some sort and haven’t heard, this is the reformed version. The band now includes originals,Phil Lewis on vocals and Tracii Guns on guitar, and the band is stronger than ever.
There was also a “Rock Con” included for the ticket holders which was held in a front area of the hotel. Some fans, however, found it hard to locate. It was also a bit smaller than it had been in the past, more than likely due to the rescheduling. It included a vendor with vintage vinyl & CDs, one stand with rock art, and Jack Starr was also in attendance with musical memorabilia and he also played a few impromptu songs.
Another fan favorite, Stevie Rachelle of the band Tuff, was back this year, although he was not performing. He brought merchandise from the famous Cat House, Tuff, and well as Metal Sludge, where we get all of the rock n roll ‘dirt’. A new addition to the Con was Metal Babe Mayhem. Owner, Alison Mason, had a huge display of rock-related clothing and jewelry straight from the rock star-studded streets of L.A.
Saturday brought another impressive lineup to the stage consisting of Tango Down, Gene Loves Jezebel, Every Mothers Nightmare, Nova Rex, and, headliners, Lynch Mob.
Tango Down was first with Chaz West’s impressive vocals warming the crowd up. Next was another 80’s in the park favorite, Michael Aston, singing with his band Gene Loves Jezebel. He’s so colorful both in dress and personality and so passionate on stage.
Every Mother’s Nightmare got the crowd ready for some heavier rock n roll as another fest favorite and frequent “flyers”, Nova Rex took to the stage. Always high energy and so much fun for the crowd. Although their set was cut a bit short, they made the most of it and left no one disappointed.
Last but not least, our headliner tonight, Lynch Mob, was up. The band recently lost their singer, Oni Logan, left the band earlier this year. Robert Mason joined them for this appearance and fans ate it up! This was basically an all-star lineup within Lynch Mob as, of course, there was guitar virtuoso, George Lynch, Scott Coogin on drums, & Sean McNabb on bass. Adding more excitement to the set were many songs from George’s time in Dokken.
Saturday evening’s VIP after party was started off by the band, New Machine. This is a band that we’ve have not seen at the fest before. They have a great sound and tons of energy. Ending the night was ROXX playing one more time for fans. This is another musically tight band with great vocals. Speaking of vocals, Robert Mason was also on hand during the party for autographs and photos with fans.
Jetboy also played this after party and was probably the most exciting band to play. They were originally scheduled for the main stage but due to some rescheduling, they played the after party.
This brings us to the final day of 80s in the Park. Sunday found the first band on stage around 12:30 pm, Silvertung, as bleary-eyed concert goers wobbled into the event grounds. This band promptly woke them up with some serious driving rock n roll. They clearly had many more fans when they finished than when they started. If you didn’t know who they were before, you certainly did when they were done.
Next up was another ‘frequent flyer’ of 80s in the Park, Lillian Axe. This band, that started out in 1983, is still kicking it today with their latest release, From Womb to Tomb. Next to grace the stage, with more than 30 years of touring under their belt, was the ever popular Enuff Z’Nuff. Fronted by bass player, Chip Z’Nuff since their inception, this fun and musically tight band kept the afternoon momentum going as the fans were filling up even more seats.
Around 7pm we saw a local original punk-metal band, Dead Serios. They have a heavy sound with tongue-in-cheek songs. At one point singer D.L. Serios was swinging a kid’s plastic lawn mower around during a song. All of this leads up to the last band of the fest, the powerful, House of Lords, to close everything out in a big way.
The final VIP after party turned into an amazing all-star jam. Players included Chip Z’Nuff, Steve Blaze of Lillian Axe, Tony Ferrell of Enuff Z’Nuff, and Chaz West of Tango Down, Kenny McGee, and more. This was the perfect ending to a music-filled fun weekend for the fans. House of Lord was on hand signing autographs and taking photos with fans.
Well, 80s in the Park – Rockin’ Hotel is over for one more year…or IS it??? Meaning, yes, this awesome rescheduled one is done, but, what about the next one? The one that would normally take place in Sept 2018, we ask?? Sshhhh, I’m not telling….OK I will, it HAS been announced already with lineup information to come. Keep an eye on the website as well as the Facebook pages for 80’s in the Park and we will see you next time!
Event Date: 15-18-FEB-2018