Thursday 28 August 2014

V-Dub Island 2014

V- Dub Island was billed as a family friendly VW show and music festival so we decided to go to the Isle of Wight for a week’s holiday and take advantage of the offer to stay on site for the four day build up to the show.
The site in question was Afton Downs, the original home of the legendary 1970’s Isle of Wight Festival where Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Doors and many others played to an estimated half a million hippies!
The site was massive and looked and was laid out like it was able to accommodate half a million dubbers this looked like it was going to be a good show. 

How wrong we were! As the camping fields started to fill up it was obvious that there was not enough loos but we thought this might be that they weren’t expecting this many people to arrive this early to camp, nope, as the weekend came the queues for the toilets just got longer and longer and for most of it had no loo roll and were filthy, not good for a family friendly event! This did improve slightly over the weekend as the organizers were inundated with complaints, the few loos that were onsite were restocked and cleaned more often.

The trade area was very spread out but we were sure that as the weekend approached more traders would fill the gaps. Wrong again! The traders that were there were local craft, sweet stalls and even a local double glazing company!!! Not a single VW related stall was there, people selling the odd campervan bag or mug yes but no parts, not even the promised auto jumble materialised.

It was decided that alcohol was not to be permitted in the show/trade/bar area unless purchased from the main bars so security searched anyone entering this area and this included children and their push chairs! Children were also not permitted in these areas without an adult and not in the music tents at all, this was certainly not turning out to be a very family friendly event at all. 

I understand the increasing need for security at events nowadays but I couldn’t help but feel patronised when the security guards patrolling the camping fields told me a fully grown man that I couldn’t use a BBQ as it was a fire hazard, I’m 44 years old not a child, how were we supposed to cook for our kids at this family friendly show?

I did talk to the man in charge of this event to air some of my views and was told that this level of security is at all music festivals and that you have to queue for up to forty minuets for the loos at the Isle of Wight festival, but explaining to him that this was supposed to be a family friendly VW show fell on deaf ears.

This event is very confused and doesn’t know what it wants to be, if it wants to be a music festival that’s fine just don’t advertise it as a family friendly VW show. If it wants the laidback vibe of a VW Show, chill out with the rules and tight security. Many such festivals combine both VW’s and music very successfully by trusting the people that attend as most of them are grown ups and not drunken teenagers!

The one good thing was the Drive out on the Saturday where most of the VW’s onsite cruised out off the site and along a beautiful costal road to a cliff top parking area. There were some great cars parked up but unfortunately most of these cars didn’t show up for the main show n shine on the Sunday. 

After the event the organisers had this to say on their facebook page:
“Hello Friends

What a fantastic weekend
We know on the feeds there were problems with the toilets and traders. We doubled the toilet servicing to keep them clean as possible.
We did try and get toilets from all over the south coast but to no a vale.
We were let down by some traders but for next year we will be offering free pitches to all the traders that supported us at V-Dub Island 2014 and a further 100 free pitches.
We would like to you know we have read your posts and will be continuing to make it right for next years show.
Team V-dub Island would like to thank you for all your continuing support.
We will be releasing our dates for 2015 very soon.

1. We will have a shed load more toilets.
2. We will do our best to encourage VW Traders to the show. Offering free pitches and helping with heavily discounted ferry travel.
3. We will make the bar separate from the main tent to allow children to remain in the entertainment area late at night.
4. We will make the programme free of charge.
5. We will get more goodie bags made.
6. We are going to work all year to make 2015 the best show to date.
7. As ever we will be bring more bands and entertainment.

Thank you for all the kind emails and we are addressing everything for next years show.
— with Love-on The-Rocks.”

Will we be going to V-Dub Island in 2015? I doubt it very much, I heard Skeg Vegas was very good though!

See more pictures of this and other events on my flickr photostream

Wednesday 27 August 2014

VW Sweetcorn 2014

VW Sweetcorn was held from the 8th to the 10th August and is the reincarnation of Peppercorn, the long running vintage VW show held in Kent. After a couple of years off the show moved to Barlylands farm in Billericay, Essex in 2013. With a new name and a new location in another county it's like a brand new show and due to really poor weather on the Friday and worse predicted over the weekend numbers were unfortunately low. Its a real shame as the venue is fantastic with its farm park and craft village and acres of camping space.

Despite the predictions the sun came out on the Saturday for the classic car and Hot Rods show n shine and it was fine for the live band entertainment in the evening. There was also a surprise party at the Elemental VW show stand with live DJ's DJH and Volks, check out DJH on every Friday from 8pm.

We woke to truly atrocious weather on the Sunday, I do believe that the Vintage Sunday show n shine was in the show field but we elected to pack up and go home.

Please support this show next year as we think it could easily grow into the old Peppercorn shows of the past, a proper VW show!

