Co-curated and produced in partnership by Deco Publique with Morecambe-born Wayne Hemingway MBE and Gerardine Hemingway MBE, the festival boasts an abundance of arts, culture and music from the 20s to the 90s as well as classic cars, marketplaces and RAF flypasts, it’s the perfect weekend to get suited and booted and head to the beach.
45,000 visitors enjoyed the free festival in 2018, making it the biggest one yet. This year the festival is expanding with the creation of original new arts projects, chiming with the winds of change in ambitions for Morecambe, with a feasibility study currently in place for an ‘Eden North’; three new landscape sculptures appearing earlier this year in the Morecambe Bay district and a real sense that arts and creativity are supporting the shaping of Morecambe’s progression as a cultural destination.
The promenade will be bustling with the best dressed visitors a festival can wish for, all enjoying a free weekend of brilliant fashion, design, music, workshops, street theatre and primped pooches.
2019 Programme highlights include:
- Two established marketplaces. The best handmade and up-cycled craft traders in the glorious Midland Hotel and, at The Platform, the Vintage Marketplace carefully curated by Dotty’s Vintage, where shoppers can expect to see the finest selection of mid-century modern homewares and records alongside impeccable clothes from the 20s to the 90s.
- A Vintage Mobile Cinema will be on The Midland Green throughout the festival. Featured on George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, this boutique 32-seater cinema has been restored to its 1967 glory days and is the last known remaining Mobile Engineering Training Centre, originally commissioned by the Ministry of Technology.
- Classic Vintage by the Sea events ‘Best in Show’, where decadent dressing is the name of the game, and the return of the ‘The Pooch Parade’ [Sunday only], where Morecambe’s most magnificent mutts strut their stuff, each return to out-do the reigning champion with new Master of Ceremonies, Paulus The Ringmaster. To sign up visit the CancerCare website.
- Experience the Morecambe Bay Cycle Way with a Vintage Bike Ride from the back of the Midland Hotel to Happy Mount Park for tea & cake, returning for prizes. Bring your classic racer, sit up & beg or 60s shopper. An opportunity to explore the natural landscape of the district with all the family and arrive at the festival in style. Book your place on Eventbrite.
- The RAF returns to Vintage by the Sea, this year with a Douglas C-47 Dakota - one of the most successful aircraft designs in history. It became one of the world's most famous military transport aircraft and saw widespread use by the Allies during World War Two and subsequently by Air Forces and civilian operators worldwide. Get ready to wave to the flyboys on Saturday and Sunday, keep an eye on the website for timings.
- The Melodrome Stage at the Promenade Gardens will be where to find an eclectic mix of live music throughout the weekend. Showstopping performances from, among others, energetic 80's tribute Betamax and Ska supremos The Guns of Navarone. Add into that the Routemaster Bus Bar DJ and there’s plenty to tap along to in the free music programme.
- Taking golf to a new level is Putt by Numbers, a new mini golf seaside special. Designed by The Exchange Creative Community with local artists and community participants from Morecambe Bay Primary, West End Primary, The Well, Stanley's Youth and Community Centre and at The Good Things community art studio in Morecambe Arndale - this is mini golf with a vintage twist! Participants have had chance to explore new creative disciplines first-hand from cyanotype photography, digital programming, painting, sculpture, craft and collage in the process.
- New for 2019 – shout Hip Hop Hooray with a Murphy & Mills, a Vintage by the Sea collaboration in the Little Big Top. The whole family can dance to a selection of the finest old school hip-hop classics, try a spot of break dancing and check out the talent from graffiti artists and painters from across the Northwest.
- Celebrating the centenary of the radically contemporary art school that opened in 1919 - take a seat in the pop-up Bauhaus schoolroom and choose from workshops inspired by Bauhaus in woodwork, printing, mural painting and more - with artist Charles Kondras and a charismatic collective of workshop leaders.
- The Vintage by the Sea After Party brings Britain's distinctive dance culture and DJ history to the fore by paying respect to our rich club culture and the DJs that have shaped it. Dave Haslam has DJ-ed over 450 times at the Haçienda and was DJing on the last night the Hacienda was open, 28th June 1997. A welcome return to Vintage by the Sea, he describes his eclectic dancefloor filling philosophy as playing the best records ever made one after the other. Tickets are available from Skiddle.
- The Classic Car Show rolls into Morecambe, with a handpicked selection of visually stunning vehicles taking their rightful place in front of the iconic Midland Hotel. A-Z from Alvis to Zundapp, and taking in Triumphs, Morris Minors, the star vehicle from Life on Mars and a Leyland Leopard - visitors will be taken on journey through truly vintage automotive design. If that’s not enough for petrol heads, they can catch the historic Bradford to Morecambe car rally when glides to a halt at the Bay Arena on Sunday.
- The Vintage by the Sea outreach programme engages with communities whose needs mean they can’t attend the festival weekend, yet are of a generation who would welcome a celebration of vintage experiences. Following on from Deco Publique’s two previous programmes of work with The Sands Care Home, this year, La Petit Mort will create Spectacles by the Sea, working with care homes in Morecambe and patients whose needs mean they can’t attend the weekend, yet are of a generation who would welcome a celebration of vintage experiences. La Petit Mort artists will draw on extensive experience working with older people living with dementia and Parkinson’s disease to engage residents in bespoke movement and music workshops.
Wayne Hemingway MBE said: “The regeneration of coastal towns is something that drives all of us at Hemingway Design and Vintage by the Sea is now an integral part of Morecambe’s resurgence. The festival has really helped the town be perceived as a place of fun and colour, in a meaningful way, demonstrating the social and economic benefits of cultural activity in making great places where people want to live and visit.
“Morecambe has taken the festival to its heart over the last seven years. There’s a growing confidence in the town, and from my meetings with Sir Tim Smit it is clear that the Eden Project team were given confidence by the fact that the town can attract and a cater for 45,000-plus people at Vintage by the Sea, many coming from afar. So we will take a bit of credit for the buzz that the Eden Project possibilities is causing!”
Lauren Zawadzki, co-director of Deco Publique, adds: “The Vintage by the Sea festival programme has attracted a staggering number of people to Morecambe for the last six years. For our seventh, and with the help of increased Arts Council funding, the programme offers more than ever, providing experiences for local families, vintage enthusiasts and cultural tourists. Deco Publique work year-round to bring Vintage by the Sea back to Morecambe and increasingly work to engage diverse audiences with our festival programmes: our now established partnership with promenade care homes takes the festival to an audience that can’t attend the weekend event for access reasons but through engaging with skilled and sensitive practitioners La Petit Mort, they can experience the music and dance of the vintage decades.”
Councillor Jean Parr, Cabinet member with responsibility for Arts, Culture, Leisure and Tourism, said: "The Vintage by the Sea festival is one of the highlights of Morecambe’s busy calendar of events every year.
It’s a spectacular event for the district and attracts thousands of people from across the country to our shores, many of whom return year after year to attend the event. Our local community loves it too as it brings with it the opportunity to celebrate Morecambe’s greatest attributes with a fantastic mix of things to see and do with a vintage twist and generates a real boost to the local economy.”
Vintage by the Sea returns after winning Visit Lancashire’s ‘Large Tourism Event of the Year in 2016’ and with new funding from Arts Council England.
Vintage by the Sea is co-curated and produced by Morecambe’s Deco Publique in partnership with Lancaster City Council and Hemingway Design’s Vintage Festival Team, led by Morecambe-born Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway MBE.
*The Best Retro & Vintage Events Around the World, The Guardian, 2014: https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2014/sep/07/retro-vinatge-events-around-the-world
Last updated: 28 August 2019