Friday, August 5, 2011

Vintage Festival 2011 at Southbank

Wayne Hemingway's Vintage Festival took place at London's Southbank Centre last weekend.

The event follows on from last year's Vintage at Goodwood, featuring music, fashion, film, art, design and British culture from the 1920s to the 1980s.

Held over the course of three days, a plethora of vintage shenanigans took place inside the Royal Festival Hall, and also spilled outdoors along the Thames.

I only went along on the Sunday, so I can't comment on the other days, but overall I had a pretty fun day out, despite a few gripes!

It was quite a last minute decision to go, as I got a cheap ticket through an online deal (in fact, most people I know also booked with this special offer). The original ticket price of around £60 per day was, in my opinion, too steep...

Quite predictably, my main plan for the day was to do as much dancing as possible, but I found the Torch Club (which, on the Sunday was located in the Clore Ballroom - where my sweetheart proposed to me!) to be quite deserted every time I went there. This was a shame, as it's such a big dance floor, and had great lighting with a disco ball casting a pretty twinkling effect around the room.

I did, however, dance in the Soul Casino, which despite feeling like a sauna, attracted a good crowd consistently throughout the day, and had the most constant flow of fun music to get me shaking my tail feather. Norman Jay's set was hands down the best session of the day for me. I normally love his sound system at the Notting Hill Carnival, and he definitely played some killer tracks at Vintage.

I feel like I spent a lot of the day walking up and down flights of stairs, moving from room to room trying to find something to get really excited about. One of the more exciting moments, was being stopped and given a VIP pass to the British Airways fashion show, complete with complimentary champagne and a flight attendant to escort us to our seats! It was interesting to see the various uniforms over the years, with some quite surprising and colourful ones thrown in between the standard navy blue suits.

I enjoyed the beautiful summer's day on the Southbank, people-watching and taking in the interesting, cute and spectacular outfit choices, spending the day with friends, and generally feeling lucky to live in such a vibrant and beautiful city that is home to so many fun events.

If I'm honest, there was a certain something lacking for me - I don't know if this is because I expected to be swing dancing more or because by the end I felt like a nomad moving from room to room searching for that certain je ne sais quoi...

The evening heralded a fun country and western band in The Torch ballroom, which proved rather enjoyable to me, it was just a shame that there was hardly anyone there to watch them! Following that, I went to catch the end of Snakebone's performance in the Let it Rock room, which by this point was more atmospheric, with a good crowd, people dancing all over the black and white checkered dance floor and a smoke machine induced haze enveloping the club.

The event has its pros and cons, and given the huge scale of it, it would be hard to make it perfect for everyone. Maybe if I had found my dancing mojo (or at least a few more guys to help me find it) I would be writing more of a rave review right now, but as it is, I will just say that I had well as a good night's sleep after eight hours of hoofing it up and down 5 flights of stairs...

On another note, my friend and I had our photo snapped upon arrival at the festival, and it appears on - go check out this guy's blog as he takes fab photos!

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