You could tell that months of planning and work had gone into setting up the festival, with every staircase and room hosting a different themed bar and dancefloor. It was fun wandering around and discovering all the little areas scattered around the Royal Festival Hall.
Also, the Vintage Marketplace was huge, and free to browse. It took about half an hour just to do a circuit of the stalls, and at the back (the ‘high street’) there were massive temporary Cath Kidston and Benefit shops. These were some of the things I bought (okay, window-shopped for):
I still think that £60 was too much for an all-day event on a Friday. On the Sat and Sun you could go in the day, do some workshops, wander round, then pop home and have your tea and return for some hard-core dancing. On a Friday people are coming after work and are unlikely to pay £60 for what is essentially a night out in a club (well, 6 clubs, each from a different decade, but even so it’s a bit steep). Might be something to change next year. It meant that some of the areas were quite empty late at night. I did hear it was totally sold out on the Saturday though.
So anyway, I took about a million photos. Here is the Tupperware Man’s stall – luckily I arrived before he’d packed up for the day, so I managed to get some pictures of his lovely vintage 60s kitchen.
I was impressed with how much people had dressed up for the event. Here is a line of ladies waiting to get their free vintage hair-dos.
I think the 1930s themed Torch Club was my favourite space. They had palm trees scattered everywhere, barmen in bow-ties, and some older ladies and gentleman giving it serious welly on the dance-floor. There was a three-piece guitar band who played this song from the jungle book, and people started getting up on the dance floor one by one and dancing the Charleston in a sophisticated line-dance formation, it was truly amazing and made me wish I was not totally unco-ordinated.
I was looking forward to the 60s area which was held in the Clore Ballroom but there just weren’t enough people there to make it a good atmosphere – it could probably comfortably hold 800 people. I did enjoy watching people doing some Northern Soul dancing though, it always warms the cockles of my heart as they look so serious, bless them. At least they got lots of space to do some moves.
Overall I’d say that that the tickets were too expensive, given that once you were there you had to spend more money. Drinks were not cheap, and all of the vintage props had a price-tag attached. Perhaps it was worth it if you went on a Saturday or Sunday – there were a lot of empty areas in the evening where presumably workshops/events were held during the day. What really made it for me was seeing all the impeccably dressed people who had turned up, and things like the vintage line-dancing, all of which relied on the punters rather than the actual organisers…
Still, wandering around the Royal Festival Hall sipping a gin and tonic isn’t a bad way to spend a Friday night. To finish off, here’s a lovely soothing picture of the 50s style carpet for you. Rest your eyes on the undulating green waves and dots…