Next week is the annual Twinwood Festival at the Twinwood Airfield, here in Bedford. It’s a three day event over the August bank holiday celebrating the music, fashion and dancing of the 1920s through to the 1950s.
Acres of sprung wooden dance floors constantly vibrate to the rhythm of great dance tunes played by the best Swing and Rock’n’Roll bands around, and the thirteen themed festival venues, many in the original buildings, from the large bowl arena to the intimate Moroccan Night Club, are heavy with atmosphere. The festival-goers are an international crowd and looking around you feel that it’s just one great big happy fancy dress party with so many going to town in their vintage attire.
We caught up with Alice, a key member of the Twinwood team, to have a chat about the great event and why she loves it so.
What do you personally enjoy most about running this special festival?
I love the atmosphere the most. Everybody dresses so beautifully and everyone has a smile on their face. Of course, I also adore the music of the era, which is why we started Twinwood Festival 11 years ago.
The atmosphere here is so unique, because Twinwood Airfield is an original WW11 airfield, and as many people know, is where the legendary American band leader, Glenn Miller flew from when he disappeared in 1944. The last place he was seen was here, and this has fascinated the world ever since. The airfield and it’s original building and the site houses the Glenn Miller museum. During the festival, the old airfield comes alive again, and something magical happens that cannot be recreated at other venues. It really, really does feel like you have travelled back in time at Twinwood, and I think that’s why it has a special place in many hearts, and is why thousands of people from all over the world travel back every year to Twinwood.
How has it changed over the years?
The festival has grown massively in popularity, and with every years success we are able to make the following years festival even bigger and better, by improving the site, creating bigger dance floors and more stages, booking more bands and performers than the previous years, etc. We have also converted many hundreds, probably thousands of people to vintage! So many people call or email us after the festival to tell us how they had never been to anything like this before, and how much they loved it, and how they are going to learn to dance and buy a vintage wardrobe for next year.
So, any big plans for the future?
Twinwood was the first big vintage music festival of its kind. We want to be recognised as the very best vintage, retrospective music, art and fashion festival bar none, so I guess all we have to do is just continue what we’ve been doing for the past 11 years!
Finally, what’s great about Bedford?
I grew up here, and I call it home. We have everything here, I think Bedford is a well kept secret. There is a huge vintage and swing dance scene here for those who know where to look. I can’t think of many other towns the size of Bedford that have such a varied and vibrant culture. There is a lot of history attached to Bedford, and the town has been careful to preserve and honour its history, while continuing to move forward.
Thanks Alice, we cannot wait to be there.