Only a few hundred bikers were in attendance when the annual event launched in the late '90s in Avondale. That number has grown exponentially since then, as has the event itself.
“It started out as this small gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts who just wanted to get together,” says Bike Week co-owner Lisa Cyr. “Not a lot of people knew about it or went to it back then.”
Things certainly have changed over the past two decades. Arizona Bike Week has become a
There's also a great deal of live music at Arizona Bike Week each year, including performances by well-known bands and musicians that take place in the event's RockYard venue. Local bands also get a chance to shine.
This year's Bike Week festivities, which take place daily from Wednesday, April 3, to Sunday, April 7, will feature performances by Buckcherry, George Thorogood and the Destroyers, 3 Doors Down, and Godsmack, as well as a variety of local acts and artists.
Here's a look at what's happening and who's performing at Arizona Bike Week 2019.
Times: Operating hours for the Bike Week festivities vary depending on the day. Gates open at noon on Wednesday, April 3, and Thursday, April 4; 10 a.m. on Friday, April 5; 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 6; and 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 7.
If you’re going just for the big concerts, those take place each night to Saturday at 9 p.m. in the RockYard.
Tickets: Admission is $31 on Wednesday and Thursday, $36 on Thursday and Friday, and free on Sunday.
Age Limits: It's an all-ages event and children 12 and under get in free.
Weather: It will be warm and sunny during each day of the event. Temperatures will either be in the high 80s or low 90s. Dress accordingly.
Getting There: The quickest way to get to WestWorld is via the Loop 101 Freeway. However, Bike Week organizers recommend using one of two different entrances to the venue, depending on what you're driving.
Those on motorcycles (or in a vehicle with special passes) will want to take the Loop 101 to Exit 38 for Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard before heading north on Pima Road. The entrance to WestWorld is half a block past the intersection on the right (look for the horse statue).
A photographer will be taking “ride-in” photos of motorcycle rides just past the entrance which will be available for sale inside the event.
Bike week patrons who are coming by car should take Loop 101 to the Pima Road/Princess Drive exit. After the second light, go east on Bell Road until you reach 94th Street and then turn right and follow the signs to WestWorld entrance.
Getting Inside: Cyr says security will perform bag checks and possibly patdowns at the main entrance. Beyond that, she estimates that it won't be much of a hassle getting into Bike Week. "Compared to many other events, we have very few incidents,” Cyr says. “Generally, there isn't much trouble. People come just to have a good time.”
Food and Drinks: Patrons will be able to purchase a wide variety of eats from food vendors at the event. "We got everything from different types of barbecue to street tacos and wood-fired pizzas and more,” Cyr says.
Full bars will also be available throughout the venue with an assortment of beer, wine, and spirits, including Jack Daniels and Miller and Coors brews. The biggest
Water: Bike Week patrons can bring a single unopened bottle of water into the event. Vendors will also have water for sale.
Vendors: Cyr estimates that there will be more than a couple hundred vendors at Westworld during Bike Week. “They'll cover the whole scope of the motorcycle world, from accessories to helmets to sunglasses and different kinds of gear,” she says. “But we'll also have a wide variety of things, like real estate [brokers] and biker-friendly lawyers. Even the Musical Instrument Museum will be out there for the first time.”
When it comes to biker gear, items like chain wallets are also allowed. “Yeah, we don't make anyone take the chains off their wallets,” Cyr says. It's also cool if you want to sport your colors, cuts, or other biker regalia. “We don't ban colors or cuts from our event,” she says. “Pretty much everybody is welcome at our event.”
Don't Bring: Weapons aren't allowed inside the event. Neither are outside food and drink, drugs or other illegal substances, or anything else potentially dangerous or disruptive.
Live Music Lineup and Schedule: More than a dozen bands are scheduled to perform at WestWorld during Arizona Bike Week, including both locals and nationally known acts.
