365ink #289 April 20–May 3, 2017 - Page 25

COvER stORY  PHOTO: BOB FELDERMAN The music starts on Friday at 5 p.m. and continues through the evening with fi ve bands, from rockabilly to surf, to the Detroit rock-n-roll of Mean Mother. Saturday’s musical lineup is even more expansive, starting at 11 a.m. (immediately following the Miss Torque Fest Pinup Contest) and continuing through the day and evening with a variety of great acts from Iowa’s own Surf Zombies to the rockabilly of Belgium’s Shorty Jetson, the vintage twang of Oakland’s Jinx Jones, the old school country of the Palomino Shakedowns, the Celtic punk of Whiskey of the Damned, and a couple of co-headliners that Wells is particularly excited about. “Everybody at Viva Las Vegas last year was going on and on about the Delta Bombers,” explains Wells. “I have yet to see them live but based on the trac- tion when we announced that they were playing I think people are going to come out and see all the bands. Real high-energy, not necessarily rockabilly but early rock & roll—say, Elvis before he went into the Army and Little Richard—real roots rock & roll.” The Delta Bombers will be followed by the heavy blues of Mothership. “I’m always happy to see Moth- ership coming to town,” declares Wells. “There is a strong possibility that people should come out and see them (now) because they are probably going to be on tour with Metallica this summer. ” Saturday’s live music off erings will be even bigger this year with the addition of a third stage, focused on acoustic roots and Americana acts. Other new fea- tures include a RC (remote control) demo derby. We’re imagining a mash-up of a demo derby and Robot Wars. Recently added events like the Tuff Mudder Mini Bike Race are returning with even more participants racing their mini bikes through the mini motocross track in the Fairgrounds “back forty.” The increas- ing numbers are all part of a broader trend toward a bigger and better Vintage Torque Fest. Numbers for preregistration, camping, and local hotel reserva- tions indicate great attendance. Now in it’s eighth year, Torque Fest is drawing hot rod fans and car clubs from around the Midwest and beyond. With less than ideal weather last year, the event had between 425- 450 preregistrations and about 480 cars showed up. Going back to 2015, Torque Fest had only 350-375 DUBUQUE365.COM preregistrations but with great weather, 800 entries showed up. “Everything is weather dependent, obvi- ously, when you’re looking at car count,” observes Wells. Still, Vintage Torque Fest 2017 promises more to see and do in one weekend than anyone could pos- sibly take in. In addition to all the cars, motorcycles, music, and pinup girls, Vintage Torque Fest has even more to do and see with a range of vendors sell- ing hot rod art, vintage clothes and furniture, swap meet car parts and accessories, and so much more. Torque Fest always features a kustom kulture art auc- tion with a variety of handmade paintings, pinstriping and other one-of-a-kind piece of art with the proceeds going to a medical trust fund for Hannah, daughter of John and Kim Wells and the inspiration for the Helping Hannah’s Heart Foundation. Having endured multiple heart surgeries in her young life, Hannah is living proof of the support of the extended motor family. This year, the auction will feature a very unique item, donated from a diehard Vintage Torque Fest fan from Long Island: a rare mini-bike chopper from the late ‘60s. While proceeds of the art auction go toward Han- nah’s medical trust, each year, Torque Fest selects a family to sponsor, donating money from the gate admission to help defray the expenses associ- ated with the medical care of their child. This year’s recipient will be the family of young Will Kohn. “He’s actually at Iowa City right now waiting for a heart transplant,” noted Wells, adding that he hopes the boy will be able to survive long enough to see the benefi t from Torque Fest, and obviously that a trans- plant will become available. “It’s gut-wrenching,” he admits. “That’s who we’re helping this year. Hopefully, people understand that it’s a good time but it’s also