RockFest 80s Rules at Markham Park

Metal, Music & More Over 2 Days

By Brian Doughty - Producer
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Slaughter performs at RockFest 80s.

SUNRISE, Fla. - It was a great weekend of 80s music and metal at Markham Park in Sunrise for the inaugural RockFest 80s Music Festival.   Performers ranging from The Romantics to John Waite to Ratt to Paul Rodgers rocked the crowd for 2 consecutive days (and nights) in some mighty fine weather! 

The setup was easy to follow.  Just $15 to park onsite and an easy walk to the gates.   The layout of the festival was well-planned; with a stage on either end of the field and plenty of food and drinks to get you in between each act.  Once one performance finished, you just walked to the other stage where the next act would begin shortly.  Or, you could just hang out in the middle and never have to move.   You could always hear the music and see what was happening onstage thanks to the many video screens.

There was quite a variety to the vending.   All kinds of food were available, from BBQ to Middle Eastern.  There were even a couple of ice cream stands.   There were several stands for official RockFest merchandise, as well as individual vendors who were also doing brisk business.  One of the best parts of this festival is that there were hardly any lines; whether you were getting a beer, going to the bathroom or getting something to eat.  The onsite ATMs were definitely getting a lot of use!

A friendly vibe ran through the crowd on both days; everyone was sharing space and there wasn't a lot of pushing and shoving to get to the front, although that was tested during a couple of bands on Sunday.

The bands were really enjoying their moment in the sun, so to speak.  Everyone was glad to be in South Florida on such a beautiful weekend and they let the fans know it.  

Every band put on a great show, playing a mixture of new and old songs before giving the fans what they came for; their greatest hits!   Warrant and Night Ranger both played some charged-up sets on Saturday with Warrant even sneaking in a little snippet of Deep Purple's "Highway Star" to the delight of the crowd!  

The field got crowded when Quiet Riot took the stage on Sunday.  Even with drummer Frankie Banali the only original member of the band still playing, everyone rocked out to hits like "Mama Weer All Crazee Now", "Cum On Feel The Noize" and of course, "Metal Health"!   Ratt drummer Bobby Blotzer was the only original member of his group still performing, but the new lineup put out a smoking set; even covering ZZ Top's "La Grange"!  

Most of the performers and fans on Sunday were waiting to hear former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley perform and he did not disappoint, opening up with "Rip It Out" and playing several classic KISS hits, including "Deuce", "Love Gun" and "Detroit Rock City"!

It was a great weekend of rock and roll and a great start for this new festival.  Here's hoping the 80s come back to Markham Park every spring!


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