Waterloo Jive

The Ray Gelato Giants and The London Swing Dance Society entertained the Oxo Tower crowds on Sunday 27 August.

Fourteen million people turned out to see The Ray Gelato Giants, the main attraction at this year's Coin Street Festival Waterloo Jive by The Oxo Tower in London on Sunday 27 August 2000. They were hanging from balconies, crowding the streets and choking up the dancefloor during a pleasant riverside day, brought to a slightly premature end by the regulatory August Bank Holiday weekend downpour at 5.30pm.

Ray Gelato
The Man Ray at Waterloo Jive

Simon Selmon and The London Swing Dance Society were the hosts, organising a class and putting on some cabaret before and between the band sets. Crowd control measures were needed as the mother of all Jack 'n' Jill competitions got underway, with around 50 people volunteering to have their style and steps judged. The prize for the winning couple was a meal in a restaurant on the South Bank, and they seemed pretty pleased with that. The girl whose style most impressed the judges won a week in Barcelona for two, and she went completely ballistic.

The Giants were as consummately professional as ever, playing their crowd-pleasing style of swing and jump-jive. This was one of the last chances Londoners will get to see them before December (the final one being The 100 Club on Saturday 2 September), before Main Man Ray departs these shores for the United States. Ray he say: "I'm heading for Florida. The idea is to get some musicians there and set up a band to play clubs". Meantime he and the band were keen to promote their new CD, recorded live in Italy.

Simon and Judith
Simon Selmon and a flying Judith Hammer

With the nearby cafe, stalls and tables and chairs, the event took on the atmosphere of an outdoor Blue Dahlia, with plenty opportunity to sit, drink, shop and chat. Now if only they could fix the weather and get a decent dancefloor...

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