Crowds flock to Morecambe to enjoy Vintage by the Sea Festival

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Vintage by the Sea returned to Morecambe for its sixth year, and was as successful as ever.

Festival organisers believe this could have been the busiest yet, with around 45,000 visitors thought to have enjoyed the event over the two days.

Pictures Martin Bostock. Morecambe Vintage festival. L-R Kath Lown Jerry Mottershead, Sue Wild and Anne Sharples.

Pictures Martin Bostock. Morecambe Vintage festival. L-R Kath Lown Jerry Mottershead, Sue Wild and Anne Sharples.


This year there were some new additions to the programme, with the festival taking place on the promenade and visiting nursing and dementia residents in The Sands Care Home, with Dance collective Spilt Milk providing music, theatre and dance to those who could not access the festival in normal circumstances.


The 2018 programme featured sound and theatre performances from nationally recognised artists, peerless gypsy jazz from the returning Benoit Viellefon, a knees-up celebration of The Midland Hotel’s 10th Anniversary, two RAF Lancaster Bomber Flypasts, and free heritage bus rides up and down the promenade.


A vintage mobile cinema, as featured on Channel 4’s Amazing Spaces, made its debut at the festival. The cinema has been carefully and beautifully restored and is the last known survivor of the original seven, and saw around 1,200 visitors over the weekend.


A record-breaking number of vintage market stalls filled The Platform with mid-century homewares, refined frockery and fashion from the 20s to the 90s.

Pictures Martin Bostock. Morecambe Vintage festival. L-R Simon Brown, Nicola Portsmouth, Alan Portsmouth, Alex Woods and David Woods.

Pictures Martin Bostock. Morecambe Vintage festival. L-R Simon Brown, Nicola Portsmouth, Alan Portsmouth, Alex Woods and David Woods.


There was also a variety of family-friendly entertainment, award-winning street food from vintage vehicles, classic cars, the Guys & Doll’sVintage Hair Boutique, vintage fairground rides and inspired art workshops.


Festival producer Lauren Zawadzki said those involved felt it had been the busiest festival yet.


“We were really pleased with how everything went as planned,” she said. “Everyone we have spoken to has said it was their busiest year, and it was consistent over the two days.”


Visitors came from as far as Canada, Brighton, County Durham, Glasgow and Great Yarmouth to experience the festival.

Pictures Martin Bostock. Morecambe Vintage festival. The Gobbledegook Theatre Company.

Pictures Martin Bostock. Morecambe Vintage festival. The Gobbledegook Theatre Company.


“We did a lot of work with Morecambe BID beforehand to try to encourage people to experience the town as a whole, and as we walked around it was definitely busier,” Lauren added.


“Many of the visitors have been coming back every year, but others told us they had heard about it from friends and come to experience it for the first time.”


Festival founder Wayne Hemingway said: “From traders to local independent businesses to The Midland Hotel, to performers, everyone keeps telling us this was the busiest Vintage by The Sea yet.


“The weather was kind and we can comfortably say there was 45,000 plus there with a significant number of visitors from outside the region with visitors from every corner of the country.”

Pictures Martin Bostock. Morecambe Vintage festival.

Pictures Martin Bostock. Morecambe Vintage festival.

* See this week’s Visitor and Lancaster Guardian for more photos.

Pictures Martin Bostock. Morecambe Vintage festival. Ben Moorhouse and his Vintage Bedford Mobile Cinema.

Pictures Martin Bostock. Morecambe Vintage festival. Ben Moorhouse and his Vintage Bedford Mobile Cinema.