Sun, sea and rock’n’roll: how Torremolinos got its groove back

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A February festival brings a touch of glamour to the Costa del Sol resort – and a welcome off-season tourism boost

I’m in Torremolinos. Yes, I know what you’re thinking – and you’d have a point. But I’m not here for the sun, cheap booze and a full English, although there are plentiful supplies of all the above. I’m here to relive my well-spent youth (albeit in a decidedly middle-aged fashion) at the 30th Rockin’ Race Jamboree, an international rockabilly festival that takes over Spain’s much-maligned resort for one wild weekend each February – and has been instrumental in boosting the town’s fortunes.

The Rockin’ Race is the creation of husband and wife, Guillermo Jiménez and Vivi Milla, from nearby Málaga, where they also run a record shop and label, both devoted to American music of the 50s and 60s. Like all the best festivals, it started out, back in 1994, as a gathering of friends sharing their love of the music. Three years later they had outgrown their venue in Málaga; the hunt for a new location took them the 10 miles along the coast to Torremolinos.

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