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.