50s Fest at Norwich Castle

September 25, 2012

On Saturday I headed to Norwich Castle, armed with a car full of hula hoops and a stack of leaflets, to take part in the 50s Fest.

The day ran from 1–4pm, with various vintage activities designed to draw a different audience along to the castle. I’ve never been to the castle before, and it is an impressive sight in the Autumn sun. Inside, the Rotunda was filled with the rockabilly sounds of local band Big Black Cadillac. Flamingo Amy had a pop-up 1950s hair styling salon set up near the entrance, and every time I ventured down she was hard at work crafting victory-rolling, beehive-coiffing magic.

DJ Jazzlord was there, sending the swinging tones of vintage vinyl spiralling up into the (very high) rafters.

I started doing my thing to the fantastic music, and people who had been admiring the displays stopped to watch. I was also offering workshops (hence the abundance of hoops) and as soon as one person tentatively picked one up, there was an influx of people wanting to have a go, which was great. Everyone had a go, men, women, tiny children and some lovely older women who said they remembered the hula hooping craze in the 50s. They were pleased to know they could still spin a hoop!

by Cameron Black

At 2.15, I cleared the hoops away to make room for the swing dance workshop with Swing City, who run classes on a Monday night in Norwich. It looked amazing and I will definitely be going along to their classes!

Lots of people had come along in their fifties finery, others it seemed had been swept into the event. There were beautiful circle dresses (good for swing dancing), glimpses of red lipstick and several people sporting the handiwork of Flamingo Amy – the castle, it seemed, was being quietly invaded by the swinging fifties. As well as perhaps bringing people along to the castle who may not have visited before, the 50s Fest also gave others a taste of the thriving vintage scene in Norwich.


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Daisy is a performer and writer based in Norwich. She is halfway through a Creative Writing MA at UEA and also performs hula hoops, razor-blade eating, fire and aerial in cabaret and circus shows and festivals all over the place. She lives with her partner, who is a mind reader, and their son, who isn't.


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