Monday, 3 August 2015

Dubtoberfest - Not So Ace On The Base




We've traded at fifteen festivals and, just like with vintage fairs & markets, you expect the occasional duff event. Three years in and sadly last weekend's Dubtoberfest (held on the site of an old MoD airbase) was the one.

Saturday Evening on Vintage Street. More like Dereliction Alley if you ask me.
If it had been just us who hadn't done well we'd have put it down to having the wrong stock but when the tea stall had to give their cakes away for free and some traders hadn't even covered their £60 pitch fee then you know something was seriously amiss. In fact, between all three vintage clothes traders not one of us sold a single dress throughout the entire weekend which, with over 1000 camping tickets sold and hundreds of day visitors through the gates, is absolutely bizarre. 


We were promised an exclusive area packed with vintage traders, the entrance marked by a huge banner, there would be Hot Rods, a BMX display and a pop-up tea room. Instead we got a tiny chalkboard sign that most of us didn't even notice until Saturday afternoon, six vintage stalls surrounded by sellers trading in hand made, mass-produced or imported goods, a tiny caravan selling cake and a vintage truck parked at the end of the row. 


Admittedly gorgeous but, in my opinion, not a patch on this vintage Indian which belonged to the partner of a fellow trader.

Linking to Judith's Hat Attack #25

The Show & Shine, a big draw at any classic car show, was arranged on the runway behind us, instead of the usual set-up where the trade stalls face the display, enabling people to admire the vehicles and browse the market area at the same time. The way it had been arranged meant that the visitors only saw the back of our pitches so once they'd seen the display they headed back to the main arena, completely bypassing us.


I'd have liked to have shown you some photos of stylishly dressed shoppers but with the exception of our fellow traders you could have counted the number of women in clothes other than jeans, VW vests & hoodies on the fingers of one hand. If we'd have been given a programme we might have taken some photos of the activities we'd only heard about after reading about them on the Facebook page after we got home last night.


The bands only played during the evening so most of the weekend's musical entertainment came from our boombox. A rockabilly covers group did a live set on Sunday afternoon but, by then, the traders had already decided that we'd given it our best shot and were too busy dismantling our stalls (and battling with the gale force wind) to go and watch.  


If you ignored the stench wafting over from the neighbouring landfill site, the setting was picturesque, the sunsets were stunning, the toilets were immaculate and the company was fantastic.

With our friends Hannah & Laura from Make Do & Vintage
Several festival goers (admittedly one so pissed he could barely stand) told us it was the best weekend of their lives so Dubtoberfest must have been a success for some, just not if you're a trader.


We're off to spend all our profits on a slap-up lunch in Wetherspoons (a whopping £17 to show for the best part of four days of hard work).

See you soon!

Monday, 27 July 2015

Up The Junction - Indietracks 2015



Its not often I can claim to be appropriately dressed but when I spotted a pair of Thomas The Tank Engine curtains in a charity shop the other day I knew I had to make them into a dress for Indietracks, the unique music festival combining steam trains with Indiepop music which takes place at Swanwick Junction at the Midland Railway Museum in Derbyshire.


If ever a dress was the centre of attention then this was the one, small children stood transfixed pointing out Edward, Thomas and James, grown men became misty eyed nostalgics recalling the bedroom curtains of their childhood and I even got a walk-on part in Indietracks, The Movie.


This weekend was our fifth Indietracks and our third as traders. 


The first train pulled into the station at 6pm, delivering a legion of excited Indie kids to this year's festival.


Within minutes those incredible deadstock 1970s brown & yellow Dunlop shoes got snapped up (and we'd only bought them on Thursday!)


Friday night was filthy, the rain was torrential and the temperatures were more akin to Winter than the height of Summer. Indietracks has a multi-national clientèle and desperately cold Southern Europeans & Californians were snapping up cosy jumpers, scarves and wool trousers.






Fortunately Saturday was dry and warmer. I even took my coat off for a couple of hours in the afternoon.






Business was brisk and the sunset was spectacular. After shutting up shop we popped down to the Indie disco in the passenger shed and had a dance, proudly admiring the number of people dressed in vintage clothes they'd purchased from us over the years.


Sunday was appalling, torrential rain and high winds. The dress I'd packed was sleeveless and reluctant to spend another day in my coat I borrowed the 1970s Martin Emprex quilted maxi off the rails (I'd worn it at Cornbury a fortnight ago). 


Jon donned the 1950s llama wool overcoat I'd found for £5 on a second-hand stall on the market a few weeks ago, got papped by the press and published in the Nottingham Post. (HERE)
Courtesy of the Nottingham Post


The bag of White Zinfandel we opened at 11am certainly helped to take the chill away.


Not that a bit of inclement weather puts off the hardcore festival goers. 


Between acts on the main stage we cranked up the volume on our boombox and danced the day away.