The HandleBar Saloon will feature gigs throughout the day and evening, ranging from rock and blues to country and Americana. Meanwhile, the 25,000-person RockYard outdoor venue will host concerts starting at 5:30 p.m. with an opening band followed by a headliner at 9 p.m.
Here's a breakdown of who's playing and when:
Wednesday, April 3
This local band, which specializes in classic rock hits from
Catch this four-piece hard rock cover band, which features KSLX disc jockey Pete Cummings on drums and several former members of local band Souldriver, performing in the RockYard starting at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday evening.
Dragons in the Desert
Dragons in the Desert are relatively new to the local rock scene but have already earned a few honors, including winning second place during Alice Cooper's Proof Is in the Pudding contest in 2018. Their sound is influenced by such famed bands as Rival Sons, Royal Blood, Highly Suspect, and Alice in Chains, which should delight any Bike Week attendees within earshot of the HandleBar Saloon starting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday night.
Yes, that Buckcherry. The band behind the hit “Crazy Bitch,” which was blasted by hard rock radio stations (and strip club DJs) for a good portion of 2006, will headline the first night of Arizona Bike Week. They’re scheduled to hit the stage at 9 p.m. in the RockYard and will very likely play their signature hit, as well as tracks from their most recent album, Warpaint.
Threefold Fate plays a hard-charging brand of desert rock that’s influenced by the likes of The Cult, The Black Keys, The Doors, and maybe even The Blasters. Between heavy riffs and wailing solos, frontman and guitarist Jason Stage sings of sinful exploits and wild adventures while bassist John “Doc” Frasher adds some extra verve to the mix. Threefold Fate will wrap up the first day of AZBW at 11 p.m. in the HandleBar Saloon.
Thursday, April 4
Thursday’s live music offerings kick off with this rock ‘n’ roll cover act, which was formed in 2007 and features two vocalists, high-energy performances, and
74th Street Band
Southern rock outfit 74th Street Band, who draw influences from ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd, have released albums with such raucous songs as “Skunk Butt Stew” and “Comin' In Hot.” If that sounds like something you’d like to rock out to, they’ll be at the RockYard beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday night.
Bill Dutcher Trio
Led by acoustic guitarist Bill Dutcher and featuring Shane Martinez on electric bass and Pete Cummings on drums, this trio performs a variety of classic rock hits, including songs by Led Zeppelin, The Who, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, and Rush. They’ll be at the HandleBar Saloon at 6 p.m.
George Thorogood and the Destroyers
Just like George Thorogood’s website states, it’s been good to be bad. Over the past 40-odd years, the rock ‘n’ roll icon had sold millions of records, toured the world dozens of times over, and served up multiple hit songs, including such signatures as “Bad to the Bone,” “ I Drink Alone,” “Move It On Over,” and “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.” Thorogood and company will close out Thursday night with their performance at 9 p.m. in the RockYard.
Moonshine Voodoo plays rip-roaring music that mixes Southern rock, classic rock, blues, and modern-day country into an intoxicating sonic brew. Fronted by Michelle Colby (a.k.a. the "Voodoo Woman") and bassist Brian "King B" Hauser, this five-member ensemble create rock ‘n’ roll magic that’s certain to get people moving inside the HandleBar Saloon starting at 11 p.m.
Friday, April 5
This guitar-driven rock ‘n’ roll act – which takes a few pages from GN'R, Skynyrd, and the Stones – will get things going on Friday morning with a high-energy set at 11:30 a.m. at the HandleBar Saloon. What better way to start your day than a heaping helping of riffs?
As a band, Mojo Rats have made plenty of notches in their belts over the last five years. The blues-rock cover band has opened for the Gin Blossoms and Jackyl, performed at various rallies and other biker-friendly events, and gotten plenty of props from local bar owners and rock fans. Check them out for yourself at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday afternoon at the HandleBar Saloon.
