My primary business for the past several years has been providing sound and lighting production at motorcycle rallies around the country. This write up of the Daytona Rally is from the perspective of one working the rally. Because I am working the event I am not able to circulate and take in events in other locations. Here is my write up of my experiences in Daytona Spring 2008.
Daytona Bikeweek 2008 Write Up:
Daytona 2008 is in the history books. The rally was a bit weak this year. The occupancy rate at the motels was off and that told the story of everything else. I suspect a combination of factors to be the cause. The price of fuel is high, as we all know. The news of the economy is not particularly good. This is an election year, and that often presents an atmosphere of uncertainty. And there is a trend for people to think of the Spring rally in Myrtle Beach, SC and the fall rally in Daytona.
The Boot Hill did not open their North location, the old Jackson Hole Saloon, for this event. I understand that they moved the liquor license to the old location on main street. That would improve their potential there substantially. The property on US 1, across the street from the Iron Horse Saloon, was fenced off and the signage was covered with black plastic. There is a for sale sign in front of the property. It does seem that the lot could have been operated as a paid parking lot and produced a good income, but they chose not to do even that.
A southern anchor of the rally area, the No Name Saloon in Edgewater, also closed down just before the rally. I heard that there is a new owner there, but it is hard to understand closing for the best week of the year. There may have been licensing or permit problems, I guess.
Joe Santana was scheduled for only one show at the 'Spoke for this rally. Joe worked for the 'Spoke before I started with them over 10 years ago, and has been a fixture at nearly every rally that I have worked. He played his show at the 'Spoke, but then was forced by his health to sit out the rest of the rally. Joe has been on a waiting list for a liver transplant for a long time. It has come to the point now that he is not able to keep up the kind of schedule that he has in the past. We wish Joe well and look forward to a day when he is recovered.
There were shows by central Florida's Blues Crew and the Anthony Wilde Band the first weekend. Big Mike Griffin, out of Nashville, played 4 shows during the event. Ryan Rolando came down from northern Minnesota to play the event. Ryan is another artist that has worked with the 'Spoke regularly, though most frequently in Sturgis. It is always a pleasure to have Ryan on stage.
On Thursday night of bikeweek we had the Rolling Stones Tribute, Satisfaction, for one show. Chris has worked for the 'Spoke several seasons in the past, but we had not seen the show for about three years. Satisfaction was working in Las Vegas during some of the events, so scheduling became more difficult. It was good to have the boys back. This is a very good show, and I highly recommend that you catch it if you have the opportunity.
Friday evening the Hoss Howard Band played a show at the 'Spoke. I was not familiar with the artist, but one of the songs I recognized. Jimmie Van Zant has been doing one of Hoss's songs in his show for the last couple of years.
Saturday was a bit hectic. Jay had contracted with Big Mike and Ryan to play on Saturday and then, at the last minute, a promoter need a venue to put on a Bellamy Brothers show. There was also an opening act, the Randall Zwarte Band, with the show. The Bellamy Brothers had played the night before somewhere else, so they could not be there early to set up and sound check. They got most of their gear on stage between acts, but the stage still had to be wired between the opening act and show time. With the help of the Bellamy crew we had the show up only about 15 minutes after the scheduled show time. Friday had been a rainy day and Saturday was cold, so attendance was not as good as it should have been. The Bellamy Brothers gave us a good show.
I shot a short video of a partier dancing with a toy stuffed monkey on his back and put it up on YouTube. If you would like to check it out you can find it HERE.