Armed Forces Day is marked annually in Romford Market, organised by the London Borough of Havering. It’s held in the central shopping area, where a regular outside market is situated and is marked by a parade of currently-serving troops, veterans and cadets. We were there to provide entertainment following the parade.
We’re placed at one end of the market, on a wide pedestrianised street. A lot of the street is cobbled, so an area with modern paving alongside a building was chosen in advance. On the day we find an additional area of paving that is suitable to dance on that has the advantage of being more centrally located in the street, making us and the Jeep more visible.
We operate without standard sound setup, using both speaker boxes aimed across the market.
Due to vehicle restrictions we have to be on site by 9am, even though we’re not “on duty” until midday. The first three hours of the day is spent chatting with visitors and posing for photos.
From midday we’re joined by two more dancers, Steve and Jodie. The original plan would have been for us all to be dancing together, however it’s 32c and we’re in direct sunlight, so its mostly a tag team operation, enabling us to provide as much dancing as possible in the heat.
We planned on the assumption that the market would be at its busiest in the morning and directly after the parade, with numbers dwindling over the hot afternoon. With this in mind we’ve ‘top loaded’ our music.
By top-loading our music we mean that we planned to play lots of the big recognisable hits (In the Mood, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy) early on when the market will be at its busiest.
With the expectation that a town centre event is likely to have a turnover of visitors, rather that people staying for the whole day, we use a 2.5 hour setlist, then repeat it, which allows us to stick just to the most recognisable 1940s hits. Click here for a taste of what this setlist includes.
“We booked Jeep Jump Jive for our Armed Forces Day celebrations in Romford Market and their meticulously vintage image and authentic 1940s dancing made our visitors’ faces light up with delight. Their regular communication was very reassuring; they were friendly, reliable, adaptable, polite, professional and very talented. They were a pleasure to deal with – arriving and setting up promptly, despite having to navigate the North Circular in their WWII jeep. We wouldn’t hesitate in recommending them.”