The weekend’s Retro and Vintage event may have been a fond look back at slick dressing, kitsch interiors and cool tunes but I hope it’s the future of festivals in the city.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this inaugural event. Would it be a hit? Would it be a miss? Would the people of Sunderland get behind it?
Get behind it they did – in their droves.
Once the sun decided to shine on Saturday, hundreds packed the deckchairs in front of Mowbray Park bandstand for live music from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s while queues snaked through the Winter Gardens for a vintage market, afternoon tea and a Moon Booth, where visitors could create their own retro sepia postcards. I’ve never seen the venue so busy.
Thankfully, we had booked ahead for our vintage afternoon tea, which was put on with aplomb by Serendipity, which is based in nearby Frederick Street.
Hats off to the tea rooms, they did a deliciously kitsch, cute and fantastical job of it.
The attention to detail in transforming the museum’s pottery room into an afternoon tea room was stunning, from the Oriental parasols, to the floral bunting and fresh stocks on the table and vintage china tea sets.
On the tables were cake stands laden with sandwiches, fruit scones, cupcakes, death by chocolate bombs and lemon drizzle loaf.
As if this feast wasn’t enough, we were also treated to the sweet tones of Scarlet Street.
The four-piece barbershop-style quartet were like a musical breath of fresh air.
The songbirds gave their ’50s-inspired unique take on current chart hits by the likes of Cheryl Cole and Olly Murs and they proved enchanting.
Full of cakey goodness, we headed across the museum to join the lengthy queue at The Moon Booth.
A homage to the paper moon photo booths of the early 20th century, The Moon Booth is a travelling photographic studio which gives you the chance to don props such as fur stoles and bowler hats to create your own vintage keep- sake.
Our photo was the cherry on the top of the cake for a memorable afternoon.
It seems we weren’t the only ones who enjoyed ourselves.
Organisers Sunderland Live say the feedback they’ve received has been so overwhelmingly positive they’ll almost certainly be staging more Vintage and Retro Festivals.
We’re already practicising how to bobby pin our hair in victory curls in preparation.