It’s the Festival of Vintage at York Racecourse on April 26 and 27 – and it promises a weekend of style, music, dance and totally adorable, utterly inspirational interiors and home wares, not to be missed.
Now in its fourth year, the Festival of Vintage allows visitors to step into a wonderful wonderland inspired by decades gone by. If you have never been to a vintage event before, or if you suspect that all this “stepping into the past” stuff is not for you, this is a good place to give it a go and have your preconceptions challenged.
For many enthusiasts, vintage isn’t about living in the past, but about learning from and being inspired by the best of what has gone before. The quality and workmanship alone is inspirational, and of course, it’s eco-friendly and usually very economical.
Much of the Festival of Vintage takes place indoors at York Racecourse, which means no one has to worry about the temperamental April weather.
The event is organised by Keeley Harris, event organiser extraordinaire, who has a great eye and is a talented and experienced stager of vintage fashion shows and retro-fabulous events, gives talks and advice and sources and sells her own vintage fashion, furniture and curios.
This year the Festival of Vintage celebrates 50 years of Mod Culture (1964-2014) with music, scooters and trademark urban-cool fashion.
Music, dance and entertainment are real features. Among those appearing over the weekend are five piece jazz band The Swing Commanders, and last year’s winner of a National Vintage Award, Bexi, whose 1950s’ influences include Diana Dors and Dinah Washington.
Plus you’ll see professional singers Miss Jayne Darling and Miss Natasha Harper, Rockabilly band Danny and the Swampmen and, if you fancy a taste of the exotic, retro style, York’s Coquette Burlesque and cabaret events present showgirls, chanteuses and vaudeville, with performers including April Lindsay, Lily La Belle and Georgia Honey.
There will also be a vintage Beauty Parlour where Bethany Davies and her team offer vintage primping and preening including Victory Rolls and Finger Waves. Check out www.bethanyjanedavies.com
There will be Vintage Fashion Parades featuring daywear and eveningwear from the 1930s to the 1960s from Dreamdate Vintage and a showcase of vintage-inspired dresses and separates by the fantastic 20th Century Foxy, an online company based in Elland, near Huddersfield, based on original styles from the 1930s to the 1950s, and including a curvalicious plus-size range. Check out www.20thcenturyfoxy.com
The Festival of Vintage is a must too for brides to be, because there will also be a showcase of beautiful vintage wedding dresses and acccessories from Glory Days Vintage, which has a boutique in York, with the most gorgeous gowns (I’ve been and seen) starting at around £200 and also offers a bespoke service through which a bride can get any vintage style made up to fit her to perfection. Check out www.glorydaysvintage.co.uk
A real highlight and spectacular of the Festival of Vintage is the Best Dressed Competition. In fact there are two of them, one on each day at 4pm when vintage-togged visitors and exhibitors present themselves for a fashion parade in their fabulously recreated vintage looks – men and women take part, for a prize of £100 cash and a rosette.
Dancing is a vital part of the weekend too and there are workshops so you can learn various moves, from Rock n Roll to swing and jive.
But most of all, there is great shopping to be had. If you talk to vintage lovers in Yorkshire, they will tell you that there are vintage fairs – and then there is the Festival of Vintage. Some exhibitors choose to do only this one and it is a massive fair, with more than 120 stalls and exhibitors of fashion, homewares, ceramics, textiles, books and furniture. This year will feature a 1960s’ living room from Retrolicious www.retrolicious.co.uk and a 1950s’ kitchen from Claire Rocks. And if you need advice on bringing something beautiful back to life, there’s the Make Do & Mend Corner with free workshops.
There are collections of juke boxes www.jukejoint.co.uk and Andy’s Radio & record Players, plus a collections of vintage cars, motorbikes, caravans and scooters and you can enter your own classic vehicle for display, should you happen to have one parked about doing nothing that weekend.
So, there we go … plenty to keep all fascinated and satisfied (don’t forget the vintage style teashops – just the best).
It’s £10 per adult per day on the door, under 16s free (although children are not admitted without a paying adult) and you can go online to buy a two-day pass for £16 if you want to go both days.
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