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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Vintage at Goodwood: Festival Preview

Are you going to Vintage at Goodwood? We're not. Here's why. Here's how not to run a brand new festival. And what does Vintage really mean anyway?

Written by Amelia Gregory

Bobbin Bicycles wall
Natasha-Thompson-Bobbins-Bicycles-Girl-Cape-Illustration
Bobbin Bicycles by Natasha Thompson.

I first heard of Bobbin Bicycles just over three years ago, shop when as a nascent bespoke bike company they contacted me to suggest featuring some of their imported upright Dutch bicycles in my Amelia’s Magazine fashion spreads. This was a canny move from husband and wife team Tom Morris and Sian Emmison because I am a big fan of cycling and we shot Bobbin Bicycles several times for the final print issues of the magazine.

Bobbin Bicycles tom and sian
Tom and Sian in Bobbin Bicycles. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Today Bobbin Bicycles has grown into a well known business that employs six people and is set to open a bespoke and vintage bike repair workshop. They’re launching their own brand of upright Bobbin Bicycles in Australia, visit this to be followed shortly thereafter in the USA and are set to produce their own brand of Bobbin Bicycles branded panniers and capes. They’ve quickly become the go to people for the kind of upright bicycle that is increasingly favoured by townie types looking for sturdiness and style, buy information pills and indeed they’re so busy that Sian barely has time to say hello as she poses for a photo before returning to the phones in her subterranean office below their lovely shop in St John Street, Islington in North London. Instead I catch up with the lovely Tom in the basement of their bulging store to find out a little bit more about Bobbin Bicycles.

Alexis-West-Bobbin-Bicycles-tom morris
Tom Morris by Alexis West.

The love affair with bikes (and with each other) began long ago in Amsterdam.
Both Tom and Sian were fine artists living abroad who fell in love with riding Dutch bikes. It was about a whole lifestyle that was old fashioned, elegant, relaxed and most of all sociable, for in Amsterdam it is not uncommon to ride in groups and chit chat along the way. They were commissioned to film a bike race for the Dutch Arts Council, and the rest, as they like to say, is history.

Fast forward to 2001. London. The daily grind.
On their return home to the big smoke Tom found work in advertising, and Sian worked for cult furniture company SGP, which is based on Curtain Road. But they dreamed of something more… and so in-between freelance work they started to import bikes from Holland. At first this meant touring around Holland in a van to pick up bikes which they shipped back to the UK to sell from a storage unit. Within weeks they had moved onto Eyre Street Hill in Farringdon, where they shared a space with watchmakers and jewellers.

Bobbin Bicycles bells

Their glamourous “atelier showroom” was a bit like Turkish gambling den.
No one else had thought to specialise in Dutch bikes and soon their appointment only showroom was so popular they were selling ten bikes a day. Being well schooled in the ways of branding they targeted their customers with great care: Tom draped a curtain over the grottier bits of the workshop and played nice music. Customers got the “wow” factor when coming in off the street and soon the national newspapers started to call when they wanted a story about upright bikes.

Pashley began to stalk them.
Bobbin Bicycles had moved to Arlington Way by the time that Pashley paid them a secret visit. Thinking that not everyone wants a Dutch bike Tom had already approached the well known British brand, but he was unaware of the mutual interest. Pashleys are smaller in size and offer more gears, plus they offer the added bonus of all British manufacture UK. Fast forward to 2010: Bobbin Bicycles now operates from a lovely little shop in Angel and is one of over 100 UK stockists of Pashleys, but who else can boast their very own exclusive colour range? At Bobbin Bicycles you can now pick up the Pashley Provence in a special mint or mustard colourway.

Bobbin Bicycles

Upright bikes have become a lot more fashionable of late.
As more cyclists take to the roads many are choosing to ride sit-up-and-beg bikes of the type that Bobbin Bicycles sell, and lots more bike manufacturers are “having a pop” at simple upright bikes. Downstairs Tom shows me some new Globe bikes made by the huge company Specialised. People are now making appointments to visit Bobbin Bicycles from as far away as LA and Russia. *NB: I do not condone travelling across the world to purchase a bike. But definitely buy a bike. Everyone should have one.

