The Vintage and Retro Festival of the Lake District

Retro Rendezvous 2021


Based in the brilliant old market town of Ulverston, Retro Rendezvous is a full weekend of fabulous retro fun. Music, food, dance, cinema, clothes, markets, cars, motorcycles, drink and the famous Velo Retro old school cycling events through the Lake District World Heritage Site. It’s about as much fun as you can have with your retro clothes on! So put it in the diary and get ready for one of the great weekends of the summer.

It is with great sadness, that we feel compelled to cancel Retro Rendezvous 2020 due to the risks presented by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

We have given this a great deal of detailed consideration. Knowing, as we do, that running the event would give a significant psychological lift for our community, our many visitors and a much-needed boost for our local tourism and hospitality sectors, we have not taken this decision lightly.

We are bitterly disappointed to have to make this decision, particularly as, following the success of 2019, which was a real breakthrough year for the event, planned visitor numbers had increased significantly again for 2020. Bookings for the cycling event have been taken from across Europe and the USA.

Regardless, we felt that we had to put the health, safety and security of our visitors and communities first and place the long-term security of the event ahead of short-term gains. This decision protects the future of the event and ensures that it continues to be held in high regard by the local community, visitors and key statutory organisations.

We are committed to delivering the event to a high standard in the long term and with this in mind, we are considering a date change for 2021, we need to consult a range of stakeholders on this and will announce a decision as soon as possible. We have outlined the basis of our decision-making process below.

Your Booking
If you have booked a stall with us, the default position is that you will automatically be transferred to the 2021 event at 2020 prices. If you can stay with us over the winter, that would be fantastic and will help significantly in having funds together to build the 2021 event. However, if you need to cancel, we will refund.

We would like to thank you for your ongoing support and patience as we have worked through this and look forward to seeing you many times again, in a happier and safer world.

The Retro Rendezvous Team, July 27th 2020

Basis of Consideration

  • Safety. At the basis of every possible approach, we considered the degree to which we could protect the safety of the local community and visitors alike. Regardless of the restrictions considered, we could not see a way forward with any reliable degree of control. Currently, public health officials are fighting to contain C-19 outbreaks in West Lancashire and Carlisle / Eden, the risk therefore, must be considered as elevated here. The key repeated question was ‘how would be feel if an outbreak occurred here or elsewhere, as a result of the event going ahead?’
  • Quality. Could we offer an event which was qualitatively similar, to people’s usual experience of the weekend? The answer, consistently, was a resounding ‘no’. Further, many of the more popular elements, gain their energy and joy from large numbers of people congregating tightly together. We would be unable to deliver a recognisable Retro Rendezvous
  • Financial. Cancelling the event for 2020, creates a significant financial burden, building two years of fixed costs for one year of revenue. This presents a genuine challenge, however, as a mature event this is survivable. If we were to go ahead and then later forced to cancel at short notice, having committed to full event costs, the impact could be catastrophic. This situation is amplified by the need for significant numbers of additional staff to ensure COVID security. Event insurance covering C-19 cancellation is not available.
  • Risk and uncertainty. The legislation around C-19 restrictions has been created, by necessity, very quickly, missing out many of the normal stages of review and consultation. As a result, much of it lacks clarity at a detail level and all of it lacks the precedent of case law. As such, we have had to take a precautionary approach. In effect, the more that we know, the more questions arise. For example, we are not entirely clear if we could legally run an event of this scale. We do know however, that in the event of a local outbreak, we would be expected to cancel, without notice – this has been reinforced by the unexpected restrictions placed on Spanish travel this weekend.
We've started planning for 2021. As soon as it's safe, we'll kick off with a fundraiser.

Attention Classic Car Owners

We’d love you to come along and exhibit your vehicle in the centre of Ulverston on either or both days of the festival, between 10am and 4pm. We’ll even provide tea and biscuits.

If you’d like to attend our 2020 festival, please help us to plan by registering a few details. Click on the car registration button below. Registration opens soon.

Market Traders ~ 2020 stall booking is closed

Book a space outdoors or in the marquee for one or both days of the festival. Prices start at only £30 for one day (Sunday) outdoors in a 3m x 3m space. A table/space in the marquee next to the main music stage and food court is £90 for the whole weekend. Your business will be listed on our Market page as soon as you’ve booked. Find out more and book online. Photo by Steve Fleming.

Velo Retro

À L’ancienne, Le Loafeur, and The Mighty Corinthian. Three vintage cycling events within the Lake District World Heritage Site, organised by Sportive Lakes, all taking place during the Retro Rendezvous festival weekend. Photo by Steve Fleming.

À L’ancienne is our classic, 84km retro bike challenge. It’s hard enough to feel like a real day out but easy enough to be tackled by any reasonably fit cyclist. Along the way, you’ll take in Coniston Water, Windermere, Esthwaite Water, Wray Castle and more wonderful scenery than you’ll see in the average year! Not enough? You even have the option of a final ride up the track to the Sir John Barrow Monument, before returning home. Le Loafeur, does what it says on the tin! It meanders around the beautiful Coniston Water on a 47km loop, which is about as easy as we can make it in this part of the world. As always, there’s a magical food stop featuring huge slices of cake in a fabulous setting. It’s all about fun, friendship and a fabulous, shared experience. The Mighty Corinthian is a replica one day classic from back in the day. Big distances, lots of climbing, spectacular locations – all ridden on vintage steel bicycles in period kit! The only difference is that you’ll receive the famous Sportive Lakes support and you’ll be really well fed! So, fish out the Sean Kelly outfit, polish up the old Raleigh and let’s go! Visit for more information about the cycling events.

Thank you to our magnificent supporters

We are extremely grateful to The Northern Line and Ulverston Town Council for their ongoing support, and to Ulverston BID for their generous donation towards the  2019 festival. As the event continues to grow, we would really love to work with one more major partner or sponsor. It this idea floats your boat, please get in touch with us via the contact form. Thank you.

What happens if it rains?

We’re keeping our fingers and toes crossed for dry weather. If it’s wet, the event will still go ahead, as long as we can ensure that all the participants and visitors are safe. Many of the market stalls are in the covered marketplace. Various participating shops and pubs are indoors. The events in the Laurel & Hardy Museum and the Roxy Cinema are indoors. The outdoor music stage is covered, and we also have an extremely large marquee. In other words, we will do our best to make sure that the show goes on, and everyone stays safe and dry.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest event news. Subscribe to our mailing list, and you’ll automatically be entered into our annual prize draw. We only send emails when we have something important to say. See our Privacy page for details of how we safeguard your personal information.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
divider 100 2col