Van Halen’s 1984 Lost Weekend Contest Gets a Documentary
The year is 1984, and Van Halen is one of the biggest rock bands in the world. Playing on the band’s well-cemented reputation for wild parties and chemical excess, MTV-still desperate for viewership in the early days of cable television-stirs up a contest called “The Lost Weekend with Van Halen,” where contestants mail in a postcard in hopes of winning a wild weekend with the band in Detroit.
“You’ll have no idea where you are, you’ll have no idea where you’re going, and probably, no memory of it after you get there,” says Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth in the commercial. To the over one million Americans who entered the contest, Dave’s threat must have seemed real. For Kurt Jefferis, a 22-year-old stock boy from small-town Pennsylvania and the winner of “The Lost Weekend with Van Halen,” the threat was more real than he could have ever imagined.
Lost Weekend tells the story of Kurt and his best friend Tom and their lost weekend with Van Halen. As predicted, Kurt’s foray in to the world of wild partying included all the trappings of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, but in the end, it almost cost him his life.
Lost Weekend premieres this week at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb are filmmakers from Houston, Texas. Their four feature documentaries include GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling and A Life in Waves, which premiered at SXSW in 2017.