Bobbin Bicycles baskets
Piles of baskets in the basement of the shop.

Steel or aluminium? Why, what’s the difference?
Pashleys are made with a beautiful thin lugged steel frame, but most modern bikes are made from lightweight aluminium that makes for a more juddery ride, though they are definitely not as heavy when lifting up steps. Bobbin Bicycles can cater to all your upright wishes and stock a huge range of brands including the wonderfully named Swedish Skeppshult.

London has way more cycling tribes than other cities.
In other cities the cyclists tend to look quite homogeneous, but here in London we have many different identifiable types. Tom was amongst the first to label the big three cycling tribes for an article in the Independent. The Traditional, Fold-up and Fixie tribes can now be broken into multiple subsets and mash ups, including the Fixed Tweed tribe.

Tweed Run by Emma Raby
Tweed Run by Emma Raby.

Bobbin Bicycles ran a tea stop for this year’s Tweed Run.
The Tweed Run is perfectly Bobbin: an annual celebration of all things upright and traditional about cycling. This year they presented a prize for the best decorated bike to a lady from Holland, who arrived with an old 70s shopper decorated with a multicoloured knitted saddle cover and matching dress guards on the back wheels.

Tweed run by Maria del carmensmith
The winning bike by Maria del Carmen Smith.

Boris bikes. Good news for Bobbin Bicycles.
Tom loves the idea of cycling into town on Boris bike and then getting a cab back. Or simply having the option to avoid the horrors of the night bus. Even though the amount of money spent on cycling in the UK is a fraction of what is spent in countries such as Denmark, Holland and Germany the new London bike scheme will undoubtedly encourage more people to cycle. Here’s how it goes: people will try them out instead of investing in a cheap bike from Halfords. Once they get into the idea of cycling they will realise how heavy and unwieldy the Boris bikes are and will decide to graduate onto something nicer. Hopefully a Bobbin Bicycle, for instance.

boris bike by vicky yates
Boris Bike by Vicky Yates.

Collaborations are good fun.
In the cabinet behind me are wonderful bowler and deerstalker hats designed to fit over helmets. They were made by the historically influenced milliner Eloise Moody, who has also created a sexy reflective nurses cape. Bobbin Bicycles will launch their own range of panniers and capes for spring 2011, and the shop stocks lots of small boutique brands you would not find elsewhere. They’ve provided bikes for a Mark Ronson video and the newspapers always come knocking when they want to borrow a pretty upright.

Abi Daker - Eloise Moody - bikes
Eloise Moody by Abigail Daker.

They are moving back to Arlington Way.
Well, in a manner of speaking. The shop in Angel is bursting at the seams and they’ve decided to open a new workshop on Arlington Way in October, just three doors down from their previous location. Dedicated Bobbin mechanics will specialise in the servicing of vintage bikes and hard to get components such as hub gears. But all cyclists will be welcome.

Bobbin Bicycles jewellery
Bobbin Bicycles jewellery.

Vintage Goodwood here we come.
Bobbin Bicycles have provided Vintage at Goodwood with a fleet of promotional bikes so that they can flyer all over town. They have a pitch at the festival alongside the Old Bicycle Company from Essex – which specialises in Penny Farthings. Sadly, here we don’t come. Amelia’s Magazine has not been made welcome at Vintage at Goodwood.

The independent bike shops all get along.
And why not? They all specialise in their own thing, and quite often a boyfriend and girlfriend will come into Bobbin Bicycles with different ideas of what they want to ride. The girl wants an upright, the boy wants a fix. So they send him down the road to Condor Cycles or up the road to Mosquito. Yes, 80% of their customers are female, possibly down to the attitude and service of Bobbin staff, which is deliberately very accessible and non technology based.

Winter Cycling by Joana Faria
Winter Cycling by Joana Faria.

