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Morecambe Celebrates A Vintage Decade

A decade since the first Vintage by the Sea festival took Morecambe by storm, this year’s free event on September 2 and 3 promises attractions and activities both familiar and new.

Thousands of visitors are guaranteed a nostalgic journey down memory lane at the 10th anniversary year of a festival co-founded by Morecambe-based art and culture company, Deco Publique and Morecambe-born designer, Wayne Hemingway.

“This great seaside town’s star is rising and HemingwayDesign is proud to be playing a small role in it,” said Wayne.

“In the ten years of Vintage by the Sea in my birth town of Morecambe we have witnessed more than 300,000 people enjoying the revelry of the festival, including more than 60,000 people who had never visited the town before, not a spare hotel room for miles around, and a combined spend of over £8 million in the town.”

Since 2013, this festival has produced a retro party to end all parties with revels including pop-up Charleston dance lessons, a vintage fashion parade, DJs spinning the discs aboard a Routemaster bus and street theatre featuring Viv the Spiv and the Jean and Morag tea ladies among others.

This tribute to the cultural movements of the Twenties to the Nineties, features everything vintage from a fairground and hair and beauty salon with Mrs Smith Hair Salon, to buses, cars and the Vintage Mobile Cinema screening footage from the Morecambe of yesteryear.

And all eyes will be on the skies when iconic wartime aircraft, the Spitfire, flies across Morecambe Bay on the Sunday.

This year, an extra special way to celebrate two anniversaries at once is the Torch Club Ball at The Midland Hotel which marks its 90th birthday this year. The hotel also hosts festival afternoon teas accompanied by Mr Melody Man. Both are ticketed events which must be booked by calling the hotel on 01524 428370.

Among the international elements of the festival will be performances by The Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band on Sunday and a chance to catch Dandyism dance – inspired by the gentlemen of the Congo – performed at the Winter Gardens on Saturday and Sunday.

The festival also offers a varied range of family friendly activities including the debut appearance of the Wagon of Dreams with its cargo of mermaids and fantastical sea creatures to keep the young ones amused.

Also new for 2023 is family rave company – The Playhouse Project – providing a daytime rave experience aimed at parents who miss their clubbing days.

Among the free festival workshops is one which provides a souvenir of the 10th anniversary. Designer, Charlie Kondras has been commissioned to create a special edition poster which visitors can screen print for themselves.

There’s also an opportunity to create personalised badges at a workshop led by Seaside Industries or join artist Ian Halawi to produce a relief printed image inspired by Morecambe and the surrounding area.

Anyone aged 8+ can participate in a Diamond Awl leatherworking session to make a sunglasses holder or card wallet at a cost of £8.

Local artist, Molly Bland will explore design with festivalgoers, creating paper bag hand puppets inspired by Sixties toy designer and illustrator, Fredrun Shapur’s ‘Playsacks.’

While most of the festival is free, there’s plenty of opportunities to spend at the Vintage Marketplace in The Platform and the Makers Market in the Midland Hotel.

And visitors can dance the night away at the festival After Party led by ex Portishead, Andy Smith, in the Little Big Top, on the Saturday. Tickets must be booked in advance and are selling fast.

Vintage by the Sea events takes place in and around the Midland Hotel, Promenade Gardens, the Winter Gardens and The Platform.

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