Well at least it didn’t rain! For the 3rd year in a row I had the honour of performing at the Nottingham 1940s Knees-Up on the band stand at Nottingham Castle alongside the wonderful Kalamazoo Dance Band. The 1940s Knees-up is organised by Nottingham City Council and has been part of their events calendar for well over 10 years.
The 1940s Knees-Up is the event that started my journey into the 1940s the in 2012 I was preparing for my first show having had a few years off to be mummy to my twins (well I still am a twin mummy but they are 9 now!). My first show was for the Queen’s Jubilee celebration in 2012 and I had been booked to provide vintage music so we popped along to the Knees-Up in the hope of getting inspiration. Of course it chucked it down all day, it wouldn’t be bank holiday other wise would it!
I remember taking lots of pictures of re-enactors (some of whom are now very good friends) as well as being in awe of Johnny Victory who was performing at Brew House Yard. With this being my very first event it is an incredible honour for me to be singing at it now – it still seems unreal.
This is the 3rd year that I have been engaged to sing here along side a live band and the 3rd year the event has extended up to Nottingham Castle having out grown just the Brewhouse Yard site.
Last year the weather was horrendous and Kal (from Kalamazoo) had invited the dancers in to the Band Stand to come in from the rain.
This year I had the added help of having my wonderful other half Darren with me; he has thrown himself in to these events with enthusiasm and embraced everything – he doesn’t want to go down the full re-enactment route just wanting to support me and fit in with the general look. I really don’t know how I managed without him.
The Kalamazoo Dance Band were to kick off the day with a toe tapping set to get everyone going. From where we were at the top of the hill on the bandstand the music flowed over the top and down the rocks and caves that Nottingham is famous for – you really cannot beat the sound of a live band to set the scene.
Just as Kalamazoo started the rain started to clear which meant the dancers were able to…well…dance!
We were also going to be joined by a ladies choir called the Rockabillies who were doing some Accapella songs.
Meeting up with old and new friends
What I love about these events is getting to catch up with people. There are so many lovely people on the 1940s scene and those who know me know I love a natter! Fortunately everyone has welcomed Darren with open arms so he has made countless new friends as well.
Of course I got arrested by these 2 night bobbies.
What I wore
As I have mentioned before purchasing original vintage is incredibly hard for me as I am 5 ft 10 inches tall with size 8 feet. The suits that I already own must have belonged to tall ladies so I have been lucky.
Suit: Vivian Moore at Dragonfly Vintage
Blouse: The Seamstress of Bloomsbury
Coat: Vivan Moore at Dragonfly Vintage
Shoes: Fillie from Hotter in brown patent leather
Stockings: Original nylons (probably 1960s) from Sandra
Hat: Vivian Moore at Dragonfly Vintage
Songs and set list
As the Kalamazoo band were doing the American ‘dance music’ I would stick to the more British Vera Lynn and Gracie Fields including a singalong. I kept the programme varied with a mix of 30s jazz, British dance band a couple of musical theatre numbers. As always I am really careful with my years and the latest song I did was 1948 which was It’s Too Darn Hot from Kiss me Kate.
Having said that I am going to contradict myself as I of course did Requiem for a Soldier and Bring Him Home as these two tracks are on my fund raising CD!
We had a great singalong in the afternoon as well which always goes down well.
Kalamazoo Dance Band
The Kalamazoo dance band have been taking the scene by storm and have so many gigs in the diary it’s untrue! I worked with Kal and the band last year as well and our paths cross quite regularly. Laura Brookes who is their resident singer had another engagement on that day so within the last set I was able to join the band for a couple off numbers. Completely unrehearsed so the band did carry me!
The band just get better overtime I see them and for me it’s fantastic having the opportunity to listen to and work with live musicians.
The video below is courtesy of Kal Vaikla