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To arrive at Newark Showground on the 8th of July with dark clouds looming overhead wasn’t too promising. We arrived around midday, and ate straight away until the shower that had begun already had passed. Could hear a girl singing in the country and western stage but didn’t know who it was; to be honest we didn’t spend much time there throughout our stay. We began looking round the extensive rock and roll stalls before seeing some friends we knew who had packed what seemed like everything but the kitchen sink (full changes of clothes including knickers being a highlight of the list!) As the rain began to threaten again, we dashed to Angie’s caravan. After declining an offer of bacon sandwiches, we sat and chatted to her until the second shower had passed; whilst missing the beginning of Rocket ’88’s performance. Angie particularly sat with a pained expression; missing one of her favourite bands all for the sake of avoiding a downpour. We managed to run and catch the end of their set and they were good, caught up with some friends while they were on so didn’t manage to give the band my full attention. The dancefloor was covered in puddles of rain and looked like a deathtrap; a very minor hinderence for some hardcores however!

I finally bought a Vince Ray t-shirt from an ace little stall for £15. Had a chat to the stall owner and the materials he had on sale he’d ordered from America. Noticed a wicked cotton material very similar to Imelda May’s dress on Graham Norton’s show Jan 2011. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzy0LeT0jzs) saw some jackets with a panel of said material on later when looking around. Wish that the Americana highstreet could replace the normal highstreet; there seemed to be absolutely everything available to buy. I bet some people (with money) bought some very rare dresses that weekend! Saw a particularly gorgeous Hawaiian wiggle dress that I have had an everlasting yearning for!

These few minutes when looking around the stalls were about the only moments of sunshine we got all day. Maybe the removal of the jacket was a bit optimistic.

We had a little peep into the jive class going on in the main pavilion; during which we bumped into (literally) a very excited Paul and Theresa. We all had a dance inside to Please Mama Please by Go Cat Go and followed with a Charleston Stroll to a rockabilly cover of ‘Wanna be like you’ from the Jungle Book. One of my favourite Charleston stroll numbers! The much loved Hicksville Bombers played at around 4pm; and this is when the real excitement began. Not only was torrential rain witnessed and survived but HAILSTONES the size of very large peas; three enormous umbrellas between the three of us was only just enough coverage! I don’t think I have ever experienced the horrendous conditions that ensued. Violent thunder, streak lightning, rain pounding overhead and a gorgeous full half circle rainbow caused a lot of distruption to the Bombers’ gig. But in true style, they embraced the weather and played upon it; ‘we have a new competition, enter the new Hicksville Bombers wet t-shirt competition and get a free cd!’ Definitely a memorable gig; the crowd had definitely warmed to the fact that they were going to get wet no matter what. The dancefloor was used as a swimming pool and even through the worst of the downpour; boppers still raved and splashed around in the wet. I had my first ever jive in the rain, which was brilliant until we called Time Out as it got heavier. The rumbling, fast pace of the Hicksville Bombers’ sound combined perfectly with the thunder and lightning; what an atmosphere.

Part two to come soon… including the fantastic performance from Jack Rabbit Slim, a surprising discovery at the Fret Tones gig and publicly flashing innocent women!