As I mentioned earlier this month, the weekend just gone was spent by me at the Goodwood Estate in West Sussex, as a volunteer for a new and rather different festival. Billed as a ‘celebration of creative British cool’, Vintage at Goodwood aimed to inject a bit of glamour back into the UK festival calendar and bring music, fashion, art and design back together where they belong. Part of the ‘art and design’ aspect involved workshops which, under the heading of sustainability, would provide guests with creative opportunities by recycling old materials, and this is where you could find me. Yes, I spent a large portion of the weekend in a tent making bunting out of old sraps of fabric and encouraging other people to join in. It was an awful lot more fun than I thought it would be too!
On Friday morning, the volunteers all gathered in the Upcycling tent wondering what we were going to be doing but, before long, I was assigned to The Seaside Sisters who popped me on bunting duty, along with the lovely Sarah, Sophie and Jo, and we proceeded to get the workshop area ready for some paying customers. Once the fabrics were laid out, it was simply a case of starting to make our own bunting to get people interested and lure them over. By Saturday, however, things were looking a bit sparse on the fabric front and so I had to go to the on-site Oxfam shop to get some unwanted garments for us to cut up. A nice chap called Luke came with me in the car to where all their spare stock was being kept, and he very kindly carried a massive sack of clothes back to our tent. Thanks to his help, I got the rest of the afternoon off to go and explore the festival properly.
The ‘high street’ had been well publicised and was a great visual treat on first entering Vintage. Once you’d gone through the archway proclaiming this to be the festival of our lives – there were a lot of memories relived that weekend, I’m sure! – it was a short walk down the red carpet and past some beautiful vintage cars before you got to a whole host of familiar shop names (including the aforementioned Oxfam), plus a beauty salon and even a cinema. It was a good place to get your bearings from, and the clock tower was perfect when arranging to meet people. On either side of this was the Vintage Marketplace, made up of lots of smaller retailers and workshop areas. Here you could buy vintage and retro clothing and homeware, request tunes from the Charity Shop DJ, take part in our bunting making, join a 60s art class, or have your photo taken in your best vintage outfit. There were plenty of tasty and fairly reasonably priced food options too, if all that walking around left you feeling a bit peckish. The music was arranged around a handful of venues: The Tanqueray Torch Club (40s), Let It Rock (50s), The Leisure Dome (60s), The Soul Casino (70s), and The Warehouse (80s). On top of that, there was the ‘Inspired By…’ stage and the Main Stage. The line-ups at each venue could have been better publicised but, once you found your favourites, the music on offer did not disappoint.
I think Vintage most certainly delivered on its promise of being “joyous creative feast for all ages”. The atmosphere was happy, relaxed and friendly, reminding me of wonderful camping holidays and large village fairs attended in my youth. It harked back to a time when festivals were about having fun rather than getting insanely drunk and muddy. The rain may have come, but wood chippings were spread on the worst of it and the hard ground meant that I could have worn heels after all! It may not have been ‘vintage’ enough for some people but, for a first go, I thought that Vintage at Goodwood was a fantastic festival. I’m sure they will learn a great many things from this year’s experience, which will help to improve it next time round. More women’s toilets and better signage for the food and music options would be my request. However, it was the friendly happy people that really made it work for me, and so I’m looking forward to the next one already… especially as a volunteer as it’s much more affordable that way!
UPDATE: More images from the weekend can be found on my Flickr photostream.