The stunning grounds of Pittville Pump Room will be transformed into an all-American ‘Stars and Stripes’ weekend to commemorate the 80th anniversary of American forces arriving at the pump room and transforming it into a military base.

Retro Festival CheltenhamThe Retro Americana Festival which takes place on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 June, is free to attend and will transport visitors back to the 1940s and 50s with live music, classic cars, food and drink, entertainment, vintage and artisan shopping, vintage hair salon, dance lessons and dancing.

Cheltenham Mayor, Cllr Sandra Holliday will arrive in a classic car to officially open the festival at 11am on Saturday 25 June.

The weekend features ‘Gasoline Alley’ showcasing Chryslers and Cadillacs, muscle cars, customised hot rods and military Jeeps. Few cars are as instantly recognisable as the Ford Gran Torino from Starsky and Hutch that appeared in the 2003 movie starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson.

The red-and-white Gran Torino has also been driven by Paul Michael Glaser – the original Starsky from the 1970s TV show – and has been signed by him and fellow co-stars David Soul (Hutch) and Antonio Fargas (Huggie). It will be joined at Retro Americana by a 1976 Mercury Marquis 2-door Hardtop that has won multiple awards – including Best in Show at Rally of the Giants at Blenheim Palace. Built by Ford during the ‘full-size luxury car’ period, it’s 19 feet long and powered by a 400 cubic-inch (6.6-litre) engine. 

Gasoline Alley features a range of automotive history. One of the earliest models on display will be a 1920s six-cylinder Chrysler. Representing the 1940s will be a 1946 Chevrolet Stylemaster two-door Town Sedan. Other vehicles on display include a 1960 Hotchkiss-built Willys MB Jeep that was used by the French Army and which has now been painted in American WW2 markings. There will also be a Ford Crown Victoria police interceptor – complete with working lights and sirens – and a restored 1968 Dodge Charger R/T.

Dancing fans will be delighted to hear they'll be a ‘whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on’ with live bands performing throughout the weekend, including a 1940s swing band, rock ’n’ roll, rockabilly, blues, and an American Hoedown. Dance shoes and attire are most definitely encouraged for any visitors!

Rockabella’s vintage hair salon is offering appointments for vintage hair styling from sleek 1920s up-do’s, victory rolls or some bouncy Hollywood waves. Everyone is encouraged and welcome to attend this first Retro Americana Festival weekend and to dress in their 1940s or 50s vintage attire. Prizes will be awarded to the best dressed both days.

You are invited to round up your family and friends to join in the free community fun and celebrate the requisition of the iconic Pittville Pump Room 80 years ago.

Retro Americana Festival Cheltenham

Retro Americana Festival

Saturday Programme (1950s)

10.00am – Event opens with an American car drive-in

10.00am-11.30am – DJ Jim Hannaway – Just Jive Lindy Hop

11.00am – Official event opening

11.30am-1.15pm – Live music by The Rhythm Slingers

1.15pm – Just Jive Lindy Hop free dance lesson (no partner required)

1.30pm – Best Dressed competition and Best in Show vehicle presentation

2.30pm – Gloucestershire Cheerleading Academy demonstration

1.45 - 4.00pm – Live music by Jon Clare & The Dough Boys, performing boogie-woogie and 1950s rock and roll classics

4.00pm – American cars depart/music stops

Kid’s Zone will include circus skills, face painting and music man, timings will be announced.

DJ Jim Hannaway of Just Jive Lindy Hop will be playing nostalgic tracks throughout the day.

The heritage trail will be exhibited inside the pump room that showcases its dynamic history.

7.30pm - Saturday Hoedown (tickets £15, including a cider)

Sunday Programme (1940s)

10.00am – Event opens with an American car drive-in

11.00am – Homage to Forces veterans and serving officers

11.30am-1.15pm – Live music by Miss Franny Delight. The vintage songstress will delight you with songs from the 1920s to modern numbers with a vintage twist

1.15pm – Free 1940s traditional dance lesson by Erica and Cliff Fowers from Swing Out Swindon 

1.45pm – Best Dressed competition and Best in Show vehicle presentation

2.00pm-4.30pm – Kim Cypher and her swing band

4.00pm – American cars depart

Kid’s Zone will include circus skills, face painting and music man, timings will be announced.

Plus guest DJ Rob McElveney playing a mix of 1940s swing and nostalgic tunes throughout the day.

A vintage an artisan market will take place with around 40 traders inside the pump room.

The full programme of events and to book tickets for the Hoedown barn dance visit: www.pittvillepumproom.org.uk/retro-americana-festival


For more unmissable events in Cheltenham check out our helpful guides - Summer in Cheltenham, Festivals in Cheltenham, Live Shows Cheltenham

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Cheltenham's first American Retro Festival will take place on Friday June 24 to Sunday June 26, to celebrate 80 years since the GIs used Pittville Pump Room as a military base, the Cheltenham Trust team will provide visitors with the chance to take a step back in time to 1940s and 1950s USA. Expect vintage fashion, dancing, live music and classic cars.

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