When Rockabilly Meets Car Culture

Editor’s Note: Eddie Wieber, a longtime staffer of THE SHOP and its sister publications, penned this article (with photos included below) while encountering an interesting car event while travelling the country:

The Park Circle neighborhood of North Charleston, South Carolina was the site of the 5th annual Southern Roots Smokehouse Rockabillaque Festival on Saturday, Nov. 4.

As the name might suggest, this is a Down-South celebration of good music, good food, and good fun. It’s also a celebration of classic cars and trucks and vintage motorcycles in the Low Country-and plenty of those were on hand to punctuate the festivities.

Simon Cantlon of Vive Le Rock Productions is the front man, who enlisted more than 20 sponsors for the event. Cantlon, a local resident and business owner and the force behind the festival for the past five years, said the reason for doing this event in this area is because he loves the neighborhood and “it’s just good to see all these cool cars parked up and down the streets here.”

While downtown Charleston gets all the tourist attention, with the historical homes, market and shops, this neighborhood is where local people of all ethnicities and interests live and work.

Besides music, cars, bikes and food, a pinup contest, the beard and mustache competition, tattoo contest, kids tattoo contest, Pin-up contest, Mr. Man Challenges kept it all flowing like brews from the corner bar.

But the show-stopping attractions were the 200-plus vintage cars and trucks, lining over four blocks of the neighborhood. Eye candy for sure, but a demonstration of what happens when imagination and skill meet art and craftsmanship-and a little help from some friends.

Awards were presented to the best in five categories of bikes and cars and trucks. The unusual, vintage car- and bike-themed trophies were fabricated from old car parts, wrenches and other junkyard items by Serious Wabbits, a shop that specializes in the unusual, according to owner Stephan Emge.

It was all good fun, and the proceeds went to benefit Valiant Animal Rescue and the Movember Foundation for men’s prostate cancer research.

For more information about this, as well as next year’s event, visit rockabillaque.com.

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