I've read a lot of reviews of the event, some damning, some glowing, and there seems to be a split between day trippers (positive) and weekend campers (not so positive), of which I was one. Overall, I enjoyed myself and liked many aspects of the festival. I met some great people, did some fun shopping and saw some amazing acts. However, there were a lot of problems which upset me and put a damper on the event. Many of these were due to poor organisation and are the sort of thing I think will be easily improved upon for the next one (capacity for venues, staff briefings, layout etc) but some were intentional and do make me wonder whether I'd go again.
On the balance, I'm pleased I went and would consider going again...
Being keen and in need of a holiday, Tom and I decided to head down on the Thursday to get set up and take in the horse races before the event kicked off properly on the Friday. Sadly, we were running a couple of hours behind, having stopped on the way to visit family and so were too late for the racing!
While Tom was Off watching Joy Division, I was approached twice by ladies to ask where I got my dress. Needless to say my head swelled to massive proportions as I was able to say “I made it myself”. Awesome! It made all the hassle with the gathers more than worth while!
So, the music was excellent from start to finish, though I did feel there could have been more on during the daytime. The food was very good if massively expensive, and the cinema had some really excellent and unusual options.
The shops were good, on the whole, although not much more than what you'd find at a good vintage fair. Stalls either seemed to be 80s dresses priced cheaply or 1920s originals priced in the £100s. Despite that, there were a few excellent stalls and I did find a few bits to suit my taste and budget, but it was lacking the 1940s focus that I'm after.
The 1940s area was good, in that what was there was well chosen. It was a bit small though, and was tucked out of the way behind the Torch club tent. It felt like it could have been better exploited but I'm not really sure how. Anyway, it kept me entertained for a while and introduced me to some new groups, namely the 1940s society and Vintage magazine.
The organisation was the thing that let the weekend down the most. The entry arrangements were appallingly managed and the staff didn't seem to have been briefed at all. The camping was in one big field, not 'glens' as advertised and we slept on quite an extreme slope which didn't help my mood any (since I kept sliding into the tent pole during the night and having to remake my bed). The Torch club was seriously undersized. As the only seated food venue undercover, it was inevitable it'd be popular and the fact that they decided not to allow booking of tables, as advertised, made the whole thing worse.
Viv the Spiv deserves an honourable mention for smoothing over things in the club, and particularly for getting us in when we were queuing at one point on Saturday - he's obviously something of a professional 'host' and was very good at making people smile as they came into the club. Top bloke with some very nice silk knickers in his briefcase!