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Reviving the Good Times

Reviving the Good Times

Tuesday 11 June 2019

Reviving the Good Times

In September, Guernsey is going to be launched back into the post-war period, when tweed jackets and boiler suits were all the rage.

The Guernsey Retro Festival wants to give people the chance to go back to the 'good ol' days', and celebrate life before the dawn of technology.

It will be taking place over the last weekend of September on the Crown Pier, with a whole host of different activities and events planned to take place. Everything is not all focused on that weekend either, with events planned in the lead up to the festival itself. These include things like Lindy Hop and Rock N Roll dance classes, planning for flash dances on the day. 

"Showcasing nostalgia at its finest" 

The organisers of the festival, Jeff Fox and Dennis Le Prevost, were winners of a category in Guernsey's Tourism Ideathon, which earned them backing from the States to put on the event. Their aim was to bolster the island's offering in the 'shoulder months', so September was chosen for their Retro-themed festival. 

"We want to give people a chance to experience a non-electronic age," Mr Fox said, "think Hangar Ball on the seafront or Liberation Day in September - where everyone gets involved and blends in, and anyone else who turns up can only think 'wow'."

"People don't need to go completely all out to get involved either. We have arranged for loads of boiler suits to be available, so really to dress up, people just need a flat cap and a boiler suit and they are ready to get involved." 

Mr Le Prevost and Mr Fox previously were involved in the 'Distinguished Gentleman's Ride'. 160 locals emulated the international event and raised thousands for charity, all dressed up in tweed, with their classic motorcycles. 

The Festival is going to have 50s and 60s style barbers and hairdressers, shoe polishers and rock and roll dancing. They are also hoping seafront restaurants will get on board and stylise their menus for the weekend. Then there will be classic cars on show, jazz bands, food, and 'retro' ale.

One of the main parts of the weekend will be 'afternoon tea and scones at the Governor's'. Mr Fox said because of Sir Ian Corder's interest in classic cars, he had been keen to get involved, so had offered them the grounds of Government House to throw a tea party. There will also be a classic car and motor cycle display, and a charity tennis match. 

But outside of that, the festival will be focused on the seafront and Crown Pier, and Mr Fox and Mr Le Prevost hope everyone will get involved and dress up in tweed and flat caps. 

When Mr Fox and Mr Le Prevost were involved with the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride, they helped raise thousands of pounds for local charity in just three months. Now, over the whole year, they want to raise even more for the same charities - the Movember Foundation and Male Suicide Awareness - and also a new charity for them, Guernsey Mind. 

retro festival

Closer to the time, people will be able to get involved with the Retro Festival with bronze, silver and gold memberships. Visit the festival's website at guernseyretro.com

"We just want people to get together with a group - family or friends - get dressed up and decide to come down to Town for a few pints in style," Mr Le Prevost said.

The festival's main events will take place on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 September this year. Going forwards, there will be similar festivals in 2020 and 2021, focussing on the 60s-70s era and the 70s-80s era.

Outside of that festival time, Mr Le Prevost explained, they were also a permanent charity - The Guernsey Revivalists. In the vein of reviving people's memories of days gone by, they want to spend their time when they are not planning events for or ahead of the Retro Festival itself going around the island and 'reviving' parts of the island's heritage. 

"We will be a permanent thing, with the aim of reviving Guernsey," he said.

Pictured top: Jeff Fox and Dennis Le Prevost. 

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