Top tips for autumn and winter cycling.
Many people are merely fair weather cyclists (not me!) but cycling through the British winter will keep you warm. You’ll arrive at work with a good feeling inside, blood pumping, ready to get down to business: you don’t get that sitting on an overheated bus. But make sure you have decent lights because they’ll make you feel really smug when it gets dark early. Get a good cape to whack over the top of your clothes if it’s raining. Waterproof trousers are not a good look but leather jackets are. They keep the wind out and they look good too. Stay on your bikes! Honestly, it’s by the far the best way to travel at all times of the year. And I speak from experience.

You can visit the friendly staff at Bobbin Bicycles at 397 St John Street, London, EC1V 4LD or you can drool over their website here. And do say hello at Vintage at Goodwood.

Bobbin Bicycles SHOP

Natasha-Thompson-Bobbins-Bicycles-Girl-Cape-Illustration
Bobbin Bicycles by Natasha Thompson.

I first heard of Bobbin Bicycles just over three years ago, no rx when as a nascent bespoke bike company they contacted me to suggest featuring some of their imported upright Dutch bicycles in my Amelia’s Magazine fashion spreads. This was a canny move from husband and wife team Tom Morris and Sian Emmison because I am a big fan of cycling and we shot Bobbin Bicycles several times for the final print issues of the magazine.

Bobbin Bicycles tom and sian
Tom and Sian in Bobbin Bicycles. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Today Bobbin Bicycles has grown into a well known business that employs six people and is set to open a bespoke and vintage bike repair workshop. They’re launching their own brand of upright Bobbin Bicycles in Australia, page to be followed shortly thereafter in the USA and are set to produce their own brand of Bobbin Bicycles branded panniers and capes. They’ve quickly become the go to people for the kind of upright bicycle that is increasingly favoured by townie types looking for sturdiness and style, dosage and indeed they’re so busy that Sian barely has time to say hello as she poses for a photo before returning to the phones in her subterranean office below their lovely shop in St John Street, Islington in North London. Instead I catch up with the lovely Tom in the basement of their bulging store to find out a little bit more about Bobbin Bicycles.

Alexis-West-Bobbin-Bicycles-tom morris
Tom Morris by Alexis West.

The love affair with bikes (and with each other) began long ago in Amsterdam.
Both Tom and Sian were fine artists living abroad who fell in love with riding Dutch bikes. It was about a whole lifestyle that was old fashioned, elegant, relaxed and most of all sociable, for in Amsterdam it is not uncommon to ride in groups and chit chat along the way. They were commissioned to film a bike race for the Dutch Arts Council, and the rest, as they like to say, is history.

Fast forward to 2001. London. The daily grind.
On their return home to the big smoke Tom found work in advertising, and Sian worked for cult furniture company SGP, which is based on Curtain Road. But they dreamed of something more… and so in-between freelance work they started to import bikes from Holland. At first this meant touring around Holland in a van to pick up bikes which they shipped back to the UK to sell from a storage unit. Within weeks they had moved onto Eyre Street Hill in Farringdon, where they shared a space with watchmakers and jewellers.

Bobbin Bicycles bells

Their glamourous “atelier showroom” was a bit like Turkish gambling den.
No one else had thought to specialise in Dutch bikes and soon their appointment only showroom was so popular they were selling ten bikes a day. Being well schooled in the ways of branding they targeted their customers with great care: Tom draped a curtain over the grottier bits of the workshop and played nice music. Customers got the “wow” factor when coming in off the street and soon the national newspapers started to call when they wanted a story about upright bikes.

Pashley began to stalk them.
Bobbin Bicycles had moved to Arlington Way by the time that Pashley paid them a secret visit. Thinking that not everyone wants a Dutch bike Tom had already approached the well known British brand, but he was unaware of the mutual interest. Pashleys are smaller in size and offer more gears, plus they offer the added bonus of all British manufacture UK. Fast forward to 2010: Bobbin Bicycles now operates from a lovely little shop in Angel and is one of over 100 UK stockists of Pashleys, but who else can boast their very own exclusive colour range? At Bobbin Bicycles you can now pick up the Pashley Provence in a special mint or mustard colourway.

