Several gigs were held last night throughout metropolitan Melbourne and in regional Victoria to usher in the New Year for 2017. There was of course fireworks display in the city plus several other places like in Mornington & the Frankston foreshore.

Amongst the bands that played last night were the Straight 8's at DJ Ashley's, The Fender Benders at Rock 'n Suzie, the Vincents at Rye RSL, the Honky Tonk Rockers at Dandy Workers Club plus dances at Adrian's Red Hot Rockers, in Ballarat etc. I went and saw the Jump Devils at the Heritage Tavern in Balnarring and later the Rockin' Daddies playing for Rosebud Rockers on the Mornington Peninsula.

Another big year of rock & roll and rockabilly in 2016 and I expect more of the same again for 2017. The New Year usually kicks off with the National Kustoms hot rod show & rockabilly bands on Phillip Island in January around the same time as the rock & roll festival in Geelong. This is followed by music festivals like Ballarat Beat and Barham's Rock By the River in February. Also in February 2017, we 'll see a new rock & roll/rockabilly music festival, the Shepparton Shakedown, to be staged for the first time and already it is generating a lot of interest. Long standing rock & roll festivals in Ararat, Mulwala, Tallangatta, Hamilton and several other Victorian regional areas no doubt will continue to be held in 2017. However, Greazefest will not be staged in Melbourne this year as well as the Camperdown rockabilly festival although I have heard of news that plans are afoot to stage a replacement festival in Camperdown but we shall see if it comes to fruition.

In terms of dance gigs around Melbourne, I expect DJ Ashley & Leanne at Fast Eddies to continue to draw a good crowd every Sunday night. Ashley & Leanne also run regular monthly dance gigs at the Menzies Hall in Dandenong as well as at Highett Bowls Club. Milton & Sue's Flipside rock & roll dances will be back along with Jonathan & Zoe's Alleycatz dances, Adrian's Red Hot Rockers, Rock 'n Suzie dances as well as dances on the Mornington Peninsula by Rosebud Rockers and the Peninsula Rockers. There are other regular rock & roll dances all over Melbourne plus live bands and dances at Dandenong Workers Club, various RSL clubs, Heritage Tavern and Daveys Bar on the Frankston foreshore. Not forgetting there is also a vibrant live music scene at several city pub venues as well as the Dogs Bar in St Kilda.

In terms of rock & roll dance competitions, this kicks off with the Geelong Rock & Roll festival in February. I understand there is also an "open" dance competition for Shepparton Shakedown. The big ones of course are VRRDA's Victorian rock & roll dance championship as well as Alleycatz $1,000 "shoot out" Melbourne dance competition. Dance competitions are very important in showcasing the competitive side of rock & roll dancing that one does not normally see in social dancing.

No rest for the wicked. Get those dancing shoes polished for another big year ahead of live rock & roll and rockabilly music and dancing all over Melbourne, and in regional Victoria. Keep rockin' everyone!