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50th anniversary of Mods Vs Rockers riot

Mods and rockers
Rockers surround a mod in the film Quadrophenia

There has always been a “rift” between motorcycle “rockers” and scooter riders. The conflict reached its famed zenith 50 years ago when rockers and mods clashed at the British seaside town of Brighton on the bank holiday weekend of May 18-19, 1964.

Rockers and mods
Rockers and mods

Motorcycle riders were known as rockers because of their love of ‘50s rock and roll. They rode mainly British motorcycles and wore leather jackets, jeans and had greasy hair. Mods loved the modern music of The Who and their ilk, and rode scooters which kept the chain grease and engine oil off their pristine fashionable suits and parkas.

Mods and rockers were youth subcultures of the early to mid-1960s and when they clashed, the newspaper coverage sparked a moral panic in British establishment. The clash was brilliantly depicted in the 1979 film, Quadrophenia based on The Who’s rock opera.

The mods versus rockers “feud” continues today, but as a peaceful and harmless cultural and fashion divide.

To celebrate the culturally iconic clashes, modern mods and rockers will gather for the 50th anniversary of the Mods Vs Rockers clash at Brisbane’s answer to Brighton – Brighton, near Redcliffe. It’s not a registered event and the police aren’t being notified, but if you are interested in greasing up your quiff or donning your best three-button suit, you can join in the historic non-violent fun next Sunday, May 19. There should be plenty of great old bikes and scooters to drool over and the riders are expected to be decked out in full “period costume”.

VLAD Act: Rocker Classic Motorcycles
Rocker Classic Motorcycles

The ride is a joint venture between the Brisbane Cafe Racers group and the Canetoads Scooter Club. They will gather at Rocker Classic Motorcycles in Nundah from about 9am and ride out around 10.30am to cruise up to Deagon, Sandgate and through Brighton, then on to Margate for some photos and end at the Ambassador Hotel (to be confirmed) in Redcliffe around lunch time.