According to rocknrollhouseparty.com, the first “Sensational 60's Show” was presented on April 8, 2000 by WNXT “The Mix” 99.3 FM and the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts, to a sold out audience.
The first show included '60's stars Mark Lindsay, Mitch Ryder, Gary Lewis & The Playboys, Billy J. Kramer and the Shangri-las.
“We started it in 2000 just as an experiment, and that's all it was. There was never a sequel planned, and we sold out the house,” Steve Hayes, of WNXT, said. “It went over so well that we just decided to do it again, and then again and again, and it's been so incredible each year.”
In its second year, the show changed its name to “House Party,” with Johnny Rivers and Three Dog Night.
In the years to follow, Rock n' Roll House Party featured acts such as Tommy James, John Kay and Steppenwolf, Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad, Don McLean, and others.
“I think we've kind of brand marked Wendy's Rock n' Roll House Party as a major event, and we're going to continue to roll on as long as we can,” Hayes said.
This year's theme was 's Invasion,” with Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone, and Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees.
“The show tonight is really special because you have two of the teenage icons of the '60s,” Hayes said. “Everyone feels intimate with them; like, I've grown up with you.”
At least two fans drove six hours to see the show.
“I'm a Monkees fan,” said Julie Hepler of West Field, Ind., who said she's seen Mickey Dolenz in concert 200 times. “I check their performances every few days. I last saw Peter (Tork) over Labor Day, I saw Mickey two years ago in Indiana, and I saw Davey (Jones) in Missouri.”
Hepler and her mother, Jewel Phillips, came together because Phillips is a fan of Noone.
“I remember when he was with Herman's Hermits, and I loved that. I saw Peter Noone, and was just loving it, on ‘American Idol' not long ago. He still looks the same, and he's just as cute as ever,” Phillips said.
Hayes said the show had nearly sold out by 5 p.m. Saturday, in a venue capable of holding more than 1,000 seats.
“With the weather being as beautiful as it is today, and finally everybody feeling like cabin fever is over, we've had an unbelievable ticket surge of people who just all the sudden decided they wanted to come,” Hayes said.
He said the show has taken on national recognition and is becoming well known among touring acts, and many are “jockeying for position” to be in the show.
“I don't want to say it's a Woodstock of it's time, but there are many, many acts who know what we're doing here,” Hayes said.
He said the 2008 Rock n' Roll House Party will begin being planned in the fall.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235.