Bobbin Bicycles

Upright bikes have become a lot more fashionable of late.
As more cyclists take to the roads many are choosing to ride sit-up-and-beg bikes of the type that Bobbin Bicycles sell, and lots more bike manufacturers are “having a pop” at simple upright bikes. Downstairs Tom shows me some new Globe bikes made by the huge company Specialised. People are now making appointments to visit Bobbin Bicycles from as far away as LA and Russia. *NB: I do not condone travelling across the world to purchase a bike. But definitely buy a bike. Everyone should have one.

Bobbin Bicycles baskets
Piles of baskets in the basement of the shop.

Steel or aluminium? Why, what’s the difference?
Pashleys are made with a beautiful thin lugged steel frame, but most modern bikes are made from lightweight aluminium that makes for a more juddery ride, though they are definitely not as heavy when lifting up steps. Bobbin Bicycles can cater to all your upright wishes and stock a huge range of brands including the wonderfully named Swedish Skeppshult.

London has way more cycling tribes than other cities.
In other cities the cyclists tend to look quite homogeneous, but here in London we have many different identifiable types. Tom was amongst the first to label the big three cycling tribes for an article in the Independent. The Traditional, Fold-up and Fixie tribes can now be broken into multiple subsets and mash ups, including the Fixed Tweed tribe.

Tweed Run by Emma Raby
Tweed Run by Emma Raby.

Bobbin Bicycles ran a tea stop for this year’s Tweed Run.
The Tweed Run is perfectly Bobbin: an annual celebration of all things upright and traditional about cycling. This year they presented a prize for the best decorated bike to a lady from Holland, who arrived with an old 70s shopper decorated with a multicoloured knitted saddle cover and matching dress guards on the back wheels.

Tweed run by Maria del carmensmith
The winning bike by Maria del Carmen Smith.

Boris bikes. Good news for Bobbin Bicycles.
Tom loves the idea of cycling into town on Boris bike and then getting a cab back. Or simply having the option to avoid the horrors of the night bus. Even though the amount of money spent on cycling in the UK is a fraction of what is spent in countries such as Denmark, Holland and Germany the new London bike scheme will undoubtedly encourage more people to cycle. Here’s how it goes: people will try them out instead of investing in a cheap bike from Halfords. Once they get into the idea of cycling they will realise how heavy and unwieldy the Boris bikes are and will decide to graduate onto something nicer. Hopefully a Bobbin Bicycle, for instance.

boris bike by vicky yates
Boris Bike by Vicky Yates.

Collaborations are good fun.
In the cabinet behind me are wonderful bowler and deerstalker hats designed to fit over helmets. They were made by the historically influenced milliner Eloise Moody, who has also created a sexy reflective nurses cape. Bobbin Bicycles will launch their own range of panniers and capes for spring 2011, and the shop stocks lots of small boutique brands you would not find elsewhere. They’ve provided bikes for a Mark Ronson video and the newspapers always come knocking when they want to borrow a pretty upright.

Abi Daker - Eloise Moody - bikes
Eloise Moody by Abigail Daker.

They are moving back to Arlington Way.
Well, in a manner of speaking. The shop in Angel is bursting at the seams and they’ve decided to open a new workshop on Arlington Way in October, just three doors down from their previous location. Dedicated Bobbin mechanics will specialise in the servicing of vintage bikes and hard to get components such as hub gears. But all cyclists will be welcome.

Bobbin Bicycles jewellery
Bobbin Bicycles jewellery.

Vintage Goodwood here we come.
Bobbin Bicycles have provided Vintage at Goodwood with a fleet of promotional bikes so that they can flyer all over town. They have a pitch at the festival alongside the Old Bicycle Company from Essex – which specialises in Penny Farthings. Sadly, here we don’t come. Amelia’s Magazine has not been made welcome at Vintage at Goodwood.

