Vintage by the Sea festival, Midland Hotel, Morecambe - photo special

Claudia Jazz-Haley

Claudia Jazz-Haley - Credit: Archant

Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway planned a little pop-up festival but more than 5,000 headed for the iconic Midland Hotel

Lancashire fashion guru Wayne Hemingway was born in Morecambe and has many happy memories of the seaside town. But the chances are he’s never seen anything quite like the Vintage-by-the-Sea festival at the iconic Midland Hotel.

It was so successful, that he and his wife Gerardine are already planning a repeat performance in 2014.

The aim of the festival was to showcase the best of British music, fashion, film, art, dance, food and design from the last 80 years as part of as series of celebrations marking the 80th anniversary of the art deco Midland.

Wayne said: ‘Vintage by the Sea was a fantastic event. It was only supposed to be a little pop-up festival, but we got over 5,000 visitors. I think the popularity of the event and the really positive feedback we got from everyone locally demonstrates that there is a real enthusiasm in Morecambe for this type of festival.

‘Morecambe is really important to me as I was born there, so it has been great to be involved in something that benefits the town and which has brought so much of the community together.’

The event included a very popular vintage market, lovingly preserved vintage cars, and dancing, with instruction from professionals Anthony Padgett and Stephanie Sturgess.

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Highlights of the evening included a 1930s-themed ‘Torch Club’ at The Midland with a five-course meal and dancing, and at The Winter Gardens there was a 70s Northern Soul session and an 80s disco with DJ sets by Wayne and his son Jack.

‘I’d like to say a big thank you to English Lakes and The Midland Hotel team for the support they gave us,’ said Wayne.

‘I’m also really grateful to the other local businesses and, of course the public for the faith they had in us. We aim to be back next year - bigger and better!’

Wayne’s world

Wayne Hemingway was born in Morecambe in 1961 and it was with his childhood sweetheart - now his wife Gerardine - that he set up the internationally-famous fashion house, Red or Dead.

He has an interesting background - his father was the Canadian Mohawk chief and 60s wrestling star Billy Two Rivers. He abandoned the family and returned to north America when Wayne was young. His motherwas passionate about showbusiness and encouraged young Wayne whose earliest memories include his mother and grandmother dressing him as Elvis and parading him up and down Morecambe pier.

Wayne, now an MBE, has been involved with social housing and town planning since selling Red or Dead. But he never abandoned his roots and has been involved in projects to help young people.

Glory days are back

The Midland Hotel is as famous as the people who have stayed there - and that’s quite a claim when you consider its stylish staircase handrail has been gripped by the likes of Laurence Olivier and Coco Chanel.

However, it gained an international audience in more recent times as the backdrop for television adaptation of ITV’s Hercule Poirot series, starring David Suchet.

For generations of Lancastrians, it will be the place they met their sweetheart or spent their honeymoon, later having family holidays there.

But the stylish hotel fell on very hard times and was boarded up until the Urban Splash regeneration company took it on and restored it to its former glory. Tireless efforts were made to return interior fittings which had gone missing, including magnificent wall reliefs by Eric Gill. It is now run by English Lakes Hotels, which has five hotels in the north west.