Morecambe vintage festival pulls crowds to prom

The famous Morecambe weather played its usual tricks but the town still boomed thanks to another colourful vintage festival.

Tens of thousands of people packed into the town on Saturday to enjoy all manner of vintage entertainment on what was the busiest ‘opening day’ since Vintage-by-the-Sea began in 2013.

Simon Brown from Oxfordshire, and Charlotte Spowage and James Teagle from Leeds at the festival.

Simon Brown from Oxfordshire, and Charlotte Spowage and James Teagle from Leeds at the festival.

Persistent drizzle on Sunday meant crowds were down on the second day compared to previous years and a planned vintage cross bay walk with Queen’s Guide to the Sands Cedric Robinson had to be cancelled due to the weather.

But local people and visitors, some from other parts of the world including Switzerland, France and Spain, still had fun at the event.

Everybody we spoke to praised Morecambe and the festival and there were many people who had travelled huge distances to be there.

Simon Brown from Oxfordshire, who was dressed in vintage attire and was staying for the vintage weekend in a guesthouse in Morecambe, said: “I came to enjoy the majesty and grandeur of the landscape, to quote Victoria Wood.

Wayne Hemingway hosting Best in Show at the festival on Sunday.

Wayne Hemingway hosting Best in Show at the festival on Sunday.

“It’s nice to spend time getting dressed up. People smile at you and comment about how their dad used to wear a watch and chain, or how their mum wore a hat like that.”

Jude Beveridge from Carlisle said: “We love the festival, it’s fantastic.

“The kids have enjoyed it. There’s plenty for them to do.”

A road closure was in place on Marine Road Central all weekend and the area around the Midland and the Platform was transformed into a festival hub.

On Saturday all of the festival’s main areas - the grass outside the Platform, the Midland car park, the Promenade gardens and the area behind the Midland, were teeming with people from late morning until early evening.

Highlights of day one included the Best in Show parade of people dressed in vintage wear, the Vintage Marketplace selling old-style clothes and other items in the Platform, classic car displays, the Melodrome music stage, the Torch Club evening ball in the Midland and a triumphant ‘45 Live’ club night in a marquee behind the art deco hotel, hosted by MC Kwasi and featuring a DJ set from festival organiser Wayne Hemingway.

‘45 Live’ proved to be one of the success stories of the weekend as the ‘Little Big Top’ was transformed into a funky nightclub and packed with people dancing to cool soul, funk and hip-hop sounds.

Best in Show winners included Mal Neill, owner of the Berkeley guest house, and friends who dressed as characters from sitcom Dad’s Army.

Highlights of the Melodrome stage included witty singer-songwriter Kriss Foster and his ‘Ode to Morecambe’ and song about the Cumbrian Pencil Museum, and Pete Moser’s ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely One Man Band’ act where the artistic director of More Music donned a Beatles wig and moustache and sang hits from the Sergeant Pepper album while playing all instruments himself.

Anthony Padgett and Stephanie Sturges’ vintage dance displays in the Midland car park were also a draw for crowds on both days.

Roaming street theatre acts including Gary ‘Gacko’ Bridges, a showman and troubador from Barrow-in-Furness, and Jean and Morag, the tea ladies, were also popular.

Outdoor events were quieter on day two due to the rain although big crowds still packed into the Midland to see vintage dancing, including The Gatsby Girls, and the Little Big Top marquee was full for workshop activities and live music.

Sunderland Point fisherwoman Margaret Owen gave a talk in the Midland car park and as always, vintage cars including those from the Bradford to Morecambe car rally proved a big hit with onlookers.

The festival continued until tea time on Sunday.

For videos of the Vintage-by-the-Sea festival see our Facebook page facebook.com/thevisitornewspaper .