Bobbin Bicycles wall

The independent bike shops all get along.
And why not? They all specialise in their own thing, and quite often a boyfriend and girlfriend will come into Bobbin Bicycles with different ideas of what they want to ride. The girl wants an upright, the boy wants a fix. So they send him down the road to Condor Cycles or up the road to Mosquito. Yes, 80% of their customers are female, possibly down to the attitude and service of Bobbin staff, which is deliberately very accessible and non technology based.

Winter Cycling by Joana Faria
Winter Cycling by Joana Faria.

Top tips for autumn and winter cycling.
Many people are merely fair weather cyclists (not me!) but cycling through the British winter will keep you warm. You’ll arrive at work with a good feeling inside, blood pumping, ready to get down to business: you don’t get that sitting on an overheated bus. But make sure you have decent lights because they’ll make you feel really smug when it gets dark early. Get a good cape to whack over the top of your clothes if it’s raining. Waterproof trousers are not a good look but leather jackets are. They keep the wind out and they look good too. Stay on your bikes! Honestly, it’s by the far the best way to travel at all times of the year. And I speak from experience.

You can visit the friendly staff at Bobbin Bicycles at 397 St John Street, London, EC1V 4LD or you can drool over their website here. And do say hello at Vintage at Goodwood.

Bobbin Bicycles SHOP

Natasha-Thompson-Vintage-Goodwood-Illustration
Vintage at Goodwood by Natasha Thompson.

I must admit, approved I’ve had my reservations from the start. Right from the moment when they wheeled out that universally irritating celebrity known as Lily Allen. Young, for sale rich, famous and by all accounts a pain in the butt. Best known amongst the vintage community for out-bidding everyone else on all the best clothes at auction. Admittedly the closest I have ever got to Lily Allen was when she nonchalantly flicked cigarette ash on me as I passed her huge chauffeur driven four wheel drive on my bike one day last summer. But I think this tells me enough.

Vintage at Goodwood is a new festival. A new festival afloat in the sea of other festivals now populating British weekends throughout the summer months. Not a weekend goes by without at least two or three wonderful festivals that I know about to chose from, and many others that I don’t. Trying to find a niche market that hasn’t already spent as much as they can afford on summer festival frivolities is surely not an easy thing to do. Not surprisingly Vintage at Goodwood hasn’t sold out in it’s first year.

lilyallen-vintage dress(by cat sims)
Lily Allen in a vintage dress by Cat Sims.

So, they’ve done a notably huge amount of advertising – plastering everything from Bobbin Bicycles to bus billboards with the distinctive Vintage at Goodwood posters, which proclaim a festival that places as much emphasis on art, fashion, film and design as it does on music. All well and good, it’s a trend pioneered by the likes of Latitude and Secret Garden Party, but I’ve yet to fathom exactly how the mix works this time round. The only emphasis I can see has been on ‘curating’ a very large shopping area: even John Lewis gets a presence on their old-fashioned High Street.

Vintage at Goodwood poster
A Vintage at Goodwood poster near Brick Lane.

And who, exactly, is the “glamping” crowd they want to attract? “Vintage” as a lifestyle choice is something wholeheartedly embraced by people on a budget who like to champion an individualistic, upcycling, DIY aesthetic. Many of my readers for instance. Why, I’ve been wearing Chazza clothes since I could walk into a shop. Beyond Retro is my local store. Okay, since from about 1999 I’ve mainly favoured clothes from the 1980s over anything earlier, but today even this most silly of decades gets the Vintage treatment at Vintage at Goodwood.

