Morecambe was alive with music, dancing, street food and entertainment as more than 45,000 people celebrated classic design at the weekend when the award-winning Vintage by the Sea returned after a two-year Covid enforced absence.

Vintage by the Sea was a people watcher’s paradise with thousands of attendees entering into the festival spirit and wearing authentic vintage fashions admired and judged during the Best in Show catwalks.

Street theatre and even aerial performers swinging from a giant swing set delighted visitors as did the first ‘home’ performances of Quite Unfit for Females, celebrating the achievements of pioneering female footballers, by Lancaster-based About Time Dance Company.

Meanwhile, the Old Time Sailors brought their special brand of shanty singing to the seaside with performances on the Saturday.

And there was much vintage fun to be had at a range of participatory activities from pop-up dance classes to a Rapid Painting Competition and Vintage Bike Ride.

But bicycles weren’t the only form of vintage transport at the festival as the Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust carried passengers along the Prom while DJs played soul, funk, rock and roll vinyl records from the top of a Routemaster bus.

The Midland Hotel was the perfect backdrop for a variety of classic cars and motorbikes from American Chevrolets to the Morris Minor milk float that took Best in Show in the Classic Car competition. Visitors were treated to even more on Sunday with the Bradford to Morecambe Car Rally.

Family friendly workshops transformed the Little Big Top into a hive of activity where traditional printing, leatherworking, badge-making, vinyl record upcycling, retro packaging design and collage activities were on offer to hundreds of participants hungry to learn new craft and design skills.

Those inspired by Morecambe’s famous view, which brought blasts of sunshine through the weekend, could capture the scene for the newly commissioned artistic project, What Are You Looking At?

And there was plenty to look at in the Vintage Marketplace, which drew the most visitors on record for The Platform, and modern-day crafts at the Makers Market held in the Winter Gardens for the first time which also welcomed thousands of people across the weekend.

Music guaranteed to transport visitors to decades past, played at various festival venues including the chances to dance the night away at the 1930s Torch Club Ball in the Midland or there was at the Afterparty in the Little Big Top presented by Hacienda veteran, Dave Haslam with DJs including Morecambe-born Wayne Hemingway, a co-founder of Vintage by the Sea.

The festival was curated and produced by Morecambe-based art and culture company, Deco Publique in partnership with Lancaster City Council, and both were pleased to see the huge crowds of visitors celebrating along the seafront.

Lancaster City Council's cabinet member for arts, culture, leisure and wellbeing, Coun Sandra Thornberry, said: "We were delighted to welcome so many people to Morecambe over the weekend. It was lovely to see families enjoying the various activities and entertainment on offer at the festival and visiting Morecambe's shops, cafes and restaurants.

"The scale of the festival and the calibre of the acts and artists involved is continuing to ensure Vintage by the Sea's reputation as a festival of national significance."

Wayne Hemingway said it was heartwarming to see his birth town alive during the festival and to hear all the stories from businesses across the town about having their busiest weekend.

"Vintage by the Sea is now a must attend event not just for locals but also from across the North and further. The Best in Show had attendees from Worthing, Brighton, Hastings, London, The Hague and Montreal and for most, it was a first visit to Morecambe and all said they will be back.

"The event was designed to help the resurgence of Morecambe as a coastal resort of note. We know that Sir Tim Smit of the Eden Project felt that Morecambe could be a place that could support Eden North because of the numbers that Vintage by the Sea attracted and successfully catered for. The town can be proud that it hosts an event that makes people very happy, attracts new visitors, and has enormous economic impact and long term place marketing value."

Festival curators, Deco Publique, added: "We are absolutely thrilled to see Vintage by the Sea return to such a reception. Our festival visitors - local, national and international - created an atmosphere of celebration that will be hard to forget.

"We saw a packed promenade, dancing on the seafront and thousands of people participating with early figures suggesting high attendance across the festival. The town and its admirers showed up, creating a significant impact for Morecambe that evidences why we must continue to work together to create meaningful cultural experiences of this scale."




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