Early November saw the 2006 Jukebox Madness Show at Kempton Park in West London. We have two reports from differing viewpoints - one visitor and one exhibitor - at this classic British memorabilia show.
Ad Jonker reports
For a number of years the UK has seen the Jukebox Madness Show. Previously held at the Ascot Race Course it is now at Kempton Park Race Course, a mere twelve kilometres away from the Pinball News Headquarters in Hayes, Middlesex.
So you might think that our Editor would take this opportunity to report on this show. He never did! Simply because it coincides with the Pinball Expo, which for Pinball News has no match.
So did he miss a lot? Well, not any more. I went over to the UK to visit the show on Saturday the 4th of November (the show was on Sunday as well). Being lucky my sister married an Englishman and only living 30 kilometres away makes it a nice combination.
The weekend saw brilliant weather with temperatures well above average and clear blue skies. The trip there went smoothly except for the last mile which took some twenty minutes. It was very busy because of the show, but not only due to Jukebox Madness. It coincided with a motorcycle market on the same grounds.
Once inside, the hall wasn’t quite the size I had in mind and in the end not many pins were found. When it came to jukeboxes, old cars etcetera, it was interesting enough for a visit though.
Needless to say, the children (and many grown ups) could be found playing the pins all the time. Also, the number of visitors for the show still looks promising. It was busy all day.
In the end one could say our Editor made the right choice to go to the States and in fact I wouldn’t mind coming along next year.
Pins at the show:
The latter three were presented for sale by Pinballs To Go. It was good to see an old acquaintance from the Pinball Owners Association after more than fifteen years.
Thanks Ad. And now, a report from one of those exhibiting at the show:
Like styling your hair with chip fat? Like your jeans turned up at the bottom? Think Bobby Darin is still top of the pops? Whether you’re a mod or rocker, wear demins or leathers, Jukebox Madness is temporary sanctuary from the local teenagers playing point and laugh. Nick from Pinballers Anonymous took a trip to the largest Jukebox show in the UK and told us his tale.
Jukebox Madness 2006 was the 18th show and the 6th year at Kempton Park Racecourse. A nasty accident on the motorway near the venue meant it was a slow start but gradually the visitors arrived through the gates and into the labyrinth of jukeboxes, memorabilia, retro furniture and much more.
If you went to buy a jukebox you may have found a bargain, if you went to look for that elusive 45 single you may have found it among the hundreds of boxes, if you went for a dance you wouldn’t struggle to find a partner. If you went to play pinball the choice was slightly less enthralling.
I had intended to go to the show with a single pinball machine on somebody else’s stall, but a pinball exhibitor was taken ill just before the show so I was asked to take 8 along at the last minute. In fairness it was just as well I did as there were only a couple of exhibitors with pinball machines, and only one other dot matrix machine.
One guy had a ’mint’ Star Trek the Next Generation for the bargain price of £1800 (that’s not a bargain by the way if you’re reading from outside the UK). It had a poor playfield, damaged plastics and the Neutral Zone was wide enough to smuggle a small family of migrants into these ever-diversifying shores.
Upstairs were 5 electromechanical machines along with a Radical and a Swords of Fury. I had brought along Tales of the Arabian Nights, Twilight Zone, Xenon, KISS, Terminator 3, Austin Powers, World Poker Tour and a Gilligan’s Island. I hadn’t had much notice to prepare for the show, so not all the machines were presented in show condition, nonetheless, they were played constantly from open to close on both days.
Sometimes I would look across and see every machine being played by a youngster, so perhaps pinball will have a new generation of followers, other times the players were as diverse as the visitors. I wanted to take a picture of somebody dressed up in fifties gear playing a pinball, but it seemed the die-hard jukebox fanatics were really only interested in those lumps of spinning discs and fluorescent tubes.
If you arrived in a classic American car, you were granted free entry to the show and the line up of cars was impressive on both days. The Surrey Librarians Chapter of Harley Davidson riders was also in attendance, complete with a healthy assortment of sideburns, beards and ZZ-Top style hair cuts!
2005 claimed to have 7500 visitors, but visitor numbers seemed well-down this year. Perhaps coinciding with bonfire and firework displays and the brisk November weather had a knock-on effect on numbers.
From a pinball point of view the show was disappointing, I saw a few of the pinball crowd during the weekend, but mostly this show was about jukeboxes, perhaps the clue was in the name.
It was nice to be able to help out with some last-minute pinball machines, but if I had been a paying pinball exhibitor, I can’t help but feel it would have been a long weekend.
Many thanks to Nick and Ad for their reports and pictures. Additional pictures are courtesy of Dave Edwards.