Glamophones help North Wales Forties Festival go with a swing


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Retro girl band The Glamophones will help nostalgia lovers get ‘in the mood’ at a North Wales Forties Festival later this month.

The Glamophones, who perform songs from the 1940s, right through to modern day hits with a vintage twist, will ensure the festival in Colwyn Bay, on Saturday May 20 and Sunday May 21, goes with a swing.

Dressed in vintage replica dresses, the vocal harmony group will be performing free on Sunday May 21 on stage on Penrhyn Road, Colwyn Bay. The town’s streets will host other Forties style performers plus food producers, wartime ephemera and nostalgia items.

The event also features a Ballroom Blitz show at The Barn in Eirias Park on Saturday May 20 with sessions from Paul Caspar, the UK’s top George Formby tribute act, and DJ Major Swing and Kitty, who will be digging out old dance tunes.

The Glamophones repertoire includes everything from popular wartime tunes ‘In the Mood’ and ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’ to more recent hits Walk Like an Egyptian and Uptown Funk, performed in their unique, retro style.

Carrie-Anne McNally, 31, formed The Glamophones with friends Laura Fleming, 25, of Solihull and Kate Stallard, 25, of Oldbury, three and a half years ago after the trio met while working at Birmingham’s Alexandra Theatre.

The Forties Festival has been organised by Colwyn Business Improvement District (BID), which is aiming to revitalise the area, and will be a trip down memory lane for many of the town’s visitors and residents.

The family festival will help rekindle the wartime spirit. It will host a full-sized replica Spitfire and Hurricane, battle skirmishes, military vehicles, weapons display and heritage tours.

Anna Openshaw, project manager of Colwyn BID said: “The Forties Festival is creating a real buzz around the area and we are thrilled that The Glamophones are performing as they will ensure the event goes with a swing. I’m sure they’ll have everyone up dancing – including me!”

The non-for-profit social enterprise is aiming to revitalise the business communities across the Bay of Colwyn and to attract more visitors, investment and shoppers to the area.

According to renowned musician and songwriter Dave Stewart, The Glamophones are reminiscent of the Andrew Sisters, a prolific and hugely successful close harmony singing group of the swing and boogie-woogie eras.

“We were selling ice creams, working on the bar and showing people to their seats and, like many people working in theatres, we had a desire to perform,” said Carrie-Anne, from Burntwood, Staffordshire, who had a background of dancing and singing in a choir.

“As we became good friends we all discovered a mutual love of everything vintage. Myself and Kate had a background in singing and when we all gave it a go at an open mic night, we discovered that Laura could sing too and we all harmonised really well together.

“We got some great feedback and started performing gigs and it has taken off from there,” continued Carrie-Anne. “We rehearse together several times a week and do around five gigs a week in the West Midlands and across the country including festivals, weddings and birthday parties.”

A highlight for The Glamophones was being invited to perform on a BBC One TV Show ‘Frank Sinatra Our Way. “The producer had seen one of our YouTube videos and invited us on to the show,” said Carrie-Anne. “It was fantastic, particularly when Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics, said we reminded him of the Andrew Sisters, which was a terrific compliment for us. We were also praised by presenter Alexander Armstrong who said of our performance, ‘such panache!’

The band has also performed on cruise ships, appearing on vessels in the Caribbean, Norway, The Mediterranean and Barcelona. “It was brilliant as we were flown to the cruise ships to perform for three or four nights and were then flown home, so we didn’t need to be away from home for months at a time as many cruise ship performers do,” continued Carrie-Anne.

The singers are assisted at some of their gigs by their band, and fiancés made up of Dom Lawson on guitar, Dan Groom on double bass, Dave Tibbitts on trumpet and drummer Mark Banks.

And to ensure authenticity, they wear dresses from Lindy Bop, a vintage reproduction company. “We often get asked where we get our outfits from because they are reproduced so well,” said Carrie-Anne. “We always wear matching outfits and, while Lindy Bop provides us with most of them, we do use a couple of other vintage reproduction companies.

“We can’t wait to perform in North Wales, particularly as it is a dedicated Forties festival. We’re very excited!”

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