But the Goodwood Estate also hosts Goodwood Revival – a glamourous motoring and aviation event aimed at people with a little bit more money than your average Vintage Enthusiast of the kind I speak of. It’s been written about in posh supermarket Waitrose’s own magazine, and fawned over by the right wing press. “They are used to catering to Goodwood Revival, who are basically mostly very wealthy, vintage car/plane owners… and where people ONLY seem to care how much money/how many stately homes you have.” This is clearly a festival with pretensions to be more than the mere stamping ground of a bunch of fashionable east end types. And yet many of these very people are the ones making the festival happen. Thrifty vintage enthusiasts fill the vintage shopping area with their stalls. They’re volunteering their time to be stewards of boudoirs. Vintage bloggers have written glowing posts about how much they look forward to the festival, thereby ensuring there is huge amounts of hype online to compliment the more traditional advertising. But are these very same people being looked after by the corporate wheels of Goodwood, Freud Comm and co?

JuneChanpoomidle-VintageGoodwood
Illustration by June Chanpoomidle.

At Amelia’s Magazine we’ve always tried to support as many small festivals as possible, especially the new ones, the ones focused on green issues and the ones that will appeal to our readership. You’d think, given this quote in the Telegraph (soz) today, that I would be the ideal kind of press to invite along to Vintage at Goodwood. “Vintage fashion is a win-win. It’s about upcycling, recycling, thriftiness and great design. I felt this was the right time to celebrate it and show people how good vintage links music, fashion and film.” Does this sound anything like the kind of stuff we promote on this blog, day in day out? Only this week we’ve published interviews with Think, Act, Vote and Bobbin Bicycles, both of whom have a presence at Vintage at Goodwood that gets a mention in our blogs.

Unhappy at the way that the press team for Vintage at Goodwood dismissed me without so much as a by your leave, and uneasy about the complaints I noted on the Vintage at Goodwood Facebook site regarding a lack of transparency over ticket pricing a few weeks ago, I decided to dig around for a bit more information. Someone, somewhere clearly has money. Freud Comm are the huge corporate PR agency responsible for the massive amounts of press you see. They also look after Nike, Asda, KFC, Sky, the Olympics and drinks giant Diageo, who has close ties to the festival. Cheap they cannot be to hire.

I am small fry to Freud, as are all those other eager bloggers. Freud doesn’t even have a twitter feed. Or a blog. They are beyond such things. But they also don’t understand the power of such things. Or maybe they would not be so dismissive of those with such close ties to the market they are trying to reach.

Glamping By Jessica Sharville 2
Glamping by Jessica Sharville.

As soon as I started to ask around I discovered a lot of unhappiness… and I was only scratching the surface. Bloggers that have gushed about Vintage at Goodwood for months had applied for press passes only to be turned down this, the week before – forced to purchase their own tickets to experience the festival they so much wanted to write about. Even seasoned journalists writing for big websites have been turned down. Now I’m no marketing genius, but it seems to me that if you have a new festival, and you haven’t sold out, it makes no sense at all to turn down any enthusiastic journos. After all, it costs the organisers nothing to let people in for free, and our eagerness should be appreciated because it doesn’t come without costs to us when we don’t have huge expense accounts to fall back on (travel and food soon mount up). Presuming that Vintage at Goodwood would like to continue next year, surely it’s a wise idea to maximise your chances of positive press from day one? For this very reason I will always send a press copy of Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration to any blogger that asks, no matter how well read their website is, or not. I appreciate that you want to spend time writing about my project. (ask away)

But there’s more…. getting Vintage at Goodwood off the ground has not been without its casualties along the way. And here you’ll have to bear with me if I adopt an air of secrecy – many of these people are still going to Vintage at Goodwood anyway – but tell me this, does this sound like a happy bunny? “It is a real shame as I have not met one person who is genuinely excited to go. Most are curious about how bad it will be and want to see it fail due to the poor behaviour from the organisers.”

Vintage illustration by Nathalie Laurence
Vintage illustration by Nathalie Laurence.

As Vintage at Goodwood have decided to focus on the shopping aspect of the event the costs of stalls have spiralled, well out of the reach of many young Vintage Stockists. A key curator has dropped out. One Vintage Enthusiast who shall remain nameless told me that “It’s all a big money making sham.” Many things will cost more (on top of the ticket price) during the festival. Another told me “I may as well rent a shop in Brighton for a month for the price they were asking for a pitch the size of a stamp.” I find all of this desperately sad. As a way of life Vintage is not about this. I understand the need for a new festival to break even, but at the expense of all those who help out along the way? It’s just not right.

