Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Blustery Busfest: The Premier Experience

Brooding skies

With the horrendous news footage of Hurricane Irma fresh in our minds and a pretty iffy UK forecast in prospect, I was feeling quite relieved that we had taken the decision to book into Malvern’s Premier Inn for the weekend of Busfest.  

After the school run on Friday, we headed over to Malvern to join Gaz.  Thankfully, we dodged any thunder and lightning.  I must have been really awful in a previous life.  I hate driving when there is lightning.  I duck every time there is a flash, just as though I am anticipating being struck down by a thunder bolt.  Not the best approach when in charge of a moving vehicle.

Makeshift Flag

Under any other circumstances, it’s hard not to relax, driving along the Worcester Road - the vantage point being the stunning peaks of the Malvern hills.  However, Busfest is the world’s biggest VW Transporter show and attracts visitors from all over the globe.  You usually hit the ground running, fueled by adrenaline, conversation and coffee, until it’s time to pack away and then the wave of tiredness hits...  

Fortunately for Gaz, Friday had been a slow and steady day for trade, as the masses were busy arriving on site and keen to set up before the weather turned moody.

I had a walk around and caught up with Anna (IseaSurf).  We talked screen printing, coastal living and sinus infections (hope you’re feeling better Anna!)  

Of course, I didn’t leave empty handed and purchased a pair of funky mermaid leggings (third from right).  That’s the beauty of the festival season.  Even if you forget your suitcase, you can always pull together an individual outfit for a reasonable price.  

We spent the evening catching up with friends, but this time, when the air temperature became distinctly autumnal, we headed off to our luxury hideaway – a trading estate in Malvern.  Doesn’t sound very glam does it?  But it was quiet and the beds really are as comfy as Lenny Henry says in the adverts. 

Malvern digs

So, somewhat refreshed and distinctly perkier that we might usually be early on a Saturday morning, we headed back to the showground for an exceptional day’s trading.  Our neighbours, Retro Classic Clothing, had kept an eye on our stand during our brief morning absence as we were en route to the site.  It also gave them chance to exact revenge on Gaz (more on that later) after he initiated what I can only describe as “Sticker Slap Guerilla Warfare.”  In short, Gaz was slowly but surely re-branding their stand as Voodoo Street by covering every available surface with our promotional stickers.

We met the hardcore VW festival-goers and regular Voodoo Street visitors (always a pleasure), but also, being Busfest, encountered people from all over the world.  One of my favourite moments was during an unintentional music-off with the stand opposite.  We had Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart blasting our of our BruteBox; the opposition something very different.  They cranked up their volume a little more than was necessary, much to the irritation of one German visitor, who was clearly enjoying our song choice.  He was moved to poke his head through our gazebo to announce, in heavily accented English: “I love ze Joy Division!” and like the scene out of Sparticus, prompted several other voices to echo his sentiment. 

The Invisible Man

Gaz also had a bizarre exchange with a Mexican, who promised him that when he returned to Mexico, “You and I will do good things with Voodoo Street.”

By Saturday evening, we were fit to drop.  Gaz doesn't sleep well at the best of times (I on the other hand am usually out as soon as my head hits the pillow).  A visit to our neighbours camping pitch (complete with inflatable sofas) and another quick catch up with friends and we were off to enjoy the spoils of our visit to Morrisons (wine, cheese, vintage cider, crisps, brownies) and sit back for a night of terrible Saturday night TV in our hotel room.  How rock and roll are we?  If I could have, I would have thrown the TV out of the window, but we were on the ground floor, and the windows don't open.

Sunday morning was slow to start, a lot of day visitors being put off by the weather.  Caleb and I bailed at around 2 pm, personally escorted off site by one of the stewards.  Gaz held the fort until closing time. 

After we’d caught up on online orders and enquiries, we were enjoying a couple of drinks, when, in the midst of a conversation about the weekend, Gaz spotted that Retro Classic Clothing had sticker slapped his trainers.  He was so dog tired, he only spotted their handywork after he’d paraded around our local supermarket in them.  You guys!!!

Next weekend it’s Vdubs in the Valley and we are praying to the sun gods that the weather improves.  I’m hoping that it’s not a bad omen that Gaz’s offer of a fresh, hot pasty to a homeless person today was met with: “I can’t eat steak and ale.”  Until next time!

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