Crowds flock to groovy Cromer for day of '60s fun

Simon and Susie Pritchard on their vintage clothing stall at the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer.

Simon and Susie Pritchard on their vintage clothing stall at the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer. - Credit: Steve Adams

It is usually said that Cromer's heyday was the Victorian era.

But the town has been harking back to another of its golden ages, with hundreds of people flocking to the resort to celebrate its Vintage Sixties Festival.

Daytrippers enjoying the Cromer Sixties Vintage Festival. 

Daytrippers enjoying the Cromer Sixties Vintage Festival. - Credit: Steve Adams

The event was first held in 2019 and was intended to be an annual event, but because of the pandemic this is only the second time it has taken place.

Under Saturday's sunny skies, stall vendors sold everything from vinyl records to tie-dyed tops, while a retro surf board collection was on display.

Up on the pier the band Rock the Lobster belted out Beatles hits as crowds boogied.

Inside the Pavilion Theatre, Nigel Pearce - local district councillor and music aficionado - showed off his impressive collection devoted to the Fab Four and sold copies of his new book about Apple Records.

The din of Sixties pop on the prom was momentarily upstaged by the purr of Vespas and Lambarettas as scores of modern-day 'Mods' led by the North Norfolk Scooter Club parked up by the pier. 

Debs Lewis, event manager, said she was thrilled at the reception to the festival.

Jasmine Bartram in her groovy attire at the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer

Jasmine Bartram in her groovy attire at the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer - Credit: Steve Adams

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Ms Lewis said: "The Sixties is such a light-hearted and happy time - we wanted to do something that's uplifting. Cromer has lots of really good connections to the Sixties - there were music venues like the Links and a roller-skating rink, so it just seemed right.

"This year is a bounce back for the festival and hopefully in the future we can go to two or even three days."

Music at the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer.

Music at the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer. - Credit: Steve Adams

People flocked to the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer.

People flocked to the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer. - Credit: Steve Adams

People flocked to the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer.

People flocked to the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer. - Credit: Steve Adams

Gigs taking place across the weekend included Marty Wilde and the Wildcats, Cromer Soul Club Keep the Faith soul night, and a concert version of the West End extravaganza All or Nothing.   

Among those enjoying the atmosphere were Stephen and Jayne Richardson, both 58, who rode their scooters over from Sheringham for the day. 

Cromer Pier Vintage Sixties Festival 2022. Jayne and Stephen Richardson on their scooters. Photo : S

Jayne and Stephen Richardson on their scooters at the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer. - Credit: Steve Adams

Mr Richardson said the Sixties were a special time. "It was an era of fun," he said. 

"The dancing, the bands - everyone enjoyed themselves. People made their own ideas about what they wanted to be and do, and it wasn't all console games." 

Festival voices: Why we still dig the Sixties

Naomi Bushell.

Naomi Bushell. - Credit: Stuart Anderson

Naomi Bushell, 43, Cromer

"I love the music of the era, listening to it on vinyl is just great. The emotion in it is just fantastic and it's so great to sing along to. And I love the clothes of course."

David Hanton.

David Hanton. - Credit: Stuart Anderson

David Hanton, 65, Banningham, owner of Mod One Sixties culture shop in Norwich

"People were stylish, it was easy to live, it was just more relaxed. There was the euphoria of the World Cup and things like that. Today, there's not that sort of style."

Tina Meredith.

Tina Meredith. - Credit: Stuart Anderson

Tina Meredith, Cromer, 54

"I just love the music and the fashion. I was definitely born in the wrong era. Everyone looked really good - the men in their suits and the girls in their dresses. I grew up with the music, I like The Who, Motown and Northern Soul."

Christine Robinson

Christine Robinson. - Credit: Stuart Anderson

Christine Robinson, 68, Cromer

"I grew up in the Sixties. It was a very laid-back time. The summers were long and hot, there was flower power and the fashions were so vibrant. The men were were stylish in suits and ties, and women had great hairstyles like beehives, thick eyeliner and great lipstick."

Carla Larner.

Carla Larner. - Credit: Stuart Anderson

Carla Larner, 43, Cromer

"Everybody seemed to have been happy and having a really good time. It was all about peace and love, and nowadays we don't have as much of that. I feel like I missed out on a big part of history there."

Felix Brueggemann.

Felix Brueggemann. - Credit: Stuart Anderson

Felix Brueggemann, 26, Briston

"It was such a lucid time. All of the music, the colour the fashion, it was a cultural explosion. Jimmy Hendrix's music matched all the colour and theme of the Sixties. He was loud and bold and his passion came through."

Cromer in the Sixties

Many who lived or visited Cromer in the '60s remember it as a glorious place to be.

In those days few people thought about Ibiza when planning their holidays. It was a time to pack a suitcase on to the back of the Austin and head to the great British seaside. 

Venues such as Cromer's Links Pavilion and the West Runton Pavilion drew the biggest names in music, and teenage fans flocked from all corners of Norfolk to dance to The Who, Thin Lizzy and Cilla Black. 

Many a young romance blossomed at spots such as Trollers' Rollerdome and the Regal Cinema, and the hills to the town's east were a popular place for fun and games all year round. 

Scooters at the Cromer Vintage Sixties Festival.

Scooters at the Cromer Vintage Sixties Festival. - Credit: Steve Adams

Scooters at the Cromer Vintage Sixties Festival.

Scooters at the Cromer Vintage Sixties Festival. - Credit: Steve Adams

People enjoying the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer

People enjoying the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer - Credit: Steve Adams

Scooters at the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer.

Scooters at the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer. - Credit: Steve Adams

Music at the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer.

Music at the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer. - Credit: Steve Adams

Scooters at the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer.

Scooters at the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer. - Credit: Steve Adams

Jasmine Bartram in her groovy attire with GI Samuel Hewett at the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer.

Jasmine Bartram in her groovy attire with GI Samuel Hewett at the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer. - Credit: Steve Adams

People flocked to the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer.

People flocked to the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer. - Credit: Steve Adams

Cromer Pier Vintage Sixties Festival 2022. Katie Keely and her MiniPhoto : Steve Adams

Katie Keely and her Mini at the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer. - Credit: Steve Adams

People flocked to the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer.

People flocked to the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer. - Credit: Steve Adams

People flocked to the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer, where many vintage vehicles were on display.

People flocked to the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer, where many vintage vehicles were on display. - Credit: Steve Adams

People flocked to the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer, where many vintage vehicles were on display.

People flocked to the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer, where many vintage vehicles were on display. - Credit: Steve Adams

People flocked to the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer, where many vintage vehicles were on display.

People flocked to the Vintage Sixties Festival in Cromer, where many vintage vehicles were on display. - Credit: Steve Adams