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London’s South Bank to be engulfed by the past | New music reviews, news & interviews

London’s South Bank to be engulfed by the past

Relive the popular culture of Britain’s past at The Festival Hall

Vintage at Southbank Centre will celebrate the pop culture of Britain's past
Vintage at Southbank Centre will celebrate the pop culture of Britain's past

The weekend of 29 to 31 July will see London's Festival Hall transformed into what the venue describes as a “multi–venue vintage playground”. Vintage, founded by Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway, comes to London for the first time to celebrate the popular culture of Britain’s past. The Festival Hall is a fitting host, as it was constructed for 1951’s Festival of Britain and is, itself, a piece of living history.

Vintage is a bulk-buy experience. The decades celebrated are the 1920s, Thirties, Forties, Fifties, Sixties, Seventies and Eighties. There will be eight nightclubs, each dedicated to one of the seven decades – the theme of the spare eighth nightclub hasn’t been announced. Over the weekend, 150 DJs will take part, including A Guy Called Gerald, Craig Charles, Norman Jay and Andrew Weatherall. The pick-and-mix live acts include Booker T, Thomas Dolby, Sandie Shaw, Percy Sledge and Depeche Mode's Alan Wilder. A high street is to be constructed, along with a “vintage market”. Catwalk shows and dance classes are planned, and you can get a makeover in your chosen era’s style.

For those not so dedicated to looking the part, the live shows might be less challenging. Sunday’s is the highlight. St Etienne’s Bob Stanley has corralled a group of legendary and not-so-familiar songwriters and cajoled them into playing songs they’ve penned. Nick Coler isn’t a household name. After playing in Seventies popsters The Rubettes and the BBC’s Top of the Pops Orchestra he went on to write for Girls Aloud. Before he was in 10CC, Graham Gouldman wrote classics such as “Bus Stop” for The Hollies and “For Your Love” for The Yardbirds. Barry Mason composed Tom Jones’s “Delilah”, Engelbert Humperdinck’s “The Last Waltz” and Edison Lighthouse's “Love Grows”. Rob Davis was in Mud. These days he’s known in the music biz for having written Kylie Minogue’s “Can't Get You Out of my Head”, Klaxons' “Not Over Yet” and Groovejet’s “Spiller”.

Vintage is an extraordinary tribute to the past, and no doubt it will be recreated with love and care. But the tribute to British pop’s backroom gives a group of songwriters the chance to reclaim parts of their own history.

Watch Wayne Hemingway describe Vintage


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