Bigger, better and more fun than ever, Glenn Miller’s legacy lives on in the swing dance festival set to rock the UK in August 2019. The Twinwood Festival has its roots way back in 1944 with a performance by the Glenn Miller Band to RAF personnel seated on a grassy field. Today it is an annual pilgrimage for fans of swing dance, vintage music, retro moves and everything inbetween.
On 27 August 1944, with a flatbed trailer for a stage and a grassy field for seating, the Glenn Miller Band performed for the assembled RAF personnel of what was then the Twinwood Airfield. A few months later, in December 1944, Glenn Miller himself boarded an aircraft from the same airfield and was never seen or heard of again. The mystery was never solved, but his legacy has made a mark.
The Glenn Miller Band of the 1940s had a unique style and sound, featuring a clarinet and tenor saxophone playing the melody with three other saxophones playing the harmony, and were arguably the greatest and best known band of the swing era. The questions around Glenn Miller’s disappearance has only added to their appeal, leading to the festival of swing dance at Twinwood.
The Twinwood Festival has undergone many changes since 1944 but remains one of the biggest and best swing dance festivals in the world today. The annual Twinwood Festival attracts tens of thousands of vintage fans who spend the long weekend relishing the plethora of live entertainment from master of swing, jazz, blues and old-style rock ‘n roll.
“This year we have the old favourites returning plus many new and exciting performers appearing across our sixteen venues,” says Annie Wooding, Creative Director of Twinwood Events. “The Electric Swing Circus is back with a bang after major success last year.”
A six-piece fusions of saucy swing and stomping electro beats, The Electric Swing Circus draws its influence from 1920s swing and jazz. Their sound is explosive and reverberates back through time, reinventing electro-swing for an expanding multi-generational audience. Fronted by two female vocalists, they deliver a dazzling show hotfooting their way through the history books.
“Returning in 2019 after a superb debut is the local Bedfordshire Big Band,” says Wooding. “This talented groups presents a foot-pounding performance of Big Band Swing, movie themes and popular anthems to get those feet tapping. Of course, the festival wouldn’t be complete without an appearance from the new incarnation of The Glenn Miller Band, the UK’s official Glenn Miller Orchestra.”
Other swing festival spectacles will be the Down For The Count Swing Orchestra, Swing Noir, the Hot Shoes Swing Band, 1940s swing DJ Chris Reynolds and many more.
“There will be non-stop live performances across our sixteen venues for four days solid with something for everyone,” says Wooding. “Especially for 2019, we have added two new venues: The Family Adventure Marquee and The Comedy Club, each catering to very different audiences!”
The Family Adventure Marquee will be hosted by the award-winning Captain Calamity in a large indoor venue, offering a brand-new experience that can be considered a festival-within-a-festival. Offering a huge variety of stage shows, films, sideshows and crafts throughout the day on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
At the brand-new Comedy Club, host Dusty Limits will be fully unleashed for an evening of risqué humour and a line-up of comedians and magicians providing adult-only entertainment well into the night. “More details are to be released soon, so watch this space!” says Wooding.
With plenty more on offer, from glamping to fashion to museum visits and so much more, Twinwood 2019 is set to stay on record as the biggest and best vintage and swing dance festival in the UK today. “Tickets are now on sale and are selling fast, so we do urge swing dance festival fans to hot step it to the website to secure their place,” concludes Wooding.
Twinwood Festival is held at the former RAF Twinwood Farm Airfield in Clapham, Bedfordshire, England. Its roots go back to 27 August 1944 when Glenn Miller and his AAF band performed an outdoor concert at RAF Twinwood for RAF personnel. On 15 December 1944, Glenn Miller boarded a Norseman aircraft from RAF Twinwood and he was never seen or heard of again. RAF Twinwood was decommissioned after WWII and the site lay almost untouched until 1989 when the company Twinwood Events was formed and the Twinwood Control Tower was converted into the Glenn Miller Museum. When restoration was completed in 2002, a celebration Glenn Miller concert was held. Its success led to the birth of the annual Glenn Miller Festival, held over the August bank holiday weekend. In 2007 the event was renamed The Twinwood Festival to incorporate a slightly wider genre of music. It is now one of the largest vintage music festivals in Europe. The Twinwood Festival has four stages and thirteen venues, as well as campsites, pop up shops and plenty of food and drink on offer. Live bands perform continuously throughout the four day weekend. The event continues to grow year on year attracting tens of thousands of vintage music, style and fashion fans from all over the world. For more information, please visit: www.twinwoodevents.com.