Now that the nights are drawing in and the weather is most certainly beginning to feel rather like autumn, I find myself looking back at the summer and reminiscing. But let’s not feel down, summer has been great right? One event that I particularly enjoyed this year was Retro Festival, and although next summer may seem a long way off, it is definitely worth noting next year’s event from 12th – 14th August 2016 in your diaries now!
This year saw Retro Festival move from its old location at White Waltham Air Field to Newbury Show Ground (closer to me…what a bonus!). Not only has the festival moved, but in comparison to the last few years it has certainly got much BIGGER too! So I grabbed two girl friends (Papow was off enjoying San Francisco) and donned some vintage attire. Joining me for the day were Charmaine (my wonderful hairdresser of 11 years and owner of Charmaine’s Hair and Beauty) and the lovely Sara (a fellow pharmacist and old university friend). We jumped in Charmaine’s 1980s VW Golf Cabriolet and headed for Newbury!
I chose to rock my new Collectif Mary Vintage polka dot swing skirt in dusky blue. I got my hands on this little beauty in the recent 50% summer sale and it is quickly becoming one of my favourite things in my whole wardrobe because of its versatility. Firstly the skirt can be worn with or without the braces. The braces themselves feature several button holes so the straps can be adjusted to the desired fit. This allows them to simply be worn over the shoulder, or lengthened and crossed over at the back. For Retro Festival I chose to wear the skirt with the braces and combined it with a Primark White Bardot top, Primark white broderie anglaise pumps, Accessorize nautical earrings and the Collectif navy Lorena hat.
Back to Retro Festival…the festival itself is held over three days, this year between 7th – 9th August, and what a gloriously sunny weekend it was! There is so much to see and do (and spend your pennies on) that I can completely understand why so many love to camp and enjoy all that is on offer over the three days. Unfortunately, due to work commitments, our party of three were only able to attend on Sunday 9th. As this may the same for others, I have decided to put together a list of my top 5 things to do if, like us, you only have one day to play with!
1. The Vintage Market
Shopping, endless shopping! There are over 200 stalls offering everything from true vintage clothing, accessories, jewellery and home wares, to reproduction vintage clothing, retro sweets, classic car and aircraft models, vinyl records, artwork, and sewing and knitting patterns. Most stalls accept card/PayPal payments as well as cash if (like me) you love everything you see and drastically underestimate how much money to bring with you! I managed to pick up some hair scarves, cat eye sunglasses, hair flowers, tweed hats, Elvis Presley merchandise, handmade pin-up girl earrings and Hell Bunny nautical cardigans and waist belts. You can also pop into the vintage hair and beauty stall where hairdressers style your hair appropriately for the occasion. There is even a vintage photo booth “Bluebell” the caravan where you can dress up in a massive array of beautiful clothes and accessories and come away with some photos to remind you of the day!
2. A spot of Tea and cake
You are spoilt for choice with the wide range of food stalls and bars on offer throughout the festival site. One of the places we stopped off that it definitely worth a visit is Daisy’s Vintage Tea Room. They have an array of tea, coffee and cake for you to choose from all served on beautiful mis-matched china tea cups and saucers. My personal favourite…the carrot cake and Earl Grey!
3. The Vintage Fun Fair
Okay, so I admit, this is in the “Family Zone” but who says only children can appreciate classic fun fair rides and candy floss. My highlight of the fun fair was the classic carousel!
4. Classic Vehicles
There are over 1000 vehicles on show on show at Retro Festival including classic cars, steam engines, VW campervans, American RVs, race cars, vintage motorcycles, and caravans. My personal favourites were the tear drop caravans, Morris Minors, Minis, Mustangs, Cadillacs and Chevrolets. Not only can you spend hours wandering around these vehicles, there are also classic car and aerobatic displays, and even the chance to have a chat with vehicle owners and members of vintage car and motorcycle clubs.
The main musical events at Retro Festival are split into three areas; the Black Hanger, The Ricky-Tick and The Spitfire Pavilion, all of which continue well into the evening. The Black Hanger is for all the Rock n Rollers and rockabilly lovers. Here you can jive, swing, boogie-woogie, foot tap, and bop to not only the well-known classics but the band’s own compositions as well. The Ricky-Tick is where to go for music from the 1960s Mod, Ska, and Northern Soul era. The Spitfire Pavilion was my favourite music area. Here they held swing dance lessons, swing dance shows, a vintage fashion show, and burlesque acts all accompanied by live swing bands. The girls and I enjoyed drink in the beautiful afternoon sunshine watching the amazing dancers here…what a relaxing way to wind down after all of that shopping!
I will most definitely be returning to Retro Festival next year, and I am sure it won’t take much convincing to make sure Cacao Papow joins me this time. And remember, if you are a fellow lover of all things vintage/ pin-up and are planning on attending drop us a line as we would love to meet any locals that share our passion!