Party like a pin up
OMG! We can't wait. Retro Festival (Fri 9 – Sun 11 Aug) is like stepping into the final scene of Grease. Grab you skintight trousers and Letterman sweater, here's the best bits.
Practice your Victory Rolls and slick on the perfect red lip – it’s time to party like it’s 1940something. The Retro Festival is pitching up in Newbury from Fri 9 to Sun 11 Aug for a three-day extravaganza, dedicated to all things vintage.
This is a fun festival that’s more Land Girl dungarees than bottom grazing Daisy Dukes and you can swap your pear cider for a port cocktail. It’s an awesome day out – an A* in History almost guaranteed. Here’s Muddy highlights of one of the most unique festivals in the ‘hood.
In need of something naughty but nice? I have a friend who once wore something very similar to a fancy dress party – she was a bunch of grapes. Genius. But this kind of party entertainment is not for the eyes of children. The fabulous Spitfire Cabaret gals return to Retro Festival for a glittering and giggly evening of good old-fashioned saucy entertainment. Expect the glamour of burlesque, comedy and circus skills for a vaudeville show that’ll put a smile on your face.
There’s no Strictly ballroom, giant disco ball or the need to shower yourself in sequins, but you will find JiveSwing.Com, the UK’s leading swing dancers showing us how it’s done. They’ll be showcasing their high energy moves and whirligig legs with the 1940s Lindy Hop, 1920’s Charleston, Black Bottom, Blues and Authentic Jazz. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. JiveSwing.Com are national and international champs and have appeared on countless TV shows and ads. Basically, they’re the best. There’s also plenty of opportunities for you to take to the dance floor and learn the basics. Or just watch in awe.
CHANGE THE RECORD
The best bands you’ve never heard of, but you’ll know the music. Covering decades of sound, you’ll discover old school rock ‘n’ roll, 60s club music, and Swing on three different stages. Ronnie Scott’s residents, Kai Hoffman and her Kombo, will be performing on Saturday. A quality act, Kai has performed with (and for) Bruce Forsyth, Joss Stone and the Prince of Wales, and at venues all over the world. I also like the sound of Professor Gramaphone, a DJ with a difference. It’s described as cutting edge retro (anyone?), but mixing vintage swing with electro swing (not a clue) sounds brilliantly bonkers.
If you’re you’re a sucker for more hip swivelling rock ‘n’ roll action, make a beeline for the Black Hangar where you’ll hear the complete spectre of your favourite 50s and 60s music, from rockabilly to ballads and own original songs. Bo Walton & Red Alert perform on Sunday – and lead singer Bo has worked with legendary UK guitarist Mark Knopfler and composed music with the likes of Nik Kershaw.
Looking for something alternative? Ska Britannia will raising the roof on Sunday with covers of Madness, the Specials, Bad Manners, UB40 and The Kingsmen. And I’m loving the sound of The Highwasters – a) because the band’s name is a reflection of my wardrobe b) they’re a three-piece band from Reading and c) they fully embrace getting wasted and listening to the music of The Kinks, The Who, Small Faces and other Power-Pop classics.
HOT WHEELS (AND WINGS)
You gotta love a classic car. My wedding wheels was a Mark II Jaguar and my lust list motor is a Porsche 365 Roadster, but I’m £250,000 short of ever owning one, ogling is all I can afford. And there’s plenty to ogle here, Over 1,000 cars, bike, trucks and military vehicles will be parked up so you can reapply you lippy in the polished chrome, and drool. There will be an impressive show of military pre and post war displays, including a Field Hospital. But I’m here for the American Muscle cars and vintage Vespas – worth trying to reenact Grease and Quadrophenia is one afternoon, I reckon.
Speed demons, thrill seekers and anyone who loves the wow factor, will get revved up for the Wall Of Death. You’ll probably watch most it through your fingers as the Fox Family jump on their vintage Indian Scout motorbikes and ride a 20ft high vertical wall. It’s loud, it’s fast and the bikes are about six inches away from where you’re standing, but it’s an experience never to be forgotten. The kids may drive you up the wall, but don’t try this at home.
Lorry mad kids can also get behind the wheel of a Mini Movie Truck for a special driving experience. Go the full monty and cover all the cliches, cap, jeans with exposed bum crack and maybe a fake beard. There’s even a full-size replica Smokey & the Bandit rig will be on display. The chances of my boys having better driving skills than me are high.
A festival is not a festival without a fun fair and this year’s fairground has more than 30 attractions so expect to see all the classics: vintage carousel, Helter Skelter, waltzers, dodgem cars and the spinning swingy things .
BEAUTY SCHOOL DROP OUTS
Fancy a victory roll? Not a a Mr Kipling fancy or a an amorous post-war bunk up but a 1940s hair do to get you in the festival mood. Retro Dolls Hair & Beauty Parlour are setting up shop to add perfectly coiffured rolls, sassy up dos and Marilyn shorties, plus the a red lip and eyeliner flicks. It’s perfect for beauty school dropouts or anyone who adopts a quizzical look when confronted with rollers and hair pins (*ahem* that would be me). Advance booking online, is essential.
Advance day tickets: Adults £9 / Kids 11-16 £5 . Advance weekend tickets: Adults £45 / Kids 11-16 £20/ Under 11s FREE.
Retro Festival, Newbury Showground RG18 9QZ. Gates open:Friday 6pm till 11pm, Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 11pm.