Get lucky at Ambleside Park with Vancouver classic rock royalty

Loverboy, circa now.

How about some classic rock? How about some Canadian classic rock? What about some Vancouver classic rock?

Rock Ambleside Park features three days of bands from yesteryear performing hits that burned up Canadian FM radio dials in the ’70s and ’80s in a lovely park setting. Many of the bands are Canadian, some are from Vancouver, and a few are even international: Nazareth (Scotland), Sweet (Britain), and Little River Band (Australia).

Other heavy-hitters include Loverboy, Trooper, and Chilliwack. Rock Ambleside Park takes place Aug. 17-19 at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver. Let’s take a look at some of the performers, shall we?

Loverboy—Loverboy formed in 1979 in Calgary, Alberta but made its live debut opening for Kiss at Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, which the band now calls home. Thanks to singles like “Turn Me Loose,” the self-titled debut sold zillions of copies. The follow-up, Get Lucky, did likewise. The band has since released seven more albums, though there was a decade-long gap between records at one point. The most recent album is 2014’s Unfinished Business.

Lee Aaron performs at Rock Ambleside Park.

Lee Aaron—Once heralded as Canada’s “Metal Queen,” Aaron has gone on to record and perform as a jazz chanteuse. However, she’s recently slipped the metal crown back on to release two hard-rock albums, Fire and Gasoline (on her own label, Big Sister Records) and Diamond Baby Blues (on Metalville Records). The singer currently resides near Vancouver.

Sweet—A British glam-rock band whose heyday was the mid-seventies, Sweet (or “The Sweet”) is best-known for the perennial FM radio jams “Fox on the Run” (just hearing the title you have it stuck in your cranium) and “The Ballroom Blitz.”

Doug and the Slugs—Vancouver’s Doug and the Slugs scored big (in Canada, at least) early in their career with their 1980 hit single “Too Bad.” The band was led by Doug Bennett, a former graphic designer with a knack for writing catchy pop songs. Other hits include “Who Knows How To Make Love Stay” (1982), “Making It Work” (1983) and “Tomcat Prowl” (1988). Unfortunately, Bennett died in 2004; some of the original members are still with the group.

Trooper—Another Vancouver band, this one with members who started playing together in the last sixties. Trooper changed its name from Applejack in 1975 and released a self-titled debut album and followed up with several Canadian FM radio staples, including “Raise a Little Hell,” “We’re Here for a Good Time (Not a Long Time),” “The Boys in the Bright White Sports Car,” “3 Dressed Up as a 9,” “Janine”, “Two for the Show”, and “Santa Maria”.

Chilliwack—Singer/guitarist Bill Henderson formed Chilliwack in Vancouver in 1970. According to Wiki, their six best-selling songs were “My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone),” “I Believe,” “Whatcha Gonna Do,” “Fly At Night,” “Crazy Talk,” and “Lonesome Mary.”

Other bands on the Rock Ambleside Park bill include Nazareth, Little River Band, Kim Mitchell, and Rik Emmett of Triumph.

The festival grounds will have food trucks, drinks, and VIP access. Patrons are permitted to bring in their own lawn chairs for the event. Tickets range from $64.50 for a single-day pass to $155.50 for a whole weekend of classic rock. For more info, visit rockamblesidepark.com.

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