South coast vintage entertainment impresario Dawn Gracie ploughed her heart and soul, not to mention considerable finance into her debut immersive vintage weekender near Chichester in September 2016. After its success, albeit with many stumbling blocks along the way; an emotional kickstarter campaign and ill health, Dawn is doing it all again this year at Mill Rythe on Hayling Island 5th-8th October. But for the singer and event organiser, this was not supposed to be the plan.
What happened after her first weekender was a shock to everyone, most of all Dawn. ‘With the wave of interest riding high and everyone keen to book again to experience my vision of an immersive vintage experience, the plans were underway for weekender 2017 but only weeks after the date was announced, and being half way to a sell out, I received devastating news that the venue where I held my debut in Bracklesham Bay, was being sold and redeveloped. My weekender 2017 had lost its home, all monies were to be refunded and I had no access to my customer’s details. Not only was It a punch in the stomach for me as an event organiser who had invested in promotional videos and social media campaigns, but it was such a loss to this countries heritage to see one of the last remaining old fashioned holiday villages close its doors.’
As headline acts The Jive Aces and Hampshire TV sensations Timeless had already been booked for the 2017 date, Dawn decided to keep calm and carry on instead with ‘Dawn’s Vintage All-Dayer’ in July 2017 albeit on a much smaller scale of her original plan of a three day residential weekender. The event went ahead and was another feather in Dawn’s hat, regardless of the challenging weather conditions and behind the scenes drama but Dawn saw it as a necessary step towards her ultimate weekender dreams ‘I was determined that all the hard work in 2016 creating my vision for a ‘Hi-de-Hi meets Dirty Dancing’ style weekend experience wouldn’t go to waste and so I took the brave step of keeping the momentum going with the 2016 all-dayer, but at the same time, planning ahead and booking Mill Rythe on Hayling Island for 2018. The capacity is twice that of Southdowns Holiday Village, my debut and now defunct venue, which is why it was actually on year four of my business plan. I had intended on building up slowly and moving venue in 2019! A bold step, but why not? Momentum has been building for this since I became a vintage entertainer back in 2011 and now it’s time to make it happen’
Dawn is currently busy reaching out to her target audience of groups of friends and couples who have an interest in vintage, who fancy a weekend away with half board accommodation and lots of free entertainment, workshops and activities. The vintage will be 50’s & 60’s with the 20’s being the feature day era. With that, the weekend will culminate with a roaring Gatsby party on the Sunday evening where Elena and Fiona will be leading lessons and brand new perofrmances!
If this sounds like the perfect weekend for you and friends visit dawnsvintagaedo.com