London at the Lake

One of the most notable features of Lake Havasu City is without a doubt the London Bridge, which crosses over the Bridgewater Channel. This month, the city is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the bridge’s dedication in Havasu.

How did a bridge from London come to be in Lake Havasu? The city’s founder, Robert McCulloch, purchased the bridge from the City of London in April 1968 for $2.4 million. The bridge had previously crossed the River Thames in England, but was slowly sinking and therefore needed to be replaced.

Each block was numbered and then disassembled before being shipped more than 5,000 miles overseas to California and then trucked to Lake Havasu. The bridge was then reassembled and dedicated in October 1971.

The bridge purchase included ornate lampposts made from the melted-down cannons captured by the British from Napoleon’s army, after the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. These lampposts still line the London Bridge today. At one end of the bridge you will find a statue of McCulloch looking at blueprints with C.V. Wood, Jr., the master planner for the design of Lake Havasu City.

To ensure the bridge did not begin to sink in its new location, it was rebuilt hollow with a steel framework faced in granite, rather than using solid granite blocks, which made the bridge much lighter and able to withstand traffic crossing over it.

The bridge put Lake Havasu on the map, and McCulloch wanted to capitalize on the publicity for his new city by encouraging tourism. Therefore, he built the English Village beside the bridge to accommodate visitors, with a pub, restaurant and shops in an old English design. Today, the building that used to be the pub (and later a theater) is the Visitor Center.

The recently remodeled Visitor Center is a great place to stop and learn the full back-story of the bridge. They have a video of the history playing on repeat, and numerous photos, blueprints and trinkets on display.

Several different celebrations are taking place all month long to commemorate the 50th anniversary, including the London Bridge Days music Festival Friday-Saturday, Oct. 15-16 (3 p.m.-10 p.m.) at Lake Havasu State Park Windsor 4.

Enjoy six different world-famous tribute bands playing the music of British bands, including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, U2, Fleetwood Mac and Def Leppard. Three bands will play each day, for an hour and a half each act.

“These bands are basically world known — they travel all over the world,” Event producer Kennie Cuppetelli said. “They are the top impersonating tribute bands to the real bands. Being on stage, they have the same stage presence as the current acts. So hearing and seeing them from a distance in the audience, you’d think you were seeing the real band, that’s how good they are. If you close your eyes you’ll be like ‘Oh my god that’s Elton John!’ That’s how good they are.”

In between sets, visitors can shop the vendor village, dine at the food court and get some drinks.

“We have retail vendors from clothing to shoes, to CBD, hats, sunglasses — we have a little bit of everything,” Cuppetelli said. “There’s going to be some displays as well — Bradley Ford and Chevrolet will have their displays there with their new vehicles and the Boat Brokers will be there as well.

“We have some awesome food. We have shrimp, lobster, pizza, Mexican food, American food, Philly cheesesteaks and barbeque. We have a full bar. We have the Trust Me Vodka Bar, which will have six specialty drinks, including a jalapeno pineapple vodka, a margarita, blackberry vodka, kamikaze, pina colada and a long island iced tea. We’re doing $4 beers and $8 cocktails.”

General admission costs $30 per day or $50 for a two-day pass. There is limited seating, so guests are encouraged to bring their own blankets and chairs to watch the show.

There will be three jumbo video trons streaming the show so everyone will have a great view of the action onstage. In fact, even London will get in on the festival.

“We’re connecting to one of the bars in London and we’re going to send the show over to them and we’ll have the crowd involved as well,” Cuppetelli said. “We’re going to send them a live stream so the people in the pubs where the London Bridge used to be, can watch the show. We’re not live streaming here, only to London. So our camera guy that’s going to be showing video on the jumbo tron is actually going to be sending his live stream to London as well. So when he pans out to the crowd, anything that’s showing on the jumbo tron video walls will be going live stream to London.”

Those at the festival will not see the people watching in London, but they could show up on the stream being sent to London. The livestream cannot be watched in the U.S., it is only available to the select pubs in London.

Dry camping for motor homes and trailers is available at the park. Email thelondonbridgedays@gmail.com to reserve a space. Tent camping is not allowed.

Visit thelondonbridgedays.com for tickets and a schedule.

More about the bands

Hard Days Night — Beatles Tribute

Hard Day’s Night, Southern California’s No. 1 Beatles tribute show, has been thrilling audiences with tight harmonies and flawless note-for-note instrumental renditions of the Beatles hits. Their custom-tailored costumes, vintage instruments, Liverpudlian dialect and precise attention to every detail recreate the magic, music, wit and wisdom of the total Beatle phenomenon.

Jumping Jack Flash — Rolling Stones Tribute

Jumping Jack Flash is the closest performance and act to the Rolling Stones. Their stage presence and sound stands alone. The electrifying Joey “Jagger” Infante fronts the group and is one of those rare performers that audiences simply cannot take their eyes off of.  Joey was a member of Scotti Bros. recording artist group “Roxanne” in the late ‘80s and regularly performed at the Roxy Theatre, Whiskey A-Go-Go and other similarly decadent nightspots.

Kenny Metcalf — Elton John Tribute

Kenny Metcalf recreates the multiple Grammy-winning legend and flamboyant superstar Elton John. Dazzling outfits, stunning vocals, and a spectacular backing band complete the phenomenal reproduction that brings the audience on an adventure of both sight and sound.

LA Vation — The Ultimate U2 Tribute

L.A. Vation derives its name from the hit song “Elevation,” the third single released from U2’s 2000 album, “All That You Can’t Leave Behind.” L.A. Vation has faithfully crafted an amazingly accurate show, incorporating memorable stage elements from past U2 concerts with spot-on musical execution, all the while emphasizing the pride and passion of the original group.

Mirage — Visions of Fleetwood Mac

Mirage — Visions of Fleetwood Mac celebrates the classic “Rumours” era lineup of the legendary band, Fleetwood Mac. This group is endorsed as one of “The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands” by Mark Cuban’s AXS TV and has been praised by Stevie Nicks. Mirage recreates the classic lineup with a strong stage show and every detail to authenticity. From the custom wardrobe to the spot-on musical and vocal performances, Mirage takes you on a journey celebrating the hits of Fleetwood Mac in its prime.

Pyromania — The Def Leppard Experience

Nineteen years in the making, this band captures the music and the essence of a rock band that has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide. Grabbing the bull by the horns, Pyromania has stunned audiences all over the world with their amazing recreation of one of the most memorable rock bands and rock songs ever written. Pyromania is the only tribute band promoted by Def Leppard. Performing all over the world, they also were chosen by AXS TV to perform on “The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands.”