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Retrofest Roars Into Chatham

(CHATHAM, ON) – The 40th Anniversary edition of Retrofest got underway with the traditional parade of classic cars. It was a demonstration which conjured up comparisons with the historic Woodward Dream Cruise and made all the more exciting with the appearance of the American Badass, Kid Rock.

Prior to the six-time Juno Award winning Sam Roberts Band kicking off Retrofest with a concert at Tecumseh Park, festival head honcho Rob Myers was honoured by the Rotary Club for his dedication and selflessness, and by Chatham-Kent mayor Darrin Canniff who presented a plaque, commemorating 40 years of community service.

Thousands took in the classic car display in downtown Chatham on 22 June 2019, part of the 40th annual Retrofest.Photo by Ian Shalapata.
Thousands took in the classic car display in downtown Chatham on 22 June 2019, part of the 40th annual Retrofest.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

After a too short visit on stage by Kid Rock, Sam Roberts Band took the stage to the applause of over 2,000 in attendance. The number of people in the park hadn’t been seen since The Doors performed here in 2010.

As Roberts and band mates, Dave Nugent (guitar), Eric Fares (keyboard), James Hall (bass), and Josh Trager (drums), belted out Detroit 67 the Kid was in the wings videoing the performance on his phone.

The real stars of Retrofest, the vintage vehicles were on display in the downtown on Saturday, drawing car enthusiasts and the simply curious from across North America. Both live music and on-air radio broadcasts belted out theme appropriate tunes as the throngs strolled the closed streets.

Leo and Carol Caron of Chatham brought their 1955 Crown Victoria to the 40th annual Retrofest on 21-22 June 2019.Photo by Ian Shalapata.
Leo and Carol Caron of Chatham brought their 1955 Crown Victoria to the 40th annual Retrofest on 21-22 June 2019.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

On display were the definitive cars and trucks of a by-gone but not forgotten era. Additionally, kit vehicles and special commissions drew the attention the wide variety of ages in the crowd.

Sam Roberts and frontman stares down the pipe as keyboardist Eric Fares gets to work kicking off Retrofest 2019 in Chatham on 21 June 2019.Photo by Ian Shalapata.
Sam Roberts and frontman stares down the pipe as keyboardist Eric Fares gets to work kicking off Retrofest 2019 in Chatham on 21 June 2019.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Closing Retrofest for another year was a resounding recital by Canadian blues-rock artists Big Sugar at the Capitol Theatre. Front man Gordie Johnson led the collection of musicians on stage and thrilled the packed house with a string of hits and radio mainstays like Digging a Hole, The Scene, Nicotina, and the Traffic cover, Dear Mr Fantasy.

Proceeds from this year’s Retrofest will benefit the Foundation of Chatham-Kent Health Alliance and Chatham-Kent Hospice.

Retrofest Gallery

Don “Sparky” Leonard honoured Rob Meyers' dedication and community spirit. Meters has been the heart and soul of Retrofest for the past 40th years.Photo by Ian Shalapata.
Don “Sparky” Leonard honoured Rob Meyers’ dedication and community spirit. Meters has been the heart and soul of Retrofest for the past 40th years.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.
The General Lee made an appearance at Retrofest 2019. The car, made famous by the Duke Boys in the 1980s television show, was a fan favourite at the 40th anniversary of the festival.,Photo by Ian Shalapata.
The General Lee made an appearance at Retrofest 2019. The car, made famous by the Duke Boys in the 1980s television show, was a fan favourite at the 40th anniversary of the festival.,
Photo by Ian Shalapata.
Classic car fans came in all shapes and sizes at the 40th annual Retrofest in Chatham on 22 June 2019.Photo by Ian Shalapata.
What would Retrofest be without a visit by the King?
Photo by Ian Shalapata.
Chatham-Kent mayor Darrin Canniff presented a plaque to Rob Meyers prior to the Tecumseh Park concert by Sam Roberts Band.Photo by Ian Shalapata.
Chatham-Kent mayor Darrin Canniff presented a plaque to Rob Meyers prior to the Tecumseh Park concert by Sam Roberts Band.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.
The American Badass Kid Rock records the Sam Roberts Band Sam Roberts Band at Retrofest 2019 in Chatham on 21 June 2019.Photo by Ian Shalapata.Photo by Ian Shalapata.
The American Badass Kid Rock records the Sam Roberts Band Sam Roberts Band at Retrofest 2019 in Chatham on 21 June 2019.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.
Classic car fans came in all shapes and sizes at the 40th annual Retrofest in Chatham on 22 June 2019.Photo by Ian Shalapata.
Retrofest 2019 was an all-ages event with proceeds destined for the Chatham-Kent community.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.
Sam Roberts Band drummer Josh Trager at Retrofest 2019 in Chatham on 21 June 2019.Photo by Ian Shalapata.Photo by Ian Shalapata.
Sam Roberts Band drummer Josh Trager at Retrofest 2019 in Chatham on 21 June 2019.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.
Sam Roberts Band bassist James Hall at Retrofest 2019 in Chatham on 21 June 2019.Photo by Ian Shalapata.Photo by Ian Shalapata.
Sam Roberts Band bassist James Hall at Retrofest 2019 in Chatham on 21 June 2019.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.
Sam Roberts Band guitarist Dave Nugent at Retrofest 2019 in Chatham on 21 June 2019.Photo by Ian Shalapata.
Sam Roberts Band guitarist Dave Nugent at Retrofest 2019 in Chatham on 21 June 2019.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.
Classic car fans came in all shapes and sizes at the 40th annual Retrofest in Chatham on 22 June 2019.Photo by Ian Shalapata.
Classic car fans came in all shapes and sizes at the 40th annual Retrofest in Chatham on 22 June 2019.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.
Retrofest goers were attracted to three Batmobiles honours different eras of the Caped Crusader.Photo by Ian Shalapata.
Retrofest goers were attracted to three Batmobiles honours different eras of the Caped Crusader.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.
Classic Corvettes sit curbside in front of the Chatham Capitol Theatre, the scene of the closing event of Retrofest 2019, a performance by legendary Canadian artists Big Sugar on the night of 22 June.Photo by Ian Shalapata.
Classic Corvettes sit curbside in front of the Chatham Capitol Theatre, the scene of the closing event of Retrofest 2019, a performance by legendary Canadian artists Big Sugar on the night of 22 June.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.
1 Comment
  1. […] ON) – RM Sotheby’s and RM Auto Restoration hosted a 40th Anniversary celebration weekend in Chatham-Kent on 21-22 June. Partnering with RetroFest Classic Car Festival, RM created the ultimate celebration […]

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