Retro & Vintage in Buffalo NY
Retro & Vintage in Buffalo NY
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The New England Shake-Up!

Posted Andrew Davis Lifestyle Local

Back in September we had the pleasure to attend the 2nd annual New England Shake-Up! in Sturbridge, MA, which is a music festival celebrating great music and style of the 50's. This is a quick roundup of our adventure, and most certainly does not capture how much fun we had!

The location, attractions, and food!

The event was located at The Sturbridge Host, a hotel and conference center located in Sturbridge MA, about a 6 hour drive from Cats Like Us in Buffalo, NY.

New England Shake-Up at the Sturbridge Host


The entire event is located in or around the conference center, which was very convenient since we statyed at the hotel. It is centrally located in town and surrounded by many antique shops and restaurants, so along with the show events there was plenty to do! We started off with dinner at the Hu Ke Lau, a Tiki restaurant a short drive from Sturbridge.

Some tiki goodness at the Hu Ke Lau restaurant in Chicopee, MA. (We are a little tiki crazy, haven't you noticed?)


While almost every meal we had was excellent, we would definitely be back to the unassuming BBQ joint down the street BT's Smokehouse! So good!

BTs smoke house bbq in sturbridge, MA
B.T.'s Smokehouse, within walking distance from the Shake-Up!


The Shake-Up!

We had a feeling this would be a great party long before we even arrived (and it was.) Beck Rustic, the organizer of the event and huge supporter of rockabilly music, is super organized and it shows. The event was well attended, but was never so crowded that you couldn't get a great view of the band or into an event. The lineup of events and bands were top notch, and very smartly, the bands and event schedule did not overlap, so you were able to see all the bands, events, and shop too!

The hotel itself features miniture golf, a pool, there was an indoor vendor area filled with great vintage (and retro) shopping, and a car show Saturday afternoon. It was a perfect day for the car show, which was in the main lot outside the hotel. It was not huge, but had a nice variety of cars, bands playing, and many outside vendors selling everything from car parts, to vintage clothing, to tikis!

The New England Shake-up car show in the main lot at The Sturbridge Host.
The New England Shake-up car show in the main lot at The Sturbridge Host.


I am kicking myself a bit for not taking more photos of the bands, but we enjoyed every one we saw, including Mark Gamjager & The Lustre Kings, The Outta Sites, Amber Foxx, Roy Rapid & The Rhythm Rock Trio, Johnny Carlevale & The Rollin' Pins, The Bellfuries, The Millwinders, Big Sandy & his fly-rite boys (who seem to come thru Buffalo a lot but we never had the pleasure until now!) and more. I got to discover a few I had not heard before, and my favorite band of the entire show was The Outta Sites.

Billed as America's "Number One Beat Band", playing tunes from the 60s with mod flair, I really enjoyed them. I bought all their albums on the spot, and got them signed too!


When we play, we're still working

It's fun to go to shows like these to meet the people we work with on a daily basis but never get to see in person. We met up with several of our vendors, including Dressed to Kill Clothing and Mode Merr (nice T shirt Angela!)

Angela of Mode Merr, and Julie Ann and Andrew of Cats Like Us
Angela of Mode Merr, and Julie Ann and Andrew of Cats Like Us.


We met Dollie, The Rockabilly Socialite, who is very sweet, and coincidentally married to the bassist in The Outta Sites!

Julie Ann and Dollie, The Rockabilly Socialite
Julie Ann and Dollie, The Rockabilly Socialite


We also met Bomber Betty Cosmetics and Cherry Dollface, who was so lovely very down to earth.

Cherry Dollface and Julie Ann
Cherry Dollface and Julie Ann.


The Final Day - Pool Party!

After partying Saturday night, the final morning was a relaxing tiki themed pool party.

Inside the Sturbridge host is an enclosed area with pool.
Inside the Sturbridge host is an enclosed area with pool.


Andrew and Julie Ann dressed in their tiki best!
Andrew and Julie Ann dressed in their tiki best!


See you next year!

We had a great time at the event, hung out with good friends, and discovered some new music. It was nice that there was a wide variety of folks in attendance, not only your straight ahead rockabillies but punks, mods and everyone in between. Thanks Beck for assembling such a great group. We've already booked our rooms for next year!!

Some of the treasures of the trip - Shake-Up! swag, signed Outta Sites CDs, tiki (puchased at the vendor toom) and chocolate bars from historic Hebert Candies (did we mention there's a chocolate factory down the street from Sturbridge?)


See you there cats!


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