MORECAMBE VINTAGE: The view from inside the festival

Evonne Prior.
Evonne Prior.
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The unsung heroes of Vintage-by-the-Sea will be on site many hours before the public begin to arrive in their thousands.

And for many of the stallholders and businesses who will take part in Morecambe’s annual vintage playground this Saturday and Sunday, the festival is a highlight of their year.

Hairdressers Evonne Prior and Marie Crossley from Guys and Dolls salon in Lancaster will meet up with their team at 8.30am on Saturday and will make sure their own hair, make-up and clothes have that vintage look.

Then they will arrive at the Midland hotel mid-morning and set up ready to transform festival-goers with hair styles from days of yore; everything from a 1940s finger wave to the classic ‘60s beehive.

Evonne and Marie never considered a vintage-themed pop-up salon until they were approached by festival organisers.

“We love it now,” said Evonne.

“It’s something we wouldn’t normally be doing every day.”

Like many of those involved in the festival, they believe Vintage-by-the-Sea has been a shot in the arm for a struggling seaside town which has had its critics in recent years.

“It definitely changes Morecambe.

“The way Morecambe was before this happened, I feel like it was not a place that anybody would really tend to visit but it’s made Morecambe so much better now.”

Sisters Vix and Lou Lawson, who grew up in the resort, ran a stall at last year’s event.

They returned home after living abroad, saying this is because “Morecambe is getting quite vibrant and there is a lot happening”.

Previously they lived in a tent in Portugal on a farm with no electricity or running water. They said this freed up their mind to think about what they wanted to do in life.

So they decided to set up an environmentally-friendly business. From this, came two firms, Bough to Beauty, selling upcycled, laser cut wooden jewellery, and Bough to Beauty Badges.

They too wax lyrical about the impact of Vintage-by-the-Sea.

“The festival is absolutely wonderful for Morecambe.

“Everyone just seemed absolutely overwhelmed by how brilliant it was.

“People didn’t just pop along, you could see they had been planning the weekend for a while and made such an effort.

“Everything is there in Morecambe for this; the Winter Gardens, the Midland, the way the prom has been done now. You walk into The Midland and there is an atmosphere, you feel that history and they have managed to re-create that with the vintage festival and that’s what we love.”

Tom Barker runs Time 4 Flowers in Morecambe with his wife, Chantelle, a trained florist.

Being part of the vintage weekend means a manic day for the couple, as they have a physical business in Westgate to run as well as their stall on the seafront. So a lot of preparation is needed.

But Tom said Vintage is so well co-ordinated the set-up runs smoothly.

“The festival itself is probably one of the best things to happen to Morecambe in a long time,” he said. “It was good to see tens of thousands of people flooding into the town, we’ve not seen that since I was a little lad.”

Susan Gardener is part of The Sanctuary community cafe, a charity that brings ‘meals on wheels’ to the elderly.

She runs a craft stall at the festival with seating area for people to come and learn how to knit and crochet; a throwback to a simpler time.

“Last year we had an old guy of about 80 who sat down with us knitting,” said Susan.

“It all ran very smoothly, it was a very good event.

“My thoughts on Morecambe is it’s absolutely dead. It’s a town that’s dying and something like this shows what Morecambe can be and the potential if the right people put their minds together.”