Another quote: “I have heard nothing but bad things which is so sad as I have high hopes for the event.” I really wish I was able to get along to Vintage at Goodwood to make a judgement on it myself. As a concept it sounds great. Many many good friends will be attending, including Tatty Devine, Supermarket Sarah, Bobbin Bicycles, Think, Act, Vote… the list goes on. I would have loved to have covered the green lectures and meet the people who attend in all their fabulous finery. Vintage as a lifestyle is something I wholeheartedly support. As are festivals. Can you imagine a better bunch to photograph, illustrate and talk about for Amelia’s Magazine?

Wayne in Blue and Ochre by GarethAHopkins
Wayne Hemmingway (he’s behind Vintage at Goodwood) by Gareth Hopkins.

Sadly it is not to be. I can’t afford to pay for a ticket, especially given the time it takes me to write a festival up, which usually approaches a week and bearing in mind that no one pays me to write. It’s also very tiring (as anyone working the festival circuit will tell you), which is why I’ve stayed at home in London for the past few weekends – although I had set aside time to visit Vintage at Goodwood and see if it lived up to the hype. Instead I hope to hear from others who are going, fingers crossed. And do tell me your thoughts too, especially after the event. I hope you have a truly wonderful time if you are going, either as a punter or a contributor. Everyone. But organisers, remember this. Look after your team. They are what will make Vintage at Goodwood what it is, not the rich people glamping it up in luxury teepees and yurts. Don’t forget what Vintage as a lifestyle truly means…

* I did make it to VAG in the end… My review of Vintage at Goodwood is now online and you can read it here.*

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94 Responses to “Vintage at Goodwood: Festival Preview”

  1. Hannah says:

    This preview is right in every way!
    As a blogger and a fashion PR (for a vintage website) and a freelancer, I was very keen on covering Vintage at Goodwood.

    First email. No reply.

    Second email. A reply asking if I would like to flyer for the festival, therefore gaining a weekend ticket for 20 hours. I have a full time job and freelance in my freetime…

    Third email. No reply.

    Fourth email. No reply.

    Talking to people on twitter it seems obvious they have got their PR very wrong. A number of bloggers (some very very well known) has either been ignored by the team at Goodwood, or were spoken to very rudely and therefore refused their free ticket.

    It will be interesting to see what happens…

  2. Amelia says:

    Hi Hannah
    thanks so much for your comment. I know I’ve stuck my head above the parapet, but I feel something had to be said, and really, I’ve got nothing to lose xxx

  3. Peach McGee says:

    How funny, I was saying this to my BF last night and felt like a right miserable cow! Glad others are skeptical, too.

    Have wondered from the start what will actually happen at the event as details are scant, but so many friends going I didn’t want to rain on their parades. Very curious for opinions after everyone’s been, but as a keen vintage enthusiast I wasn’t tempted at all! Maybe it’s because I am a 30s girl and this decade (and any prior to it) has been curiously left out…

  4. So much Truth here.I really, really hope people at Freud and Mr Hemingway himself read this.

  5. Sarah says:

    I guess I’m also kind of concerned about the lineup. They seem to have over egged the shopping pudding without thinking about the music or art side of things that I originally found so appealing. I think this can and will eventually be a great festival – it just needs a wobbly first year to sort it out!

    I had the same experiences trying to get a ticket – I’m a blogger (plug: http://www.theenchantedhunters.com) and journalist. I pitched several ideas about this festival to interested women’s mags and papers but the festival’s press office weren’t even lukewarm – they wouldn’t guarantee me access, let alone a ticket. I don’t mind paying for festivals (ATP never give full free tickets, for example) but not when I won’t get press access. I’ve worked with Freud on a few other things though and they’ve always been great, so I can’t believe it’s just them.

