This year is the second year I’ve been to Birmingham’s gem of an electro swing event: Swingamajaig! So close for us London folk, great party, music and vintage vibe, great value for money and just: SO.MUCH.FUN!! I can’t recommend it more.
Firstly, just to clear up a common misconception of its name- when I tell people about the festival, they always assume you need to be able to swing dance. Simply: you don’t! Whilst the festival does offer swing dancing classes, (the day before the main event), and yep there will be swing dancers in attendance, this is a festival for all, no age specific and no dance style specific.
The first year I attended the event was held at the Custard Factory and this year it was at the beautiful Botanical Gardens. I think both venues are lovely: the Custard Factory buildings and its layout had an authenticity and grit that I really, really liked, whilst the Botanical Gardens felt super charming and a bit decadent: and that also appealed! We loved both events, for different reasons, but would say we preferred the mix of bands that were on 2 years ago in our Custard Factory experience, and would really love the festival to be able to return there too as also preferred that venue. It feels super alternative in that area! That said, we totally loved this year at the Botanical Gardens and will be back in 2020 for sure!!
This year we loved hanging out in the Cabaret section a bit more (which is hilarious- great acts of dancers, comedy, and magic shows) and also the indoor DJ, where we spent most of the night dancing. It’s lovely to be with good friends at a well organised event where everyone around you is also having a bloody good time!
The after party goes onto 5am, and was bang in the middle of Birmingham so a perfect location to get home from (especially for us: we purposefully chose a hotel 5 minute walk away from the after party)
Birmingham is cheap in comparison to London- the taxis we used to get from our city centre hotel out to the Botanical Gardens were cheap, the hotel was cheap, and we thought the value of the ticket price was a steal! They have early bird rates: 2 x early bird tickets, with the after party included came to around £31.50 per person.
Some advice: Not every outside bar/food seller took card and there is no cash machine of course at the Botanical Gardens, so make sure you come prepared with cash!
The nitty gritty:
How we got there: We took the National Express from London Victoria to Birmingham Coach station at just under £10 each. We checked out the train 12 weeks in advance, but prices were already £30+ this year (we paid £16 each return 2 years ago by booking 12 weeks ahead then) so decided to keep it cheap! Yep the coach is longer than the train, but not significantly more really, and we blasted in 40 minutes earlier than our scheduled arrival time on the way back- result!
Where we stayed: https://ibis-birmingham-new-street-station-hotel.hotelmix.co.uk/We paid £39 for 2 people for 1 night here! Super comfortable, super clean, lovely bar and welcoming staff, AND large buffet breakfast’s the next morning for only £8 per person. There was also a £15 back option via booking.com when you referred a friend using a link, so we took it in turns in our group to do just that!
The website link for the event so you can coo over it as much as I will for next year!: https://swingamajig.co.uk/