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The day I'd been waiting for all year had finally arrived! With Connie having been washed and vacuumed the day before in preparation, we made our way up the M3 nice and early in the beautiful sunshine, not a cloud in the sky, to Kempton Race Course where they were holding the 18th Jukebox Madness Show. This venue has just undergone a multi-million pound redevelopment and is perfect for the needs of a show this size. Jukebox Madness occupies 2900 sq metres of exhibition space in the main grandstand, with more room to expand should the need arise. Easy access for vehicles enables simultaneous loading and unloading on both levels, plus secure site parking for 3000 cars. Food courts and bars are situated on two levels and there is the 'jubilee' restaurant situated on the top floor: with tiered seating and panoramic views over the racecourse and adjoining countryside, it is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a snack or meal. Kempton Park is in the heart of rural Middlesex, just off the M3 Kingston junction, within the M25 and easily accessible by public transport.
We arrived about 09:10am, people were already queuing! It didn't open until 10:00am!! People of all ages were dressed up -there were teddy boys, ladies in ankle socks and full circle skirts, hot rodders, and rockers of course! We were waved through the gates to the front of the building. As in previous years, classic cars and bikes are on display right outside the doors, some are for sale. We parked alongside an American diner bus. I first saw this bus at Wheels Day, Easter Bank Holiday, Aldershot where it drew the crowds all day. Done up in a Coca Cola/American diner theme. Alongside us a guy pulled up in a PA Cresta, absolutely gorgeous, beautiful condition. He popped into the autojumble at Beaulieu this year, couldn't find what he was looking for, so contacted a lady on his way home to look at the Cresta, it had been her husband’s pride and joy, but sadly he'd passed away last year. He'd obviously looked after it!
And now the doors had opened to the venue! As usual the ground floor was full of all types of jukeboxes including digital ones and some that held CDs, Wurlitzers from the 30s through to the 70s, record players, gramaphones, you name it, they were there and music pumping out of each and every one of them! There were stalls selling original 50s furniture, ornaments, clothes, magazines, collectible toys etc. Many stands selling Coca Cola products, 50s inspired pin up girl products, and of course my absolute favourite - Betty Boop!!! “Happy Days” were there selling their 50s diner inspired bench seats and formica coffee tables. There were people everywhere; it was heaving. Stall holders seem to make an amazing effort to create interesting and visually exciting displays as well as working all year on discovering and/or restoring unusual artefacts to sell. Exhibitors come from all over the country and many come from Europe especially for the show. For those who visit the show, not so much to buy a jukebox (ranging in price from £300 to £12000 plus), or to find that rare record they have been searching for for years, but just to imbibe great atmosphere and to meet old friends (JBM is the nearest one can get to a Jukebox convention), they can always dance the afternoons away to the bands playing great rock n' roll upstairs on the top floor.
Up on the first floor, there were an extensive array of stalls selling records of all genres, punk, mod, rock n roll. Fruit machines & one arm bandits for sale. Many stands were selling various parts to help you restore your jukebox. I chatted to a couple from “Custom Clothes“ -they made full circle skirts, diner inspired blouses, halter neck tops, two tone bowling/work shirts, drapes for the teddy boys in plain black, two tone, some with leopard print collars/cuffs. A young couple had at a stall where he made the shoes - bowling style, creeper style, brogues. She sold 1940s original knitted tops, and made bloomer/boxer style underwear for the women - you'll have to see the photos to see what I mean! In fact all aspects of the fifties and the sixties seem to be covered.
Dave and I left about 2pm that afternoon, absolutely shattered, and loaded with bags. Looking forward to next year already!!!!