Saturday, 4 August 2018

My first festival

Carfest North 2018
carfest north 2018

Anyone who knows me in person could tell you that I’m not an outdoorsy person, but this summer, I had my first festival experience. And let me tell you, whilst it was fun, my limit is definitely the decidedly middle class Carfest North (aka the charity festival that Chris Evans puts on for Children in Need) and Leeds fest is 100% out of my remit. My mum got day tickets for me, her and my sister for Christmas and having never been to a festival before, I had zero clue what to expect.

After the extreme summer 2018 heatwave, I headed on over to Chester with jeans, tshirts and trainers and it was the night before which saw me raiding the nearest H&M for an emergency sweatshirt and trying on my sister’s spare anorak. This anorak in particular was from when she volunteered at the Manchester Marathon and had ‘marshall’ written across the back. Excellent, well done me.

When we arrived, it was drizzling and though we got there at around 11am, we managed to park pretty close to the entrance – it was very organised in terms of getting people in so there was very little queuing. As festivals go, it isn’t massive but there’s plenty going on throughout the day. Our first stop was the world record attempt at the main stage for the most people stood in the formation of the Scouting logo – the link here is that Chris Evans is an ambassador for Scouts. I’ll happily admit that I only got involved as ‘world record holder’ looks great on my Tinder bio and the purple ponchos we had to wear for the occasion came in handy throughout the day.

As we missed the heatwave, at least it meant that when there were showers during the daytime, we could run for cover – the festival put up extra tents originally so that people could find shade, whereas actually we ended up under there to avoid the rain. As it was cooler, being able to sit outdoors in a breeze but not be a sweaty mess was really nice. We actually found that the vintage cafe, which was in a marquee, was the best place to just relax as it was very reasonably priced (£15 for a pot of tea for two, an Americano and two massive slices of cake, one of which was gluten free). It was outside the vintage cafe that we spotted Chris Evans and my mum was absolutely over the moon to get a photo with him. We ended up back there a second time later in the day too, plus it was a lovely area to wander around the vintage stalls.

carfest north 2018

During the day, there are loads of activities and things to watch including a swing dance class where my mum and I learned the Charleston, a massive parade through the show ground and even a motorcross stunt show. A personal highlight for me was during the parade when the ‘unicorn’ (AKA a white horse with a sparkly cone stuck to it’s forehead) had a shit halfway round. Absolutely magical. The motorcross stunt show was incredible, with the riders doing loads of tricks whilst flying through the air. There’s plenty of other stuff going on too, including a carnival with loads of rides, flower crown making, cactus decorating, sheep racing and some driving experiences.

carfest north 2018

When it comes to food, there was street food in every single area though my sister struggled to find anything remotely healthy as she’s both gluten free and on Slimming World. I however had a gyros from Eat Like a Greek who I’ve seen before in Trinity Kitchen and that was delicious. Other than a gyros and cake, I didn’t end up eating much else but there was pretty much every cuisine going.

The portaloo situation was also pretty good considering it was day three - the story of poo girl from Leeds Fest 2010 had filled me with horror and dread. Even at the end of the day, they were about as clean as they could be, with stewards there ready and waiting with loo roll refills.

As the daytime activities drew to a close, we headed over to the main stage for the music which started around 5pm (though there was a swing band and smaller artists on other stages throughout the day). We managed to get sat towards the back which was fine by us as any closer and we’d have had to have stood which we didn’t really fancy with five hours of music ahead of us. And it was closer to both the bar and the toilets. Pint of cider in hand, we watch Billy Ocean, The Feeling and about half a set from Texas before the heavens truly opened. It was at this point where we relented and left before the Carfest Supergroup and Madness – it was a shame to miss those acts but it was absolutely pouring with rain and we were soaking wet through so made a run for the car.

carfest north 2018

carfest north 2018

carfest north 2018

Overall, it was a fun day and definitely something different. The things we planned in to see and do like the parade and swing dance class were really fun and if I was to go back, I’d aim to see more of the motorcross stunt shows and the general driving on the track. If you’re a massive petrolhead, into vintage or have a family, it’s definitely a great day out and even for someone who isn’t, it was still a fun experience. Would I go again? I think it would depend on the acts who were playing, but I wouldn’t say no – for around £80 a ticket, it’s not a cheap day out but if you’re a fan of at least two of the main acts, I’d say it’s worth it.   

Have you ever been to Carfest North? Would you go? Let me know in the comments.


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