Vintage victory for Morecambe festival

Vintage bike riders and Wayne Hemingway MBE at the festival. Photo by Emma Sudall at HemingwayDesign.
Vintage bike riders and Wayne Hemingway MBE at the festival. Photo by Emma Sudall at HemingwayDesign.

The Morecambe Vintage-by-the-Sea festival pulled more than 40,000 people to town and has been hailed as ‘the biggest and best yet’.

People from all over the UK have been raving about Saturday and Sunday’s stunning event with one visitor from Liverpool saying she was “blown away by the magic of Morecambe”.

Hotels were fully booked, cash tills were ringing non-stop in local businesses near the festival, car parks were chock-a-block and pubs were packed out all weekend.

The RAF Flight Commander who flew a Dakota plane over the seafront on Saturday said crowds were so huge it was the busiest festival he’d flown over this year.

Sunday was even busier as visitors in vintage gear and local people flocked to enjoy music, dancing, a dog show, classic car displays, a fairground, market and craft workshops in fine sunny weather.

Events were centred around the Midland hotel and Platform, and a section of Marine Road was closed off.

The Winter Gardens also put on nostalgic films and its new Parisian Bar did a roaring trade, as did Rita’s Cafe, Bruccianis, the Royal Bar and other seafront businesses.

Wayne Hemingway MBE, the Morecambe-born designer and TV personality whose London-based firm Hemingway Design co-runs the festival, said: “It was the best one of the three we’ve done.”

Elena Gifford of Morecambe events firm Deco Publique who co-produce the festival, said: “We couldn’t be happier with the weekend. We’re looking to next year already.”

Councillor Darren Clifford, chairman of Morecambe Town Council and cabinet member for tourism at Lancaster City Council, called the event “an unprecedented success” with “a party atmosphere”.

Mark Needham, manager of the Midland, said: “We served a record breaking 355 afternoon teas over the two days, Virtually every guest staying with us gave exceptional feedback on the whole weekend with almost all looking to pre-book for next year.”

The Visitor spoke to festival-goers from London, Leicester, Leyland and Oldham who all praised the event.

Julie Ehlen from Liverpool visited on Sunday with her partner Bernard, her first trip to Morecambe since her childhood.

“It was magical, I was blown away, it was spectacular,” she said.

“What got us to go was my memories of Morecambe as a kid and I’ve always loved Wayne Hemingway. You know it’s going to be a quality event if he’s involved.

“I’m now an advocate of Morecambe.”

Everyone looks so elegant,” said Terri Cowan, from Ireland, who was staying at the Midland and came over especially for the festival. “I love the whole vintage style. It shows Morecambe from a bygone age.”

Maria Haskins and Gill Davies, from Bristol, had never been to Morecambe before.

Maria said: “We love the decor in the Midland. It’s what attracted us to 
Morecambe. We went to the Torch Club on Saturday night, that was very good.”

Gary and Debra Roberts from Barnsley were staying at Pine Lake in Carnforth because “Morecambe was fully booked up”.

Gary said: “We’ve been to a couple of festivals but this one really stands out for us. We’re all about vintage but this encompasses the whole town and everyone can get involved.”

The festival was co-funded by Lancaster City Council (£20,000) and Morecambe Town Council (£18,000).