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Home » Arts & culture, Entertainment, Featured

Twinwood Festival

Submitted by on August 16, 2012 – 11:58 am12 Comments

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.

The site couldn’t be more authentic.Twinwood, was the last place that Glenn Miller was alive and where he flew from on that last fateful flight,and also where he performed his only outside concert to an RAF audience. It was the departure point for stars such as Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, The Andrew Sisters, David Niven,and many more as they flew out on a daily basis to entertain the troops. It was Bedford that all these stars, including Miller, and in fact the BBC were based during World War II.
The range of music from the best live bands around is huge ranging from the Weimar era and the exquisite Max Raabe and Palast Orchester,to Campfire Gypsy Jazz from bands such as Kings Cross Hot Club and Moscow Drug Club, to the big Rock n Rollers of today such as Si Cranstoun and Oo-Bop-Sh’Bam,and of course the Glenn Miller swing as played by Glenn’s nephew, John Miller,with his Orchestra.
On top of the massive line-up there’s so much more to do. You can explore the historic buildings and museums on the site,browse around the huge vintage market, take dance lessons from one of the many workshops, listen to fascinating historic lectures, enjoy the glamour pageant and fashion shows, gaze in awe at the Mustang and Spitfire as they thrill the crowd, taste the local real ales and ciders, have a go in the Open Mic Club,have a make-over in one of the hair and beauty parlours, enjoy late night burlesque and alternative cabaret, or just chill out picnicking on the grassy banks of Twinwood Arena.
The facilities are great. There are more flush toilets and showers than you can shake a stick at plus a useful left luggage facility. For day visitors there is free parking linked with an on-site bus service.  The four campsites are well managed and have panoramic views, and everyone can park on their own spacious pitch.
Find out more on www.twinwoodfestival.com.

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.

12 comments on “Twinwood Festival

  1. Jo Lesley on said:

    I cannot wait for Twinwoods this year! We go most years but missed it last year so am super excited about going again! see you there, Jo x

  2. Anna Hale on said:

    I’m off to see if there’s any tickets left! X

  3. Well done with the new site, looking good. As I’m new to mk I will definitely bookmark you. Thanks

  4. Lorraine on said:

    Loving the new website, saw this through your other blog: well done, good luck and most of all enjoy! Lorraine

  5. Well done Kate you have done a great job! Good Luck at twinwood, have fun: make sure you have time to relax and dance x

  6. Lucy Mae on said:

    I HAD THE BEST TIME!!!! We went Monday as could get day tickets and have already booked up again for the whole weekend next year. The fashion was amazing, I will get my hair done and buy some vintage clothing for next year. Cant wait. Thanks for this, I hadnt thought about going and Im so glad i did!
    Lucy x

    • We are so so pleased you enjoyed it! Make sure you come say hello next year as we have already booked up to be there again! Best weekend of the summer…

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