Festival season is in full swing and Bikefest in Leesburg, Florida celebrated three days of motorcycles and music April 26-28, 2019. Leesburg’s 30 blocks were filled with vendors, bike shows, beauty contests, and over 55 concerts this weekend. MNPR Magazine sent Mark Horan with MarkHoran.Pictures LLC north from Orlando to cover parts of the 3-day event. The majority of the bands performing in this festival are the finest bands in Central Florida. Vince Neil of Motley Crew would be headlining on the final night.
The highlight of Friday night was the band Blandini from Orlando. Jeff Blando (Vocals/Guitar), Zoltan Chaney (Drums), and Paul Drennan (Bass) performed a variety of classic rock covers from Led Zeppelin, Ted Nugent, and Dio to name a few, entertaining the fans at The Swamp until just after midnight. Blando and Chaney are with Vince Neil’s touring band and will be closing out the festival Saturday night, so it was a must I cover Blandini the night before.
Saturday was another beautiful day with no chance of rain. As I walked through the rows of parked motorcycles lining each side of the downtown streets, I realized just how many people were actually visiting this sleepy town with a population of around 23,000. There were motorcycles everywhere, and people overflowing the sidewalks into the shops and the streets. It was just remarkable. The average attendance for Bikefest usually tops 200,000 people for the three days of the events in the 23-year history. I don’t think it would have been any different even if Vince Neil wasn’t going to be performing the hits of Motley Crew later this evening.
I had some time before the show, so I went down to The Lucky-U-Saloon to checkout the international touring band Nirvanna, a Nirvana tribute band. Nirvanna was just taking the stage when I arrived. They were authentic looking, and the music was spot on. The crowd was large and of all ages as they bobbed their heads to the grunge music emanating from the PA system. I felt like I had been transferred back in time 30 years. It was a fun show with a great atmosphere. When they aren’t touring around the globe, Nirvanna can be seen regularly in Central Florida.
I finally made my way around the enormous crowd to get into position to photograph the final show of the festival on the main outdoor stage. It seemed that every person that was in the eight venues watching the other bands were now converging into the center of town. My guess was somewhere around 20,000 people were around the stage. The crowd was rowdy after a long day in anticipation of the festival’s final act, Vince Neil, and they were growing impatient.
Dana Strum (Bass Slaughter/Vince Neil), Jeff Blando (Guitar Slaughter/Vince Neil), and Zoltan Chaney (Drums Slaughter/Vince Neil) hit the stage and the crowd just erupted as they started to play. When the crowd realized it was “Dr. Feelgood”, Vince Neil came on stage and the fans were in a total frenzy as he belted out the lyrics. Nobody seemed to care that the band wasn’t Motley Crew, their ears were not lying to them. It was Vince Neil and these were the hits that they had come to hear and dance too.
I had never seen the original Motley Crew, but after their resurgence with their Netflix release of the new movie Dirt, there is always a chance. As I have learned over the years, never say never when it comes to a Rock-N-Roll band!