My very offensive alarm went off at 5am and I rolled over in my cosy bed knowing 4-hours sleep was not going to be enough. But what can you do? Work is Calling! We fully crammed ourselves into the van with no space to spare and hit the road at 6am. We were driving a little further from home than we ordinarily would, but mum assured me this VW festival up in Nottinghamshire was a good one.
Our journey up there went smoothly and we only stopped off once to get gas and use the bathroom. When we arrived at the venue we noticed a line of vans backed up down the street, Mum knew Julie posh bags had set off early and spotted the T4 at the front of the line. Mum pulled right up to the beginning of the traffic and hopped out of the van to say high. Unable to see Julie in the driver seat mum shouted “woooo, where are ya girl” and opened the side door. Immediately a couple walking two Scottie dogs went running round the side of the van and asked what she was doing, as this in fact, was their van and not Julie’s!
Hilarious, but not a great start to what was rapidly turning into a bit of an organisational disaster. Julie as always had managed to blag her way into the festival and was almost fully set up, but we were being told by others in the line, that we were not going to be able to get on to the site to set up for another two hours. We are not the kind of ladies who enjoy sitting in mind-numbing line for no reason. So we decided to go back to the main road and find somewhere nice to make tea. After pulling into a suitably beautiful layby, we put the kettle on and set ourselves up to package up some jewellery ready for the festival.
After we have been busying ourselves for 30 mins, a man jumps out of the van in front and comes to say hey to us. He’s a very nice chap called Mike Bamboo and he explains to us, that he is there working with bamboo and Himalayan rock salt and that he’s exhausted because he never sleeps. This due to having to craft his salt during the night because of the glowing elements. He's intriguing and we both liked him a lot so we all passed the time happily to listen to what he had to say. 11am came and we decided to have a crack at getting back onto the site.
When we got back to the venue, much to our delight the line had gone and we pulled onto the pitch we’d been assigned. Unfortunately, we were not next to our friend Julie as requested, but our
position looked to be right in the thick of it so that was good for us.
We get the stall set up after almost blowing away in the wind, and a little help from the guys in the photo stall next to us; then we open rearing to go. As with the last festival, the Friday night wasn’t proving to be very busy so I poured myself a big fat glass of wine and set myself up an office to do some online work on the website and Facebook page, before cooking dinner for myself and the girls. We didn’t get the stall closed up till the sun went down and were too exhausted to go and listen to the horrendous renditions of 90’s rock covers, blaring from the aircraft hangar next to our van. So we closed all our windows and doors and decided to get some sleep.
We woke up early the next morning to the relaxing sound of a generator (Mum is furious). After a cup of tea and a bacon roll each, we decide to take a walk around the festival, with a nice coffee from the Italian coffee stall opposite. We open the stall and start to work around 10am. It’s a scorcher and already people are looking a little pink around the edges and boozy. We are steady with braids and sales and we also have a few bookings for the afternoon.
At noon there was an announcement that the wacky races and all the acoustic music was happening right out the front of our stall, we were stoked for this. I set up a table and chair in the sun with a perfect view to make a few macramé anklets and enjoy the performances, as we still were not flat out on the stall. The music was awesome soothing sounds flowing our way from the amazing Lee Reidy and we ended up getting ourselves a shout out on the mic, for lending the lovely Hannah Fay an umbrella to shade her from the unforgiving sun.
We kept the stall open till 10.30pm as I was still braiding a late night customers hair, her sister had been braided earlier and both she and her mum held torches so I could still see to braid. Mum had set up the Flashing noodle hair out the front of the stall but after a couple of sales, we decided 13 hours of trading was enough! We cracked ourselves a cider and went for a wander trying to find the rave in the woods we’d been hearing about. After wandering aimlessly in the dark we were told by someone that it was all done and dusted, so we went followed our ears to the pumping 90’s dance beats bellowing out from the hanger.
When we went inside we were overwhelmed to see a crowd of people really getting after it. They were throwing themselves around like they’d been partying all day (they had). It was awesome to see these people having such a great time. My personal favourite was a man in gold hot pants and a pink bra, he had his hair in a ponytail and was throwing himself around like Keith from the Prodigy, to the sound of the ‘fire starter’. Nonetheless, after a few minutes of this awesome nonsense, the feeling of being at a drum and bass rave, during a supply teacher’s convention was too much to take and mum and I retire to a bench to reflect on all the awesome trips and parties we’ve had together. The music stopped and we realised it must be 2 am, so we run to the van before the insane crowd from inside are spat out in our direction.
We are greeted again the following morning by the dull humming of the generator, so it’s another early start. I make jam packed bacon sandwiches for us, then hobble one down to Julie, before slipping off and taking some pictures of the show and shine forming again in front of our stall. When I get back to our stall I get straight into braiding for a couple of hours and as soon as they announce the winner the festival completely emptied out. So we decide to pack the stall up and manage to get on the road home by 4pm. Which is nice when you have a two-and-a-half-hour drive back.
We came away from the festival very happy with how much fun the weekend was and also made a nice little profit but compared to last year its nothing to write home about. The festival was very well organised and the Saturday daytime activities knocked the socks off the Alive and V-Dubbin festival last weekend. We’d be very happy to return next year, even though the organisers were not overly accommodating leading up to the festival. After being there for the weekend, you can see how stressed the guys must have been due to the noticeable work that had gone into it.
All in all, a great weekend. Big thanks to The Bus Stopover Crew, we’ll be looking forwards to next year! We've had a couple of weekends off now, but this weekend we're jumping back into a 10 consecutive festival run. Starting with the WOW Music Festival this weekend the 9th July.