I have been talking to my Mum Maureen about her memories of Morecambe’s history of cool music and dance. This is what she says,
“Brubeck’s Coffee Bar, just down the street from the Winter Gardens, was the place to be and be seen in the 1950s. Many parties were held there after the shows in the town. Brubeck’s invited the stars of the time, a very young and spotty Cliff Richard, Adam Faith and an equally young and spotty Lonnie Donegan. There was Alma Cogan, Tommy Steele, The Shadows, Screaming Lord Sutch, the (very young) Rolling Stones and many, many more. The shows held every week at the Winter Gardens were top class shows and it was one of the most prestigious theatres in England outside London for the cool stars of the day to perform in. The annual Morecambe Music Festival was also held at the Winter Gardens which brought in many brass bands, pianists, soloists and choirs from many parts of UK as well as local talent. The Floral Hall was the ‘in’ place to dance together with the Central Pier where bands like Chris Barber’s Jazz Band with Monty Sunshine often played. At the Floral Hall you could go in the week and dance to records and no alcohol was served only pop and crisps!” If you wanted to meet a member of the opposite sex you would parade up and down the prom every Sunday and end up at Bruccianis”.
My Nan, Ida Hemingway, would spend part of every fine day on West End Pier and had walk on part with her dogs in a shopping trolley in the film The Entertainer, made at the Alhambra with Laurence Olivier.
I personally have memories of appearing in The King and I and singing The Music Man’s ‘76 Trombones Led the Big Parade at the Winter Gardens and finishing runner up at Harry Graham’s Bandstand singing Congratulations and Celebrations!
In the post Brubeck’s era, Morecambe continued to host some of best music of a generation from the soul nights on the Central Pier to WOMAD and today the North Lancashire Soul Festival and the punk-focused Nice ‘n’ Sleazy.
The British seaside has a history of hosting decade defining youth culture and music movements. Margate and Brighton still dine off their mod and rocker heritage and the soul, disco and funk scene that revolved around Blackpool’s Mecca ballroom is still celebrated.
This September we will continue the tradition of cool music events in Morecambe with ourVintage By The Sea Festival.
On September 6 The Warehouse at the Winter Gardens will bring the North’s distinctive dance culture and DJ history to the fore with Hacienda legends Mike Pickering and Dave Haslam evoking memories of Acid House era Manchester.
And the Soul Casino on September 7th at the Winter Gardens will create the sounds and style of the classic 70s soul club and 80s disco scenes. Add to that Let it Rock at The Platform and The Torch Club at The Midland and Morecambe will be alive with music this September.