Last year was my first time at Viva Las Vegas and as a Viva virgin I had a lot of expectations without too much guidance on what to expect. There were a couple of blogs that gave pointers to the newbies, which I was very appreciative of (see the round-up of the blogs I found most helpful here), but I still didnt really have a clear picture of what I was getting myself into. There was one issue that I really stressed about prior to getting to Viva Las Vegas, which I realized I didnt need to worry about as much once I was there.
The biggest thing I think it would have helped to understand last year was the level to which people got dressed up. Clearly this is the largest Rockabilly event on the planet, so many people are going to dress to the nines for the entire weekend. Be prepared to see some utterly gorgeous outfits, perfectly manicured nails, and ridiculously perfect hairdos. Some of these ladies looked like they were at a photo shoot the entire weekend. And you know what, some of them were. When you look at picture of Viva Las Vegas in the past it really does look like you have to be at the top of your game in order to not stick out like a sore thumb. I was stressing out for weeks prior to Viva and at our hotel in Las Vegas trying to get my hair to look perfect and wondering if I should have chosen to pack a another pair of shoes or a different cardigan. I didnt want to be the only person there not looking perfect, because perfection was all I saw from Viva online.
There are plenty of perfectly put-together guys and dolls roaming Viva, but there also many people who dont look like they just stepped out of a magazine. These were the people I was not expecting to see, and who made me feel better that my I couldnt quite get my victory rolls perfect, or that my Spanx were holding my belly into my wiggle dress as well as I would have wanted it to, or that I wasnt wearing the high heels I had packed with only vague hopes that Id find sometime to wear them. There are normal Rockabilly people out there too! Of course we dont see many of the imperfections when we look at online galleries and Google image search. People pick and choose which pictures they share online some of them with a heavy hand on the photo-shopping tools. Even when you arent completed dressed up, you still pick out which photos you share with people online. So, you are likely to not find too many pictures of the lady in modern cut jeans with the Johnny Cash shirt and her hair left straight sans flowers and bows. Youll probably be hard pressed to find a lot of pictures of the guy who is just wearing any old t-shirt with a pair of short and flip-flops. You might not see these people representing Viva Las Vegas online but they are out there; drooling over hot rods and buying cat eye glasses and laughing at the Charles Phoenix slide show. It really takes some of the pressure off (if youre the type of person, like me, who feels pressured to fit in perfectly).
Dont stress about being perfect at Viva Las Vegas or anywhere else. For every drop-dead bombshell you see in a photo, know there are many more average Rockabilly folk in the background. I am going to try to not be so hard on myself when doing my hair and makeup this year. I want to look good, but I dont have to look like a model. In the end, we are all there to have a good time, enjoy the company of like-minded individuals, spend a little too much money, and hear some great music. It doesnt really matter what you wear, as long as you wear something.
If youre a first time visitor to Viva Las Vegas, I hope you find this helpful and remember to just have fun!