It was CarFest 2016 that prompted us to start our own group Homefront to Battlefront and after thoroughly enjoying the 2016 event, we had been eagerly awaiting our return this year, after being invited to attend again.
Yet again we were to be an integral part of the Vintage Village, which this year comprised of exhibits and vehicles from the 1940’s, 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s.
We arrived on the Thursday morning and received a very well organised reception and were directed towards the new location of vintage village where we were greeted by our host Alex from Vintage Parade.
Before we could start on our display, we had to make our way to the participant camping area, to not only pitch out tents but to make sure we had 2 pitches next to our 2 for our friends that were arriving later that evening and our guest who would be arriving early Friday morning.
Bell tents and camp set up, we proceeded back to the vintage village to tackle the ‘Big Top’.
After measuring out our pitch and overcoming a couple of small hitches we proceeded to erect our marquee. This is the third time we have put the marquee up and it gets easier every time. It has been made easier since we found the official British Army instructions on how to erect the marquee, however it does advise that you need at least 10 men to erect it….
Once the marquee was up we then set about setting up our display. This weekend we would be honouring all the men and women that fought in the Far East against the Japanese aggression, with our Far East display. We would also be showing our Homefront display as we had a lot of interest in this last year and the kids especially like seeing our 1940’s rationing display.
Right opposite our display was the fantastic display of pedals cars and prams from our good friends Mark and Justine. Every year their display gets bigger and better.
By the time we had finished and secured the marquee for the night it was 6pm. With hunger and thirst issue, we retreated back to the camp site for a barbecue. Our friends, Ricky and Sarah, turned up just after 7pm, just in the nick of time for the barbecue.
Ricky was booked in to perform on the stage in the Vintage on both the Friday and Saturday and we were all looking forward to hearing the Welsh Wonder blow his trumpet. To see and hear how great he is, go and watch his videos on his Facebook page Ricky Hunter Male Vocalist Trumpeter and even give him a like..
Friday morning soon beckoned and after some breakfast and a shower, in the facilities provided to the camping field, we made the trek across the CarFest site to the vintage village. It is only when you see the site without any public, do you notice the huge amount of people that are working hard to get the festival ready for the public to arrive at lunchtime. Our hats go off to all the security staff who tirelessly manned all the gates, entrances and looked after us and our display while we enjoyed the evening entertainment.
Friday morning also heralded the arrival of the last member our CarFest team, Darren, who had travelled down from South Wales to spend the weekend as our Hong Kong policeman and to show the public his brilliant WW1 soldier impression.
While we opened up the marquee and dressed our display, we could see the public streaming not the public camping fields in the far distance, this year CarFest had sold 50% more tickets than the previous year. It wasn’t long until 12 o’clock arrived and the first of the public entered the Carfest site.
Ricky Hunter played Friday afternoon and went down a storm, with loads of great comments from the public.
We were busy talking to people all afternoon and 6pm soon arrived. 6pm was our finish time and vintage village closed not long after.
Again, we retreated to our campsite, had some food, got changed and headed out for the first evening of entertainment at the Main Stage. After grabbing a drink, we managed through, some industrious maneuvering, to make our way down to the front of the stage.
Our highlight of the night, out of all the acts, had to be the Kaiser Chiefs, they were brilliant and had the whole crowd singing along and on their feet.
Saturday morning we awoke to cloudless sky and it turned out to be the hottest day of the weekend. The day was to start at 10 am for the public and we had to be ready for 9:30 am. After some coffee and bacon, we were ready for the day.
Saturday also was the day that two of our group would be portraying first world war Tommie’s. You need to appreciate that the WW1 uniform is made from a thick Serge wool material, also the undershirts are made of wool. Perfect for winter in the trenches.
A huge ammount of respect goes out to Tom and Darren for spending the day in their WW1 uniform, educating and informing the public about the sacrifice our forefathers made in the first world war. It was very hot and by the end of the day the heat had taken it out of them.
Again, it was a very busy day and we spoke to lots of people whose family had fought out in the Far East and as ever learned things we did not know.
We had a lovely bunch of ladies come and visit us, who demanded a picture with a soldier…
Ricky played the stage in vintage village again and some of the group got to slip away from our display and go and support him, he even had a troupe of dancers to dance along to his tunes (Cats got Rhythm)
We also got a lovely treat when a Spitfire flew very low over vintage village. The sound from the engine is just incredible and makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
Saturday night again was a dash back to our campsite, showers, food, drinks, get change and back out again. We were then treated to the spectacle that is the Jackson’s and it was a ‘full on’ show. It was brilliant how they showed the original 70’s music videos in the background as they played live on stage.
Another bright and early start to the day, this time it proved a little more difficult to get up and get going, all thanks to a late night boogey’ing to the Jacksons. However after a couple of coffees and a sausage bap and we were ready to take on the day and meet the public again. Another fabulous day was instore in the vintage village.
During the morning, the guys went off for a wander wound the Best of British field and just happened to meet a Burmese snake. The snake for some reason the snake did not like the guys in uniform, perhaps he recognised them from the jungle….
Sunday again proved to be a very warm day and the shade from the marquee was appreciated by a lot of people. One of the reasons we bought the marquee was to provide some protection for the weather, but we always envisaged this to be shelter from rain, not sunshine.
Tom entered the vintage village best dressed competition and got 3rd prize.
For the second time we had a fly over from a spitfire, this time he gave us a wiggle of his wings after seeing we were friendly troops.
By the time 6pm came around that evening, we were all very tired but we were determined to keep going, as we had the Sunday night finale to look forward too. We were all looking forward to seeing the Manic Street Preachers, Rick Astley and the firework finale and none of them disappointed.
Monday was our day to take down and pack up. After a lazy start and some breakfast and saying our goodbyes to our guests, we packed the campsite away and made our way across to the vintage village for the last time this year.
We proceeded with packing our display away and taking down our marquee and then said goodbye to our friends Mark and Justine. Hopefully we won’t have to wait another year to see them again.
Then we made our way slowly home, exhausted but also very happy. A great weekend spent in the best company at a great event.
We hope that anybody that came to see us, leaves with a bit more knowledge and an appreciation of the sacrifices that the men and women made fighting for us in the Far East.
From the epitaph in Kohima on the border between India and Burma, the place where the Japanese invasion of India was halted and driven back.
‘When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today’
We must thank Alex, from Vintage Parade, for inviting us again and looking after us, the lunches were fantastic and were much appreciated by all our team.
We must also thank all of the team at CarFest for the brilliant organisation, the music that they arranged and the friendly atmosphere that was present all weekend.
We must thank the security staff, that showed us where to go, opened gates, guided us and looked after the security of our campsite and display all weekend. This enabled us to relax and not worry about our possessions.
We must also thank our guests, Darren for spending the weekend with us and complimenting our display. Ricky and Sarah for entertaining us and bringing some fabulous Welsh beef burgers.
Lastly we couldn’t do this without the tireless efforts of the team at Homefront to Battlefront. Sam, Tina, Chris, Tom, Patch and Mike.
CarFest 2017 has been the culmination of a years’ worth of planning and preparation, with many trials and errors along the way, but we I like to think we got there in the end. We thoroughly enjoy this event and love raining money for the great charity that is BBC’s Children in Need.
Here’s looking forward to CarFest next year.
Here is a gallery from the weekend