Twinwood Farm is famous for a few things. During the Second World War, it was home to an RAF base, more of a training station for night fighters of the larger RAF Cranfield nearby. Sadly, it has also achieved notoriety for being the place from where the plane which was to take Glenn Miller to his death departed on its flight to France. It now houses the Glenn Miller Museum, yes him, the man responsible for the frankly marvellous hits such as "In the Mood", "String of Pearls", "Little Brown Jug" and so on. He was appointed Band Director of the US Air Force during the Second World War and was stationed only a couple of miles away from Twinwood Farm, he ran his radio station and recorded much of his music in Bedford and performed a concert for the troops at Twinwood Station in 1944.
Nowadays, it is also known for the three-day festival it puts on each August Bank Holiday, a tantalising mix of live music, shopping, eating and observing, vintage-style, of course. Formerly called The Glenn Miller Festival, it now tends to be known as just "Twinwood". Well, (for the very first time,) Twinwood here we come!
We stayed for the first two days of the festival and I'm so glad we did! We only booked our tickets the Monday before the festival but by the time we bumped along the farm track on Saturday morning, all tickets were sold out. It is reasonably priced at £27-ish, (price depends when you book and for which day), considering what is on offer and the live entertainment. I took absolutely oodles of photos so I've collated them into a few mosaics to show you (don't forget you can click on the mosaic to enlarge the photos).
Twinwood is over a relatively large site but it is very well organised. You were shown where to park, there was a bus to take you to the entrance of the arena, plans and plenty of sign posts to show you what was going on where and at what time and phew, plenty of loos (well, these things are important) and not forgetting camping. For those bonkers enough to do so!
(Plan of the site borrowed from here.) The weekend's events are dotted round this site, with two main outdoor music arenas, oodles of stalls and a few foodie outlets (my one gripe, there weren't enough and they were largely junk food), museums housed in old military buildings and some clubs which opened only for night time events (also in old huts). Marvellous! You can't beat that for setting the tone and creating a great atmosphere!
Mosaics then. This is a general one, giving you a little taster of all we remember of our weekend at Twinwood.
That bit of blue sky (yes, it did appear between the torrential downpours, must take wellies next year), is showing you a Mustang jet which flew over.
Shopping then, yes, there was plenty of shopping, from stalls selling fine vintage clobber, military uniforms, new retro-clothing and shoes (some nice, some dubious and some wildly over-priced), vintage housey bits 'n' pieces, to utter junk pretending to be vintage, it was a pretty good shopping experience (but not as good as the Southbank's vintage marketplace in my humble opinion). A few bits were bought but overall, with a burgeoning vintage wardrobe, we're getting choosy (and could do with getting thinner!)
Poor Munchkin, you're thinking, being dragged round all those stalls by his awful parents! For starters, he rather likes a vintage mooch and came away with yet another Fair Isle for his collection, but he got his just rewards and there was no dragging him away from the stunning cars on display.
As if there wasn't enough shopping, music to listen or dance to (or cider/ale to drink, tough work), there were some excellent informative displays to enjoy. There is an Aviation Museum on site which had a recreation of a 1940's sitting room and kitchen and there was a whole raft of smaller rooms kitted out variously with true period items as a haberdashers, bakery, grocery, Land Girl's potting room, medical room and so on. There were some wonderful items to see and read about.
The special exhibition for the festival was on the subject of CC41, the government's rationing scheme for clothing (and furniture) which began in 1941. Finding the CC41 mark on an item is the Holy Grail for vintage collectors. Being rationed, the items are relatively rare but were well made so have survived. A group of ladies were re-enacting make do and mend, crocheting snoods and berets which were for sale. Hats off to them for a really fantastic display, we were drooling at seeing so many CC41 goodies in such excellent condition.
Once the grey matter could absorb no further information, it was time to head for the arena or the hangar to listen to some really fantastic live singers and bands and watch the folks jive. The music started in the morning and went on until roughly midnight. There was something for everyone, it really was top notch entertainment. There were several wooden outdoor dance floors and despite the rain, people jitterbugged away! Two clubs also opened up in small huts in the evening which had great cosy atmospheres (sadly too late for us to stay).
Ah, Twinwood, despite the cold and the rain (and the junk food), what a delight. Rock 'n' roll on next year!