The birth of Birmingham Vintage Fair

Huge thanks to Rebecca Sloan from Glacier Films for this fantastic film

 @glacier_films   @Rebecca_sloan                    

Before I start going through all the feedback (we gave out feedback forms – taking this very seriously!), I just want to document what worked for me.

The highs

The music; LOVE, now and forever

Two bands? Well of course, it’s my event.

The guitar solos, the hair, the psychedelia, and the shirts – I’m in musical heaven, if a little self indulgent. 

The traders trust in the event despite it being a new and unique concept what with Retro café and live music as well as lots of handmade and jewellery all mixed up with the more usual vintage. This is no ordinary event and I would never want it to be.

The fantastic effort they made to make their booth as unique as possible and to spread the word is just amazing.

The amount of people who came (258 paid + over 60 in the room, nearer 400 all in all.)

And the feedback, ideas and support they gave. 

The family, festival atmosphere

The outfits; so many people in 70s style which somehow made us all feel even more chilled out and laid back. 

The number of Twitter mentions

The support of Fellows Auctions, 24 Carrots, MyJQ and Jewellery Quarter Association who had nothing to gain other than help raise the profile of this wonderful neighbourhood 

The press coverage – Birmingham Mail, the Post and even Express & Star all covered it as well as mentions on Switch Radio. These are just the ones I know about.

The cakes – three cake stands? Well of course, it’s my event 

The festival vibe achieved without the alcohol

The staff and the volunteers

The film makers & photographers who took hundreds of fantastic and differing photos

The music. Again.

Birmingham Vintage Fair – review

June 25th 2011

Photos by

The idea came when I became frustrated by the lack of an event to showcase local, creative talent and that gives these

Photos by

people an opportunity to sell their products. There are vintage fairs of course but they are just vintage. I love vintage but I also adore having lots of unique, quirky things in my house. I take great joy in finding something I want to buy and then find it’s created or sold by a local person. Whereas national events display the wares of many people who travel to Birmingham to do business, my dream was to build business for local traders of vintage, new, handmade, home wares or arts – anything goes if it fits the vibe, in the style of 24 Carrots Farmers Market.

However, those who know me will know I won’t do anything by halves (my Daddy didn’t raise me that way!) and will always make it different. I don’t see the point of replicating what’s already around. The first thing I need when planning an event is a theme – I can’t even plan a brunch for 4 without a theme! – and as the 1970s are having a rare moment in the spotlight, this is an easy decision. From this came the most important element for a festival atmosphere, the music followed by the imagery (yellow backed by a kaleidoscope of clashing colours; purple, orange and brown) dress and food.

What transpired after months of planning and research were launched as BVF, onto a few select people back in April is beyond my wildest dreams. Word spread like More Cocoa’s hot chocolate spilling over strawberries and everyone from 24 Carrots to the Jewellery Association and Handmade Birmingham to the traders is promoting it.

The highlights for me as an organiser is the community vibe the BVF evoked and how so many people made an effort to get into the 1970s easy going spirit. Every trader, photographer, film maker, organiser and many visitors made this event a success with Twitter playing a massive part.

As an observer, what made it for me was the music; I feel truly blessed to have both Naked Remedy and Dakesis perform at the (first) BVF and more than that, just to know about both bands that I’m now so looking forward to seeing again.

Maybe this is what heaven’s like? I had my music, cakes, coffee, clothes and my friends and family; everything I need.

I’d love your comments and feedback.

Photos by

Music Monday: Birmingham Vintage Fair

Naked Remedy

All photos by

I’ve spent weeks looking; this is one area that I wouldn’t compromise. For me, to give BVF a festival vibe, the music had to be at the centre of it and not just any band but one that accentuated the 1970s vibe. In the last two months I have been to every gig early to catch the support bands. After contacting every promoter, band, radio presenter, music college and music fan, I have not one but two PERFECT bands.

Naked Remedy to me represented the turn of the decade and I love every minute of their set. They’re a popular live band and had gigs either side of this event so I’m lucky not just to have them perform but they sure set the tone for the day too and not just with the psychedelic backdrop! I visibly saw people stop what they were doing as the energy poured out from the stage and there was a lot of noise from three people. Oh and a drummer who sings and converses with the crowd – who new!

Naked RemedyNaked Remedy    


In addition, the Naked Remedy family are a great bunch of guys and it’s a joy to have met them. They have earned more fans from the BVF audience and I for one am so looking forward to seeing them again. And I love that I like a band that gig a lot!


Hair, there, everywhere

                                                        If Naked Remedy started around 1970, Dakesis moved along the decade perfectly. Instead of their progressive metal set, they entertained a delighted audience with some classic rock covers of which the highlights for me are ‘Rebel Rebel’ and of course, ‘20th Century Boy’. I was delighted when I saw this in their set list as the track had become a point of reference for me when searching for the band. Gemma and the band are a pleasure to work with and on stage, they tick every box outside the fantastic set; guitar solos, hair, theatrics, everything I expect and then some. I cannot wait to see their full set.

From an audience perspective, both bands fitted in perfectly. From an organiser’s point of view, they both saved and made the day. LOVE


So that’s two more bands added to the ‘must see every time they play Birmingham’ list. HAPPY.

Birmingham Vintage Fair

Where Vintage meets shabby chic and handmade


A vintage fair with a difference; it’s a complete afternoon out with vintage clothes, pre-loved accessories, shabby chic home furnishings and handmade (in Birmingham) with art stirred in to the mix.

The nostalgic mood will also stretch to music and refreshments including coffee and cakes supplied by local Birmingham companies and possibly even makeup and hair sessions.


Birmingham and in particular the Jewellery Quarter is a hot bed of creative talent and Birmingham Vintage Fair is the event to celebrate this.

Birmingham is also full of  stylish people who crave new ideas, unique products and we know how to have a good time and while-away a gorgeous afternoon in June. We can even sit in the courtyard!

Birmingham Vintage Fair brings everyone together wrapped up in a gift box of vintage loveliness and shabby chic styletude©

Who’s Who

Visitors – students, home owners, professionals, locals, vintage & Shabby chic enthusiasts

Stall holders – local producers and suppliers of clothes, accessories, home furnishings + foods (Stall prices coming soon)

Me – a non-brummy who loves Birmingham. Apart from writing, I love music, clothes and cakes and find it tedious to organise an event without these three factors included. Sometimes I manage to get travel and football in there too.

How Businesses hire stalls of various sizes to display their goods or services

When Saturday 25th June 11am – 5pm

Where Stan’s Cafe, JQT

The theme of 2011 is very much 1970s (until the Fashionista’s tell us otherwise in about 74 seconds) so the decade that style forgot is absolutely fine with me for both music and design concept.

You ideas and opinions are very much sought so please email me on

More details on the website

If by chance you just want to say, hey, great idea, I want to be involved, then it can go in the comments below. Thanks very much!