Southern California Bikefest

Story & Photos by Pete Alva

I first have to say that, I really enjoyed this particular event.

The Southern California Bikefest rocked! It reminded me of an article I wrote two years back expressing how lucky I felt we were to have grown up when we did and were the baby boomer children of the 60’s and 70’s. Well, this one event said it all and I am proud to be 48, even more so now.

Ok, I know you have heard that baby boomer label pinned on a few more generations here and there, but trust me, we are no Generation X’ers or Slackers. This event, as with the many other bike events that are “majoritized,” as in attended by us, proved it with the show of motorcycle engineering coupled with just plain old fun.

I mean, did you see any fights? (You know, like the ones portrayed in the tall tales and the uh…recent movie about bikers?). Did you see any slam dancing in front of the stage? Did you hear anyone complaining? Mark ‘D’ for ‘None of the Above’.

What you did get though is just plain old big fun, AND a big reminder that riding a motorcycle has peaked with exciting engineering that has spread throughout much of Southern California and the world, as the presence of the booths at this event from the So Cal Harley-Davidson dealerships that sponsored this great event. Our generation has now forever popularized the dominance of the Harley-Davidson enigma, which flourished even more after-market engineering that outdoes itself every month with new creations and inventions at the events we love to go to.

..but hey why make it boring? We got some killer tunes here at The Southern California Bikefest! In my theory of how all this engineering all came about is the good time music we grew up with. Rarely will you ever go into a motorcycle shop without some good tunes blaring from the 60’s and 70’s, and today was a live treat to remind us of our roots.

I’m talking about the pure, soulful, and heartfelt blues of Becky Barksdale, a Texan gal who started off the Bikefest with her warm bluesy voice and guitar licks. I hope to see her at future shows. We need more gals like her waking us up in the morning.

Next up was the killer Doors tribute, a.k.a. the celebration of The Doors called Wild Child, a band that has become a staple at many events for one reason, they kick ass with The Doors tunes!…and relive our memories of The Doors for us, not with precision or emphasis on copying a group, but for reliving the soul of the group, for OUR benefit. And knowing that we grew up with some great music groups, that if not could be here, were here in spirit and sound by Wild Child. I mean face it, some music groups that we grew up with just cannot be here due to some unfortunates, and I just want to thank Wild Child for the many years that they were there for us and are still here today for us.

As in the last few years, Tom ‘Disco’ Loveland was the stage master of ceremonies here and of course did a superb job with his wit and humor. Hey …what happened to him at the Love Ride? …we need him back there too! If someone told me back in 1977 that Cheap Trick would still be around in 2007 rocking like they did back when I was in high school, then I wouldn’t have believed it, but today was the proof. Now I know they have been on the biker event circuit a few years and somehow due to my scheduling I missed them, but at this event it was the perfect place to see Cheap Trick in this outdoor amphitheater setting at Frank G. Bonelli Park in San Dimas.

They were warmly welcomed by the crowd of 4000, which in spite of what I have been writing about here, actually sported a much younger crowd in their twenties with hardcore Cheap Trick fans in the front rows. Hey it’s just not us old guys who have great taste! What a great show too! Guitarist Rick Neilsen hammered away on the guitar as if he were twenty himself. He seemed to be the grayest of the group, but it didn’t fit in with his childlike demeanor which was his pure stage fun. Vocalist Robin Zander was stoic and solid with his patent voice belting out the great ones like Surrender, Big Eyes, The Flame, Dream Police, and the theme song from That 70’s Show titled ‘We’re All Alright!’, which even unbeknownst to my music trivia brain I was unaware they did. I really hope that they come back here next year. They are a good reason to get your fat ass off the couch and go see a good group at a bike event with having to pay the normal hundred bucks to see a concert nowadays at other venues. The price to get in here was $40.00, and I heard some sniveling over that from people (who did not go) who just don’t keep up with the times in pricing. Hey gas is $3.50 Mr. Complainer so go cash in your beer cans and come here to have a good time!

If not just for that but for the real theme for coming here which was to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation for research in the treatment and prevention of breast cancer, which is a current national subject on the cover of Time Magazine, noting that the disease is on the rise epidemically worldwide, but the United States is the frontrunner for more cases per capita. Yeah, it’s that bad and getting worse. Without talking numbers though we are talking about ones we love who are affected by this. So get out there and help!

Celebrities who got out there and went to help were Robert Patrick of Terminator II and The Unit fame, and Boozefighter M.C. member. Robert’s a great guy who spoke for a bit onstage after pal Lorenzo Lamas sang the National Anthem with his adoring 3 daughters on hand. Cynthia Fox from KLOS was also there to introduce everyone with her sweet radio voice. Grizzly Adams’ star Dan Haggerty was also there filming his cable show “The Great American Motorcycle Show”. Musicians Gilby Clarke and Carmine Appice were backstage too, eating the killer sweet potatoes served by the Original Roadhouse Grill that I was tempted to stuff a few extra in my pocket for the ride home but the butter would have leaked in my pants.

What I am saying though that this event had exceptionally great food and I really want to mention that the event promoters Roland and Associates did a superb job, especially noting that every year that besides above average great music here, they have a wide selection of eatins’ at their Food Faire here, which I feel that most events should also do (bigtime). Hey great food, beer, and great groups playing music.

They got my vote for next year here!

We’re all alright!

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