Rockin' relaunch for London venue

Music history embraced the future at the relaunch party for Hard Rock Cafe London. Jeremy King grabs a taste of the Rock ‘n’ Roll lifestyle

Filled to its newly refurbished rafters, the capital's Hard Rock Cafe proved its rock 'n' roll credentials with a party to celebrate its re-opening. Seriously damaged after a fire earlier this year, the world's oldest branch of Hard Rock Cafe is now its newest. To represent this, the evening's theme was Old Meets New Rock.

"The idea was to raise money for the fire and police services, who saved so much of the valuable memorabilia that adorns the walls," explains Morag Ranford, the venue's senior sales and marketing manager, and organiser of the evening. "The best way to do this was to host a relaunch party to celebrate the venue's live music roots, with an auction hosted by Kelly Osbourne. We raised £10,000 for each service, which was amazing for one night."

Guests on the evening included members of the press, celebrities such as Liberty X, Big Brother 2004 winner Nadia, and Hardrock executives from the around the globe. Everyone enjoyed rousing live sets from legendary heavy metallers Deep Purple and young upstarts Rooster. The party proved so popular that even megastar Michael Jackson was refused entry because the venue had reached its full capacity by the time he had arrived.

In keeping with the theme, the famous terrace at the Old Park Lane venue was transformed into a blend of contemporary chic and musical history. A custom-designed bar, by Eskimo Ice, with original Gibson guitars encased in the ice, sat on one side, complimented by two Gibson Flying V-style guitars, made of ice, complete with ice strings and tuning keys. On the other side there was a selection of classic guitars, including one that belonged to Jimi Hendrix and is estimated to be worth £500,000.

"Gibson lent us a range of instruments and the rest were taken from our vault, where we have a selection of clothing and instruments from music icons such as Hendrix and Elvis," says Ranford. Guests at the venue enjoyed canapés from the in-house caterer, which included sushi, mini cheese burgers and chicken strips. On stage, Deep Purple and Rooster created a storming rock 'n' roll vibe that paid homage to the past and looked to the future.


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