Monthly Archives: April 2017

Electric Jive, Stamford Arts Centre

Stamford Arts Centre, 27 St Mary’s St, Stamford, PE9 2DL

Stamford Arts Centre is an utterly refurbished and modernised 18th century venue that serves this small but vibrant town, and is used for occasional dances by Electric Jive.  The are, unfortunately, no lessons here.
The main ballroom is magnificent.  It feels slightly odd at first because it is longer and narrow than might be expected, but after the first seconds of dancing this is forgotten, and the sheer delight of dancing on a perfect dance floor under a chandelier takes over.
Next door there is a room reserved for cakes and buns etc, and a second room that is used as a blues room.  The bar is downstairs, itself a very nice room with a good atmosphere.  There is free water available from there.
Parking is a couple of hundred yards away down wonderful 18th century streets past a massive church.  You can find the car park at the junction of Wharf Road and Gas Street.  It is charged for during the day but on evenings and Sunday afternoons it is free.  It’s a three minute walk to the centre. Leave the car park from the Wharf Road entrance (through which you will have come) and then cross Wharf Road and turn left up Blackfriars pass the church on the right.   The Arts Centre is straight ahead – turn right and immediate left alongside the building to gain access.
  • Air conditioning: 5 out of 5 – I’m not sure there was any, but it was a good temperature throughout.  On a very humid day it can get warm – but they open the doors (which look out onto open space, so there is no trouble with the neighbours).  Plenty of fans.
  • Atmosphere: 5 out of 5.  The atmosphere is made by the enthusiasm of those who are there.  The people who attend believe in it, and many will come up and ask you to dance if you are a new arrival.  I found the Sunday blues afternoon less satisfactory due to limited numbers, but that might just have been that occasion.
  • Do ladies ask men?   5 out of 5.  Yes, people ask each other.
  • Free water: Yes
  • Friendliness – 5 out of 5.  One of the friendliest freestyles you will find, simply because everyone knows it is a small club and everyone wants it to be a success.  So a newcomer gets asked
  • Location: 4 out of 5.   You won’t find it without a map or sat nav, or more instructions above, but once there it is self-evident where it is. and there is a very large car park.   Very rarely it gets full – but there is always space in the road.
  • Music – 5 out of 5 if you want the regular modern jive dances with a few unexpected items thrown in.  The DJ is excellent at responding to requests – even wholly obscure requests.   I have occasionally experienced a somewhat strange final hour of some very odd tracks, but that hasn’t happened recently.
  • Facilities – 5 out of 5 – modern, clean, friendly.  What else do you want?
  • Parking – 5 out of 5  – There is a large, modern, free car park well lit.
  • Venue overall: 5 out of 5.  It’s tough to take on a modest sized venue in a small town and get people to travel when there are other sites around in the city, but they’ve done it with aplomb.

In short this is a club run by the owners who are utterly dedicated to making it work.  They don’t do lessons at the site, but do at the Danish Invader.  People come back time and time again, and newcomers are turning up all the time.

Pirate Jive at the Shed, Nottingham

Pirate Jive is one of several clubs that works out of The Shed – a venue that is described as “Nottingham’s biggest freestyle attracting dancers from all over the country. It’s no wonder then that we’re known as the best freestyle around!”

That’s a bit of a problem description – not because it isn’t true – it certainly should be – but because it can be such a good venue on a dance it – even though (it must be said) The Shed has one or two problems.

Apparently The Shed truly was the soul club of the Tamla Motown singer Edwin Starr who lived just up the road.

It’s an octagon, rather like the old railway turntable buildings,with a stage, seating at tables round the edge and a sprung dancefloor.  It is a brilliant venue, and I always try and go to Pirate Jive at the Shed, but … it has problems.

These problem do not stop me going, but they do exist, so I am going to report them.

First, there is no air con, and it needs it.  There are however windows around the top of the building, and really these should always be opened BEFORE the gig begins.  This doesn’t always happen however.

Second, it can get crowded.  Some like that, some not, and if you want to have time with more space the best thing to do is come early or stay late, or both (which is what I do).

Third, the car park is not very large as some Shed adverts suggest.  There is a car park but it gets full quite quickly which means you have to park in the residential streets around about.  It is not a big hassle, but just be prepared.

But I want to stress.  This is a brilliant venue, with greater dancers, and fabulous music when run by Pirate Jive.  I recommend it even with those issues above.


  • Air conditioning: 1 out of 5 – there is none.  There are fans, but really those windows need to be open from the moment the team get in there – even on a cold day.
  • Atmosphere: 15 out of 5.  Pirate Jive at the Shed is very very good.
  • Do ladies ask men?   5 out of 5.  Yes, people ask each other.
  • Free water: Yes – and these days it is available away from the bar so you don’t have to queue behind the men wanting their pints.
  • Friendliness – 5 out of 5.  Friendly, friendly, friendly.
  • Location: 4 out of 5.   You won’t find it without a map or sat nav, but once there it is self-evident where it is but the car park fills quickly and can be hard to navigate if you find it full.  Parking on the street is the alternative.
  • Music – 10 out of 5.  These people work at it – they really do.
  • Facilities – 3 out of 5 – I can only speak for the gents, and really…  There are worse, but it could be better.
  • Parking – 2 out of 5  – See above.
  • Venue overall: 5+ out of 5.

In short this is a venue which really can buzz.  But not everyone achieves that, so do check which club is running the event you are looking at.