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A decade of Dawn at the Stansted Garden Show, Hampshire

At the end of 2011 I had only just started my full time career as a vintage singer and I was still in the crossover period of being in the ‘business’ world so I was attending an awards function and happened to be sat next to a couple of ladies who won an award. I was so happy for them and we chatted the night away. Turns out they ran a highly respected bistro café and they were such good company that evening. We got chatting about what I do and it turns out they were going to be running a vintage tea room at the Stansted Garden Show the following June – the same one I’d sat in that summer, not knowing my life was about to change in only a few months! Anyway, they asked if I’d fancy coming to sing some songs and of course, I jumped at the opportunity as I was new to the vintage scene and the practice would be good in my new style of performance. I think I might’ve also performed at their bistro early in 2012 too but I can’t actually recall. It was over ten years ago now!


June 2012 came along and my excitement about debuting at the Stansted Garden Show was overshadowed by my beloved dog Basil being poorly but I made it through the performance ( I think I only did the one day for a few hours) albeit feeling quite tearful. I was positioned inside the vintage tea room marquee which stood in the area in front of the food marquee, and had a single speaker that I borrowed from the pub band I'd been with since 2006 and I wore the dress I'd won 'Best Dressed at Goodwood Revival' in the year before which was the catalyst for this new era of my life/performing career. I recall my Mum was there and she sat and chatted to my friend Alex of The Vintage Parade (and since the creator of The Nostalgia Show) over a cream tea.

Vintage singer Dawn Gracie performing for the first time at Stansted Garden Show, Hampshire
The beginning of a wonderful future

The following year (2013), the Vintage Tea Room was repositioned and placed over on the (what’s called) Dog Island in front of the majestic Stansted House. I was placed outside in the sunshine which was lovely, and performed all three days for a few hours each day. I absolutely loved that year because my act was far more honed and I even got snapped by the Chichester Observer! I'd bought a beautiful original vntage dress and I'd even got a compact speaker of my own! It was a wonderful weekend and I remember meeting so many lovely people who were so complimentary and I just KNEW I’d made the right decision to make this my full time career.

Vintage performer Dawn Gracie at The Garden Show 2013 Stansted House, Hampshire
Look at that grin

In 2014 the tea room was no longer an externally hired in thing but I had been approached by the lovely organiser of the Show to return on my own without the backdrop of the tea room; instead they had the lovely Caravanilla ice cream caravan for me to nestle next to. The area on Dog Island where the tea room had been previously was now an open sided marquee for people to shelter from the sun whilst enjoying the various food and drink concessions; as well as my entertainment. I recall it being so hot that weekend that my new ipad overheated on a few occasions! I learnt from that mistake and now ALWAYS have a back up device to hand. Again I got to showcase a new (