ASCOT JUKEBOX FESTIVAL
20th September 2003
Autumn rolls around again and this year we have not one but two competing jukebox shows on the western outskirts of London - the Jukebox Madness show scheduled for October and this, the Ascot Jukebox Festival & Collector's Fair. Although they are primarily jukebox shows, there is usually a number of pinball games, video games and slot machines along with plenty of more general memorabilia and Americana.
As the name implies, this show is held at Ascot Racecourse near Windsor in Berkshire; strangely enough, the former venue of its rival which moved to Kempton Park racecourse.
As you entered the building the first sight was not of jukeboxes but pinballs instead.
A display by the organisers Paradise Amusements (formerly Pinball Paradise) consisted of fifteen machines with a good mix of EMs and solid state games. The oldest was a 1963 Gigi, the newest a 2003 Stern Simpsons Pinball Party which hadn't been set up when we were there.
All these games were either
set to free play or had very low replay scores to keep the credits.
By lunchtime on the first day some of the games were showing some problems.
The RFM was switched off and the Twilight Zone had an unusably weak
lower left flipper and a broken upper left flipper. The Teacher's Pet
appeared to have no credits and balls were getting stuck quite frequently
on the Xenon ramp.
These games were on display to show the quality of the restoration work Paradise Amusements carry out (hence the proliferation of older games) and there's no denying that most of them looked very nice indeed given their age. However, the prices above show that you're paying a substantial premium for the work.
Paradise Amusements weren't the only stand with pinball games.
There was also a display of woodrails from a company called Deco Pinball which cost one old penny to play (old pennies were handed out if you wanted to play them).
These mostly came from the era before flippers were invented (although one game did have flippers, both were activated when you hit either flipper button) and illustrate very clearly where pinball got its name.
The games were mainly from Genco. They were Archer (x2), Vogue, One-Two-Three, Airport, Bumper and a strange game believed to come from Germany called Dexterity Play.
So, with around 30 games at the show and about three quarters of them playable, this was an interesting show. Clearly it's mainly a jukebox and memorabilia show, but there were enough pinball games to keep many fans entertained, especially if you enjoy older games.
© Pinball News 2002