REVIVAL Solstice 2016 – a resounding success!

View from the stage at REVIVAL Solstice 2016 - click to enlarge
View from the stage at REVIVAL Solstice 2016 – click to enlarge

Veteran retro gaming/arcade show organisers Revival Retro Events returned to take the retro scene by storm once again last weekend, after a break from major events since 2014.

Breaking new ground with a brand-new venue for the show, the event took place for the first time in the spacious Stadium Suite at the Banks’s Stadium (previously known as Bescot Stadium) – the home of Walsall Football Club in the West Midlands!

After a smaller comeback event last November in Wolverhampton, this year REVIVAL executed a mighty return to the scene with the aptly titled REVIVAL Solstice 2016 on 30-31 July.

Loads of fun and excitement on cab or computer!
Loads of fun and excitement on cab or computer!

Bringing back all the attractions of their previous fun-packed summer exhibitions, the latest show included:

  • Over 100 playable retro consoles and computers
  • Over 50 classic video arcade machines and pinball machines
  • On-stage competitions run by the Retro Lords, and prizes (including a Sinclair ZX Spectrum +3 donated by sponsors Retro Computing News!)
  • A selection of traders offering various retro collectables
  • The return of the guest talks panels and new gamer’s theatre
  • Reasonably priced, fully licensed bar and gamer’s snack bar
  • serving hot and cold food
Pinball wizards at REVIVAL Solstice 2016
Pinball wizards at REVIVAL Solstice 2016

The venue had the advantage of not being far from the M6 and right on the doorstep of Bescot Stadium Railway Station, although it’s fair to say the location caused a little confusion with some drivers finding it not so easy to locate as they thought.

One of the Retro Lords running a contest on stage
One of the Retro Lords running a contest on stage

But with hundreds attending on each day of the weekend, it’s clear that retro fans had more than enough to encourage them to beat a path to Bescot for more REVIVAL retro fun!

One of the several wheelers and dealers at REVIVAL
One of the several wheelers and dealers at REVIVAL

And our editor and publisher Stuart Williams, who spent the Saturday there in retro heaven, couldn’t agree more – and he came on the bus from Bloxwich!

Steve Turner (left), founder of Graftgold, being interviewed by Dean Swain
Steve Turner (left), founder of Graftgold, being interviewed by Dean Swain

He and many others attending found the talks/interviews organised by Retro Asylum particularly interesting, and was well pleased to be able to chat personally to Henrique Olifiers, who is bringing the new Sinclair ZX Spectrum Next project to the UK together with his colleagues from Brazil.

Henrique Olifiers shows off a Spectrum Next development kit board!
Henrique Olifiers shows off a Spectrum Next development kit board!

In fact, it was a great weekend to see rare and peculiar devices, and apart from the Spectrum Next prototype board and development kit which Henrique showed off proudly, there was a Dragon to be discovered – an ultra-rare Welsh GEC Dragon Professional prototype, of which apparently not more than 10 survive!

A Dragpn Professional - the rarest machine at REVIVAL Solstice 2016!
A Dragpn Professional – the rarest machine at REVIVAL Solstice 2016!

Stuart even had a chance to get the word from the horse’s mouth about the Coleco Chameleon retro games console fiasco earlier this year, when he was introduced at REVIVAL to Scott Schreiber of one of the USA’s top podcasts, Retro Gaming Roundup, who had brought a mockup of the infamous original mockup console…

Jim Bagley chats to the guys from Retro Gaming Roundup who brought a "mockup" of the unfortunate Coleco Chameleon...
Jim Bagley chats to the guys from Retro Gaming Roundup who brought a “mockup” of the unfortunate Coleco Chameleon…
A Chameleon by name, if not by nature...
A Chameleon by name, if not by nature…

Stuart also had the chance to chat and buy a couple of CD’s from Aidy (aka Adrian Killens), frontman of Cambridge-based and retro-inspired The British IBM band, who produce great music, by the way!

Will the real Aidy please stand up?
Will the real Aidy please stand up?
Epilog

Yesterday, organiser and head honcho of REVIVAL Retro Events Craig Turner, who was definitely in need of a well-earned rest by the end of the weekend, as were all of his volunteer team, had the following to say:

“After a good 8 months of blood, sweat and tears, REVIVAL Solstice 2016 was held last weekend and what a stormer it was – close to a thousand people descended on Banks’s Stadium over this sunny July end and helped us celebrate a return to proper scale after missing the calendar last year!

“We are just finishing unpacking our stuff, off-loading our casualties and testing our new pick-ups I’m sure, and will be taking a short holiday now whilst you all recover and the team thinks about our next move for a future REVIVAL event.

Game programming legend Jim Bagley being interviewed by Dean Swain
Game programming legend Jim Bagley being interviewed by Dean Swain

“Paul, Dean and Steve of Retro Asylum did a superb job of managing the Gamer’s Theatre this year and although Paul Rose had to drop out for health reasons, the other panels went ahead and were all incredibly popular. These included Jim Bagley’s past and current work in pushing system limits for game porting, Archer MacLean’s history in bringing the arcade experience home and Steve Turner’s insight into 8-bit development and publishing obstacles.

“Proof that retro is still undergoing a resurgence came with Henrique Olifiers and the first public appearance and hardware demonstration of the prototype ZX Spectrum Next, and we broke new UK event ground with a successful live video Q+A with Twin Galaxies founder Walter Day over in America, giving insight into his history and future plans for some involvement in the UK scene!

A Spectrum Next prototype board built by Victor Trucco
A Spectrum Next prototype board built by Victor Trucco

“Huge thanks to our organising team and assistants, plus props to everyone who assisted with equipment pledges, our traders, technical advice and more in the run up to the event, as well as our sponsors and supporters who help make this happen!

“For now, big thanks to the team: Bec Turner, Lee Turner, Haidee Turner, Emily Turner, Danny Heaton, Kate Frost, Courtney Frost, Simon Hardy, Kieren Hawken, Duncan Hawken, Duncan Woodward, Paul Little, Gareth Kennerley, Graeme Kennerley, Roger Cantor, Alexis Crowley, Mike Lees, Vinny Patel, Steve Pagett, Lawrence Quayle, Bobby Dixon, Spencer Guest, Rich Spowart, plus exhibitors like Tom Charnock,Mike James, Aidy and of course our talks hosts at Retro Asylum Paul Davies, Dean Swain and Steve Erikson plus guys like Chris, Chris, Chris (so many!), Andy, Martin, Steve, Beau, Kev, Jamie, Ashley, all our special guests and the venue for putting it all together for you guys to enjoy!”

The Retro Asylum podcast from the event is now available online via the following link:

http://castaway.media/retroasylum/2016/08/03/episode-146-revival-solstice-2016/

When Craig and the gang decide what they’re doing next, Retro Computing News will be sure to do our best to let you know what’s happening, dudes!

More photos

Meanwhile why not check out our online photo album of these and more selected images tahen by Stuart Williams last Saturday, on Flickr:

A Dragpn Professional - the rarest machine at REVIVAL Solstice 2016 - 1
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