After shutting up shop for the final time we headed off to see the incredible The Go! Team. We first saw them at the Big Chill back in 2006 and if anything they were better than ever. 


We were up bright and early to pack up & dismantle the stall and drive back to wet and windy Walsall. 


We've got three days at home and then we're off to Dubtoberfest.

See you soon!

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

The Fab Four(teen) - The Liverpool Legacy


We're often approached by people wanting to sell us their old clothes. A lot of the time its moth-eaten fur, repro or just not good enough to adorn our rails (not all vintage is good vintage) and we have to graciously decline. Last weekend was different. A visitor to our stall told me she had a pile of brightly coloured & boldly patterned clothes purchased from various Liverpool boutiques in the late '60s and early '70s and wondered if I'd be interested in taking a look.....hell, yes!

These are the fourteen pieces I had to buy.


How about these four gorgeous maxi skirts? A stunner of a Liberty of London & Marion Donaldson collaboration. The brown moss crepe beauty is hand painted with multicoloured dots.


The lady bought this 1960s mini dress by Shelana as it was very Cilla Black, seemingly every Liverpool lass's sweetheart back in the day. I love the Zanie label on the Ossie Clark inspired blouse.


The John Charles bib-fronted velvet maxi was another dress she'd bought after seeing Cilla in something similar . 


She'd never worn this pretty glazed cotton maxi dress by London label Dolly Day.


What are the chances?! I own this Medieval-inspired brocade 1960s maxi by Dollyrockers (the groovy fashion label modelled by Patti Boyd, George Harrison's first wife) in blue. This wine coloured version has never been worn.


Three slinky printed maxis, all made in England.


A seriously groovy psychedelic catsuit.


This psychedelic maxi dress by Samuel Sherman (the in-house designer for Dollyrockers) takes my breath away. Anne bought it as it reminded her of the artwork from The Yellow Submarine. 


 She wasn't wrong, was she?


All of them are fabulous and colourful enough to grace the Kinky rails!


Its been a full-on couple of days in preparation for our next festival, Indietracks. As a distraction from the tedium of washing, ironing, pricing and mending I dusted off my Hot Sticks (£1 from a car boot sale) and curled my hair.


I was born with a poker-straight hair but always loved curls. As a child I insisted Mum rag-rolled my hair before bedtime and throughout the 1980s had a love affair with the Babyliss crimper followed by a succession of spiral perms. At the tail end of the Naughties I splashed out on a beach wave perm at Toni & Guy which I absolutely loved. I'm tempted to get it done again.

Vintage 1970s halter-neck maxi dress (99p, eBay), Mr Brainwash poster (Krista, 2012)
Right, I'd better get back to the pricing pile, we've got to pack the van tomorrow (and hopefully squeeze in a car boot sale) and there's still loads to do.

See you soon.

PS: Check out my interview with the fabulous Sara over on Bella's blog HERE!

Monday, 20 July 2015

To The Manor Born



If Glastonbury is too big and Cornbury too posh, how about the National Trust's annual Speke Hall Vintage Festival? 


A quintessentially English weekender with classic cars, vintage & handmade stalls, live music, a bar, a pop-up tea room set in the grounds of a stunning Tudor manor house on the banks of the River Mersey. 


The stunning black and white timbered facade.


The interior features a mix of Tudor simplicity combined with designs from the Arts & Crafts movement including some beautiful William Morris wallpaper.


The kitchen garden and landscaped lawns are gorgeous.


The Vintage Festival in full swing.


An eclectic assortment of traders.
Fabulous girl group, The Bobby Pins (Hello, Gina!)

Over 199 classic cars on display, including a very smart Rolls Royce owned by some of our regular customers from Stockport's Vintage Village.



And very civilised it is too, many visitors bring a picnic and laze around on the lawn all day.



Together with our mates, Lyndsey, Steve & Dexter of Boomerang Retro, it was our second year of trading at Speke.





Dexter's definitely the boss.


So much fun that you can hardly call it "work".  The good folk of Liverpool are an absolute joy, they love to chat and adore vintage, especially of the colourful & flamboyant variety, so our stock went down a storm.


Becky looking gorgeous in a late 1960s maxi by Shubette.


We were hugely touched by several customers who'd been so happy with last year's purchases that they'd made a return trip just to come and see us.  


Not only do we get to sell and chat about vintage all day long but, when the visitors leave, we get to camp in the gardens of Speke Hall and pretend that its all ours.

My vintage maxi (seen in full in the first photo) came all the way from the States, from blog reader Cindy who found it in a Dakota thrift shop. It was much admired!


What a fab weekend. A massive thanks to the wonderful Alex having us back and again making us so very welcome (why didn't I take a photo?)

1970s cherry blossom maxi from Bristol's fabulous Whistlestop Vintage

We're off for a slap-up lunch in Wetherspoons. Catch you later!