You Spoke we listened – What is new for 2020

2019 was a very special year for us, moving to a new site and changing the event format is always scary and last year was a big success.  After the festival we asked you what you thought and what you wanted to see in the future.
Here is our report, what you asked for and what we are doing differently for 2020…

The 2019 Feedback Report

Well first of all we want to thank you all for your support, with almost everyone saying the will be back this year, after the heatbreak of having to down scale in 2018 and stress of moving venues in 2019, this is such a result and we can’t thank you enough.

There is a lot of really interesting feedback to digest, but here we want to focus on the things, either positive or negative that help us shape the festival and implement the changes that you want to see.

Report Headlines

  • You guys wanted to see more traditional vintage music and more electronic beats
  • The venue move, mostly positive but things you missed from Digbeth
  • You thought it was a cold year and a bit exposed to the elements
  • The bars/food queues were a bit slow and could be improved
  • We could have had better signage and info around site
  • You guys really like the event (and from on a personal note thank you for all the kind comments)
  • The best thing about Swingamajig is the atmosphere

Well these are the headlines, well lets take a look at each point and what are we doing differently?

More Authentic Vintage Bands and more Electronic Beats

We asked what you would like us to add to the festival and you said  trad swing/jazz acts and having more electro beats.
We have added another live stage so there will be more live music to start with, booking a good mix of traditional and alternative bands.  However if vintage music is your thing, then the Botanical Dance Hall is the place for you, with swing dance classes early on, followed by swing DJs and then live performances including an incredible 16 piece swing big band!
On the electro beats side of things we are adding a new venue – ‘Phat Sam’s Disco Huts’.  The Disco huts will be playing an eclectic mix of disco, electro swing, soul, house, global beats and more.  A brand new micro venue for a max 100 people all having the very best time.

2020 will see loads more music and you are going to love it!

The Venue Move

As you probably know we had some problems with our Digbeth venue that ended with our 2018 event being down scaled and last yearwe decided to move out of town.  Digbeth was a brilliant setting  and I would never write off a return to the arches but it also came with several limitations outside of the venue politics and was stopping us from developing in the way we wanted to
We want Swingamajig to be the most accessible, friendly event, where everyone is welcome and people can come and have a wonderful day out with or without their kids.  At the Gardens we can make the daytime programming really fun with live bands and cabaret, and then move to the afterparty to keep the party jumping until the sun is up.

Reading the comments the main thing people missed from Digbeth was the chance to explore and get lost down the rabbit hole in a vintage wonderland, so 2020 our main focus is  bringing that feeling to the Botanical Gardens!  It will feel much more cosy  with 5 new spaces to explore including micro-venues (mostly covered under marquees) with walk about entertainment joining it all up – it will be much more like an immersive magical world.

The Weather

Well there is no escaping it, last year was cold, coldest year on record for the 5th May.  This year we have booked the sunshine so there is no reason to worry, however we want to be much more weather resistant than we were last year.  We are bringing plenty of marquees to provide cover just in case and all the new stages are covered.
We can’t control the weather but we can make sure that there is enough cover on the lawn, and almost all our new areas are under cover so whatever the weather you will be able to have a wonderful time!

The Food/Bar Queues

As a customer this is one of the things that annoys me most events and the queues last year were unacceptable.  We had some last minuet cancellations in the food court which put a lot of pressure on the other food traders but this year we are starting with a food area that is 50% bigger, so we can increase the choice and keep the queues down.

Bars have always been a point of contention since we set up the festival 8 years ago, the we have never had control over bar operations and they have never been right.  We have some good news for you 2020 is the first year that we are in control of the bars and we are doing things properly.
Working with local a Birmingham brewery, local pubs and event bar specialists, we are really going to town on our drinks offering and making sure we have enough staff to serve you!

My favourite part of the planning process has been Our Terrace Market which is modeled on places like Brick Lane.  Each stall has a different specialisation, beer from a local brewery, wine from an Italian importer, cider from a Herefordshire Orchard, great gin, cocktails, rum, zingy Guarangutan and more, served by the people who actually made the drink in the first place!
With tasting menus on offer and loads and a focus on reasonably priced quality drinks you are going to love choosing your drinks at Swingamajig Festival!

Better Sineage Around the Site

This is pretty simple to sort – and we are sorting it.  We had a program last year both online and printed online, but we didn’t sucessfully communicate where to find it.  This year there will be information points dotted around the festival with programs and maps, but any questions you have there will be a member of staff on hand to help and make your experience as fun as possible.

To End

I want to say a special thank to everyone who shared their thoughts to make the festival better.  The feedback was full of useful constructive feedback, and also some really lovely comments.  This is your festival, it belongs to you and thank you so much to you all.  Onwards and upwards, and thanks to your feedback, if you liked 2019 this year will blow your Socks off!