The Big Swing Dance On the Gardens

May 23rd, 24th, 25th, Bank Holiday weekend. Our first event was a real labour of love and we couldn’t have been more pleased. A wonderful three days in a fantastic spot and  bang in the centre of our home town, saw thousands descend onto Cutty Sark Gardens to shop at our vintage / art market, buy some delicious street food (which most traders sold out of as demand was so high!) or sample the swing dance themed cocktails from our fully licensed resident Dandy Lion Bar.

Each day  featured swing dance lessons from London Shag Pile dance  crew, whose teachers were all fantastic and their lessons were a huge success the whole weekend, with hundreds of people taking up the opportunity to get involved and learn something new or improve their swing dancing skills. If you took part and was impressed with Peter Ayres and his lovely team , they run weekly classes . For more info They will all be back for our final event of the summer The Greenwich Vintage Fair, Sept 5th -6th , 11-6pm.

Also providing lessons on two of the afternoons was  The London Swing Dance Society ‘s Simon Selmon  , which saw large crowds all learning Charleston and Lindy hop styles from beginner to advanced. Simon’s been teaching since 1986 and runs London’s longest running swing dance classes. If you also enjoyed his lessons , you’ll find more info here

The classes were hugely poplar and it was wonderful to see so many people, young and old getting involved, swapping partners , like all good swingers and smiling non stop. So On the Gardens would like to thank all the teachers for their time, and running all the classes for the sheer love of it. They will all be back on September 5th-6th.

For those that came and just danced the day away to beautiful swing and hot jazz  at Mouthful Of Jam’s amazing Art Deco 78 rpm sound system . I think you’ll agree  the music was absolutely superb, or ‘Killer Diller’ as all the hep cats say. We’d like to thank Paul Golledge and Emma Newton Gunn  and their DJ’s for all the hard work. They too will be back for our vintage fair , taking over the same wonderful river side  spot On sunday 6th September. In the meantime They run a fantastic monthly night at a wonderful venue. For more info

The Mouthful Of Jam guys also managed to persuade one of the World’s finest Lindy Hoppers Ryan Francois to come and give a Shim Sham tribute to his mentor,teacher and second father Frankie Mannings.  Ryan arrived full of smiles , the sun was shining and things were shaping up nicely, hundreds of people were ready to go, then it rained, in true British style , most remained and undeterred Ryan lead everyone , we all got wet but also got down. Thankfully he returned the next day to lead another mass shim sham and the weather held out . We’d like to thank Ryan , who flies all over the world teaching , for coming down and doing it for the love, and pizza!

As with this and all future events On the Gardens, our vintage Market took pride of place, running straight down the middle of the Gardens, either side of a hugely busy pathway and backdropped by The Cutty Sark.  with traders selling all kinds of wonderful vintage clothes , accessories , collectables , home ware and records.

We’d like to thank all our traders , who took a leap of faith and believed in what two local lads were doing for their town and came along and very satisfyingly for us , they all did very well. With quite a few actually selling out of stock and having to send for more!

We’d also like to thank the food vendors who were a great addition to the event with their vintage vehicles , selling a fantastic selection of street food . Some did so well , they were sold out on either the Sunday, Monday or both.

Dandy Lion , our cocktail bar and their brilliant staff , who we received so many great comments about, were superb and worked their socks off all weekend. Special thanks and praise to them for putting so much effort into our event, we truly appreciate it.

We’d like to thank Jane & Mike and everyone at Royal Greenwich  Borough council for the opportunity and support from the start. The wardens were great to have around and a wonderful smiley presence throughout the three days. The Clean Sweep team , who take so much pride in keeping the Gardens in pristine shape , were phenomenal all weekend. Considering we had thousands of people and all that goes with that, there was never any mess anywhere. So thank you guys!

Finally and by no means least, We’d  like to thank our tiny event production team, who were all brilliant Jim Doherty , Anne Gerrish and Young John.

Photos from The Big Swing will be uploaded very shortly. Looking forward to our next event, The Greenwich Street Performers Festival on July 18th-19th

See you On the Gardens

Paul & Jon



Mouthful of Jam

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