 Have a look at some of the pictures we took while the sun was shining on the Saturday.

See more pictures of this and other events at my flickr photostream

Thursday 7 August 2014

Update on Whitenoise 12

Neil of Whitenoise has contacted me with regards to why the queue in to the site was so long and the need for security. 

“The reason why there was such a queue was because an articulated lorry and a tractor got stuck on the Rushford Rd, our main entrance road in and then was trapped with hundreds of VW's behind them, this obviously contributed to most of the snarl up. We had a mile and a half track for entry but when people arrive up to 5hrs before gates open they are stuffing it up for everyone else.
It is actually impossible to open more entry gates because you would then get 4 times the amount of people heading to camp and would then run the risk of general, family and club camping getting mixed up and access roads not kept clear which would then mean that if there was a fire the engine wouldn't be able to get to it. We have very strict guidelines from the council that highways must be kept clear and that all attendees are kept safe. 

The security were never instructed to search every vehicle although the council had requested 1 in 3 for glass bottles but as there were queues they probably searched more than intended as traffic wasn't moving. There is a fine balance between making people feel safe and making people feel they are a bit heavy handed but these are the same security that we have used for the last 8 years so nothing much has changed other than there are more of them and this is only because I am aware of problems seeping into the festival and probably every other festival and everyday life in general” 

Neil also had this to say with regards to the festival as a whole.

“I think what we offer as a VW show is far more than any other show we have been to, we like to challenge the boundaries with things like the circus. We will continue to push the boundaries with more art installations, theatrical performances etc because in a very crowded market we need to stand alone and all of the things we bring to Whitenoise, which are all free are what we are passionate about and that's what most VW shows lack, a bit of passion.”

Wednesday 6 August 2014

Whitenoise 12

Well it was an eventful weekend for us here at Volksbuster! Breakdowns, fires, flat tyres and accidents!  We were going to meet up with a few friends on Friday morning and have a small cruise up to Thetford but heard some other friends were meeting at the same time so decided to cruise up with them as well so the cruise turned into a bit of a VW convoy. 

We met up at Boreham services near Chelmsford  at 10am but soon heard that Dave’s ‘ 70 crew cab had broken down with a seized alternator, he said he would catch us up in his ‘72 bus after he had got his truck back home. 

We left Boreham with about fourteen cars including Splits, Bays, Pucks, Hotrods and custom Bugs with me and my son in our notchback (Sheila) and Mrs Volks in our T25 with our daughter.  We all travelled up to Thetford with no issues and it was great fun. When we got to the site though we immediately hit traffic going into the event, it looked as though everyone had got the day off work and decided to get there as the gates opened, this combined with security searching “at random” almost every car for glass bottles and in my opinion not enough lanes/ ticket collectors at the entrance meant that we were queuing for an hour and a half on a small dirt track!

Just as we handed in our tickets Sheila’s engine died and smoke started pouring out the back! Luckily a fire crew were on site and at the gate within minutes to put the flames out, (A big thank you to these guys!). Due to their quick reactions Sheila was saved although suffering quite a bit of damage to paintwork and leaving some work to do on the engine.

Back to the show, Whitenoise has moved to a new location in the beautiful setting of Euston Park with all its usual fun and entertainment for everybody, the kids had Tricky Bikes to ride, roller skating rink, and a marquee full of crafts to keep them happy.

There was plenty of music over the weekend from Ska to Dance, a dedicated Soul music tent and live bands on the main stage and the new Woodland Stage.
The Fantastic Contraptions fire garden was a hit with everyone being attracted by the flames like moths of an evening and just chilling out around the installations. The Lost in Translation Circus performance was a bit “interesting “ or as my kids put it “random” but they did attract a large crowd.
There were plenty of traders and a great variety of food in the trade village but security seemed very tight and at times a bit intimidating, I’m not sure if this was a condition of Euston Hall to have this security set up but it felt a bit oppressive as they walked through the crowds with their fingers on their ear pieces or zooming about the site in their little 4wd buggies.

The daily show n shine on the Saturday was well turned out although I was surprised to see some BMW’s on display! The main show n shine was absolutely packed out on the Sunday with some cars I’ve not seen before my favourite was the immaculate Splitscreen double cab! We also got Sheila dragged down to the show arena to show off the burns L.

There was still drama on the way home though, we didn’t leave with our friends as we were waiting for the recovery truck but Mark lost a tyre off his Puck on the way home, luckily Lee had a spare on his, of course this was the wrong size and could only fit three of the bolts but it got them home. Worse still a car pulled out on Butch in his rod just two miles from home, a bent front beam and a trip to A&E followed but thankfully he was ok.

Looking forward to a less eventful Whitenoise next year but it will be Whitenoise 13!!!!

See more pictures of this and other events at my flickr photosream