Hard Rock Brings Music Collection To Biloxi - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

08/26/05

Hard Rock Brings Music Collection To Biloxi

A Van Halen bass guitar. A collection of 3 Doors Down outfits. Both are prominently displayed in a Hard Rock cabinet.

When Hard Rock opens, it will emphasize music and fun. Nobody knows that better than Rita Gilligan.

Gilligan remembers when Hard Rock was just a British burger joint. In fact, she was its first waitress.

"I served the Beatles, the Stones, Clapton, Freddy Mercury," she told a group of media members who were touring Hard Rock Biloxi.

Thirty five years later, the music from those groups is featured at new resort. And so are some legendary stories told through a rather thick British accent.

"I came to get to know the staff and tell them about the history of the Hard Rock, and to inject the unique spirit," she said.

Part of what gives Hard Rock its unique spirit is its collection of music memorabilia. Carrie Ielfield is responsible for every piece on display in Biloxi.

"We want people to come in and just be absolutely amazed," she said while standing in front of her favorite exhibit, the Velvet Revolver display.

If you like Bob Dylan, you can see one of his suede jackets. Faith Hill fans can look at the gown she wore in a 2002 video. Up to 600 other music momentos will line the Hard Rock's walls.

"We kind of try to have a cross section of different time periods, and different genres and music, so people of all ages can come in and see something that they identify with," Ielfield said.

Hard Rock gave the media a sneak peek of its $235 million resort. The general public's first visit is still up in the air.

"Sometime before September 8," Hard Rock President Joe Billhimer said. "We're going through a massive training right now with the staff. And as we get our systems in place and we feel very comfortable, we'll open."

That gives Rita Gilligan no more than 13 days to add some British spice to the Hard Rock Biloxi .

That spice "is treating everybody equal," she said. "Our motto is love all, serve all, all is one."

by Brad Kessie

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