As someone behind me in the wristband queue said, “we are about to step onto the bus and pass through the portal into the 1940’s.” It’s a pretty accurate way of describing my Bank Holiday Saturday spent at Twinwood.
I could write possibly the longest Blog Post ever imagined talking about Twinwood Festival in the most precise detail, but for impacts sake, I will keep this a short excited bubble of a post.
I loved it! I could finish it there, but I won’t. Eve couldn’t make it, so sorry but you are going to have to get some details and serious green envy.
I have been to Goodwood Revival before, so I thought I knew what to expect from this retro festival. However the event managed to exceed all expectations and to me… knocked Goodwood out of the park, or should that be vintage suitcase? (Although to put that into context I don’t know anything about cars so I am slightly biased.) Twinwood swapped Goodwood’s racetrack for dance floors, and had the friendliest people attend that I have ever experienced meeting at a festival. This was all then topped off with a really celebratory feel to the whole event, which kept my excitement topped up even when my taxi turned up late.
My first impressions were good; I made friends on the Bus, which as it turns out is a good sign. The bus transports you across a field to the arena, through an imaginary portal, and whilst chatting away I spied some cute retro campers and airstream trailers in the camping site. So far so good… To make matters better, when I rounded the corner of the festival I was met with a bar (with Twinwood’s own Ale – Hooray!); a very cheap vintage stall, where I instantly bought a black handbag for £12 which completed my look, and the main stage where newbie dancers were already learning Lindy Hop. Insert big girlie squeal here.
The event was on point with little wartime mementos in hidden bunkers, an amazing Officers Mess Bar and the addition of The Soul Shack where I was stunned watching the footwork of Northern Soul dancers.
Music wise, high points for me were Fedora Café; who were the house band at the Casablanca Club, my god can that woman sing! But my favourite performers were The Electric Swing Circus who introduced me to my newly favourite music genre, electric swing. If you haven’t heard of electric swing before, then definitely give them a listen. They are so much fun to listen to live, or via the Internet and I thoroughly enjoyed their lively set, joining in with the Charleston dance moves and singing along to many of their recognisable numbers, including ‘Everybody Wants To Be A Cat.’
Oh and how could I forget Terry’s Late Nite Lounge in The Tin Hat? On the Saturday they were having some issues with the sound and at one point all the power went off. And it was actually a magical moment. With everything off someone put a torch onto the floor and a bunch of guys with what I would assume were tap shoes started hitting the floor making a new beat for people to dance to. That was a cool moment.
Over all, I am sure you can guess, I had a great time whilst rummaging through the stalls and trying my hand at dancing. Thank you once again to the gentleman who risked his toes to sweep me around the dance floor in a Waltz; despite playing bumper cars with a few other dances I loved every second of it. It has in fact made me realise how much I enjoy dancing and I am now determined to find a Swing club local to me, so if you know one in Hampshire or Berkshire let me know!
If you are remotely interested in swing dance or ‘oldie’ music, as I have eloquently described it in the past, then get yourself to Twinwood. It’s a great day or weekend of escapism, dress up and enjoy the infectious good vibe. Yes it’s an exciting atmosphere and celebration for all things vintage but I don’t think you would even need a strong interest in it to be impressed by this very well put together event. I forgot to mention the remote control army car! There was a remote control army vehicle being driven by a bear… tell me that isn’t ridiculous and that you don’t need to see it!
Whether you are a Goodwood or Twinwood lover it just depends what exactly you are looking for. This post isn’t about one being better than the other because they are both marvellous events. For me an exciting festival involves a music filled and foot tapping time, accompanied with browsing vintage stalls, stepping on people’s toes (sorry again) and enjoying just a hand full of gorgeous cars and a few loop de loops from a Spitfire. Could you need anything more from a weekend?
Next year I will be there all weekend. I look forward to seeing you there too.