The fifth annual Festival of Vintage was held at York Racecourse over the weekend. The sunny weather drew in crowds for the loud, flashy and up-beat event. The festival, which was a celebration of popular cultures from the 20th century, was situated in two main grandstands. Spread across three floors were stalls of vintage clothing, furniture and living displays, where visitors could trawl down memory lane. Exhibitions of radios, cassette players, juke boxes and record players were not to be missed, while outside classic vehicles such as cars, caravans, scooters and bikes were lined up for the crowd to admire.
The festival also boasted fashion parades, exhibiting looks from the 1930s as well as a chance for collectors to find hidden treasures in the ‘collectors corner’. Alongside this there were many attractions and novelties for the public to try, such as a barber’s shop and beauty parlour for those who wished to achieve a truly authentic vintage look. Also avilable were free dance lessons, where visitors were encouraged to partner up and learn popular moves from the 1930s such as the Charleston, Foxtrot and Swing dance.
The dance hall was situated in one of the main stands which housed a stage and atrium so that visitors could look on and enjoy talented music acts covering songs from the likes of Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday and T-Rex.
Many of the visitors got into the spirit of the event and came dressed in vintage clothing from various eras. Some women wore traditional 50s floating prom dresses in brightly coloured florals and check prints with matching head accessories such as scarfs, turbans and flowers . Others wore more conservative tweed suits from the 40s with fur stoles, pearls and leather gloves.
Many men wore clothes imitating professional uniforms such as those from the armed forces. Some dressed as military officers from World War Two, one in an aviator’s brown leather bomber jacket and peaked cap, another in a pilot’s navy suit with gold braiding from the 50s. Others opted for attire inspired by the wealthy upperclasses of the 1920s such as the pinstripe suit, tie and waistcoat, complete with a pocket watch on a chain. Meanwhile, some men sported clothes from a later era, such as the retro ‘Grease Lighting’ look in leather jackets, rolled up jeans and waxed, back-combed hair.
The event proved very popular, attracting thousands of visitors, from people just looking for a unique day out, to die-hard vintage lovers. Over the two days, the festival provided people with the rare opportunity to observe some of the iconic styles of the past as well as purchase new or second hand items from the stalls of fresh upcoming designers.
Although these events usually attract the generations who grew up during the respective eras on show, it was nice to see a younger generation who also share this unique interest. Despite these styles rarely being seen on our streets today, the vintage festival created an alternate world where modern clothing seemed lacking and out of place. Overall events such as this allow us a chance to look back at a pioneering time for fashion and music that created and still inspires our lifestyles today.