CarFest North 2016

Five Go to CarFest North!!

No, it’s not a dramatic find of a long lost Enid Blyton story, but, for five intrepid Figaro Owners their trip to CarFest North, Chris Evans’ ever-expanding event for BBC Children In Need, was certainly an adventure!

With a new venue this year, moving a few miles down the Cheshire country roads from Oulton Park to Bolesworth Castle, there was a real sense of anticipation as Ken Graham and Richard Sneddon headed south from Glasgow to meet up with fellow club members Steve Newbold, Anita Scholes and Darren Samuels.

Even more daunting for Ken and Richard was that, having been to CarFest  for two years as a ‘boys weekend’ this time wives Sandra and Ellison were along to keep them in check!! (You’ll need to ask Sandra at the Belgium Rally to see if they managed it!)

Wristbands obtained and tents erected it was time to deliver the Figs to their home for the weekend. The ‘Vintage Village’ was directly in front of the stunning Bolesworth Castle next to a lake bordering the festival site. There was some concern from  exhibitors in the ‘Village’ that the need to cross the lake via a pontoon might deter festival-goers from crossing and we may be really quiet over the weekend – how wrong could they have been! The Castle itself was an attraction, and, as Chris Evans had ‘tweeted’ about ‘CarFest’s First Ever Pontoon’ there was some curiosity about what was on the other side! Also, given the hustle and bustle on the festival site lots of folk saw the village as a ‘respite/chill-out zone’.

We must have had literally hundreds of people visiting our stand ranging from those who had seen the cars and wondered what they were; owners looking for advice (the Club was marketed heavily!); those thinking about buying one (Buyers’ Guide marketed!); to those who used to have one – this included a near ‘domestic incident’ when a woman approached and was asked if she knew the Figaro – ‘Yes, I had one, but HE (pointing at husband) SOLD IT!!’

Our daily shift at the stand, constantly chatting about Figaros is great fun, but exhausting, so the chance to get a cup of tea was welcome. We must mention our fellow ‘Village’ pals at Tea Vintage from Oxfordshire, their quality tea/toasties, cheery service accompanied by regular singing and dancing was a real joy – also, they gave fellow traders a great discount!!

After a long day shift it was off to the music stage (and what a stage!). Chris Evans announced that this year CarFest North’s Main Stage was as big as the main stage at Glastonbury!! Texas, Travis, Kaiser Chiefs, The Corrs, Bryan Adams, The Proclaimers are just a few of the acts – the only problem was finding a gap to go and get some food!

Finally, on Sunday, Ken had the opportunity to speak to Tom Kerridge, the Michelin starred chef, who was doing demos over the weekend and invited him to visit the stand. He said he ‘would love to’ but being slightly cynical of ‘celebrities’, Ken thought Tom would probably get distracted and not visit. Within half an hour Tom (brandishing the ‘Figaro Birthday badge’ ken had given him), strolled up with his wife and young baby and spent time with our members allowing photos to be taken and asking about how much one would be to buy!

An absolute gentleman and really down to earth – a real highlight for us – Thanks, Tom!