The powerful vocals of its namesake frontwoman fuel this alternative/hard rock band and its array of original songs. They've opened for such bands as Candlebox, Warrant, Quiet Riot, and Steel Panther and will warm up the crowd at the RockYard on Friday evening beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Sara Robinson Band
The female-fronted indie ensemble, who fuse blues with rock to fuel its sound, has been a mainstay of the local music scene for years. After performing a wide variety of venues and festivals around the Valley, they’ll perform during the Arizona Bike Week festivities, specifically at 6:15 p.m. on Friday inside the HandleBar Saloon.
3 Doors Down
The creators of such hard rock radio
The veteran musicians of Rock Land pay tribute to the hits of both yesterday and today by covering a variety of rock 'n' roll songs from the '60s onward. They'll perform during the after-hours party in the HandleBar Saloon that kicks off at 11 p.m. and will be emceed by Jay Allen and feature games and competitions geared towards adults.
Christopher Robin Band
Ace guitarist Christopher Robin has a lot of famous fans. Jessi Colter loves his work (describing Robin as “what an artist should be – gifted in writing, [an] incredible guitar player, and able showman”) while Gregg Allman, Peter Frampton, John Mayall, and John Hiatt have all utilized his services. Get a first-hand look at his artistry at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday inside the HandleBar Saloon when Robin performs with his band.
Rock 'n' roll group Undecided Youth performs original songs, as well as an array of classic rock covers. You’ll hear both when they take the stage at the HandleBar Saloon starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
As you can tell by the umlaut in their band name, the members of Pretty Cül take their rock ‘n’ roll pretty seriously. You can also tell by listening to their spot-on covers of Bon Jovi’s “Shot Through the Heart,” Journey’s “Any Way You Want It,” The Knack’s “My Sharona.” They’re likely to bust out with other crowd-pleasing favorites during their gig at the HandleBar Saloon, which starts at 5:30 p.m.
Alternative metal act Hazen has only been in the scene for a couple of years but has already released a couple of
Wunderkind axeman Conrad Varella has accomplished a lot in his short career as a musician. He won the Alice Cooper-sponsored “Proof is in the Pudding” talent competition in 2018, played alongside such Arizona rock legends as Fee Waybill and Geoff Tate, and is set to release his debut album later this year. And he hasn’t even turned 18. Varella has the honor of opening for Godsmack in the RockYard on Saturday night. His set starts at 8:45 p.m.
Godsmack has the honor of being one of the few surviving bands of the nu-metal era that still manages to produce hit records. No joke. The hard rock/heavy metal act, which has been around since 1995, has released seven full-length albums over the past couple of decades, most of which have charted pretty favorably, including last year's When Legends Rise. They've had a number of hit singles, too, including 2002's "I Stand Alone," 2003's "Straight Out of Line," and 2004's "Running Blind." They're scheduled to perform at the RockYard at 9 p.m. on Saturday evening.
Stop by the HandleBar Saloon during Organ Grinder's Saturday night set, which gets going at 11 p.m. and you might start singing along with the band as they perform covers of famed rock bands, ranging from Aerosmith to ZZ Top. Arizona Bike Week’s infamous annual wet t-shirt contest will also be happening, just in
Sunday, April 7
The School of Rock Sugar Skulls
Want to witness the next generation of rockers in action? Head for the HandleBar Saloon at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning to see a performance by the School of Rock Sugar Skulls. The band features promising teenage musicians from the Valley’s three School of Rock academies who are in the midst of honing their shredding skills under the guidance of talented mentors. Rock on!
Arizona Bike Week’s live music schedule wraps up with a rollicking show from local band Unchained at 2:30 p.m. in the HandleBar Saloon. The four-member ensemble – which consists of vocalist James Graves, bassist Rob Garfinkel, drummer Dan Seethaler, and lead guitarist Petio Petev – performs a heavy-duty mix of rock and alternative standards by Alice in Chains, Pantera, Metallica, Van Halen, Motorhead, Pink Floyd, and other legendary acts.
Editor's note: This story has been updated since its original publication with