  6. Alex Loves says:

    Thank you for having the guts to put the not-so-nice truth out there. I’ve been looking forward to the festival for ages and am covering this not only for my blog, but also for a major fashion magazine with a circulation of over 100.000.

    My press accreditation was flat out denied.

    If I hadn’t already been commissioned, if I were higher up the ladder and didn’t really need this piece, if I had more power, if I had the balls, I’d tell them to stick their £55 ticket where the sun don’t shine and not have gone. However, I DO need it, I HAVE been commissioned and I HAVE committed myself to going, so I had to pay the full price for a day ticket – albeit resentfully.

    I found Freud unprofessional and unpleasant and therefore any coverage I will give them will be tinged with a touch of resentment, which really is not how I like to work.

    Thanks for writing this and sharing many of our sentiments!

    Regardless of this, I know we’ll all have a great time anyway!

    Alex
    x

  7. Fleur says:

    A wonderful article. I am going to VAG (how apt) only because I agreed to help out my employer, the Chap magazine. After being horrifically mucked about, let down & shafted; and seeing several high profile people leave the team I am just very disappointed by the whole thing. People they should have been begging to be involved have been shunned and insulted. I am interested to see how it pans out and aim to have fun, though I’ll be amazed if it happens next year. F

  8. Amelia says:

    Thanks so much for everyone’s comments. I am glad I have managed to tap into a general feeling that there have been many flaws in the set up of this festival. We can only hope the people behind it learn, and that it doesn’t just turn into one big shopping playground for the moneyed classes. Due to the copious amount of money thrown at PR this blog is currently sitting on the third page of google. Let’s get it onto the top page and teach them how the blogosphere really works! x

  9. grthink says:

    I was pretty ambivalent toward the whole thing until I noticed that this was marketed at ‘lovers of cool popular culture’. Now, stop me if I’m wrong, but the line up includes The Faces (feturing Mick Hucknell), The Feeling, and Alvin Stardust… is this the most Daily Mail definition of what is ‘cool’ ever unleashed on the world?

    A friend of a friend of mine is running the John Lewis pop-up shop.

    I won’t go on.

  10. [...] Check out the article here! AMELIAS MAGAZINE [...]

  11. [...] Glamping Alternative image Heres the original Image I did for Amelias Magazine [...]

  12. Lena says:

    I think you’ve really summed up what a lot of people who are genuinely into vintage really think. Having been involved in the launch last year – a disappointing experience for me and a horrible shambles for some of my friends involved back then – I’ve come to expect very little of VAG.

    Yes, I’m still going (on the basis of free tickets) and I am sure I will have a fab time simply because of the many vintage enthusists there who share my passion and cause it’s a great excuse to get my best vintage out. But I can’t deny there is an element of me also wanting to witness the car crash as it happens…

  13. Helen says:

    There are so many things wrong with this festival. First of all, this “glamping” business. What utter bollocks! I am not 17, I am not going to Glastonbury to see The Levellers, I’ve been at work all week and don’t relish the thought of hovering over a chemical sodding toilet!

    The prices for the event are horrendous. There is no way I’d pay all that to sleep in a bloody tent. Because this is Britain, and it’s the summer, and it’ll probably bloody well rain. Please, will someone explain to me, what’s glamorous about waking up underwater in a muddy sleeping bag?

    Shops. John Lewis. If I want to go to John Lewis I would, like any civilised person, go to an actual shop. Unfortunately as I live in Birmingham this is rather hard as we don’t have a John Lewis, so I’ll just have to scrape by with Harvey Nicks, Selfridges and House of Fraser. Without having to sleep in a bloody tent.

    Then again, it’s being run by Wayne Hemingway – why are we surprised that this shambolic bollocks (shambollocks?!) is centred around cocking shopping? And a John Lewis? And this rather lame idea that there’s something called British vintage which has no connection with any other form of vintage style from other parts of the world does, quite frankly, get on me tits. How do British rockabillies feel who’ve been into ‘vintage’ for 30 years, before it was even called ‘vintage’, but are into Americana? Oh no, sorry, sod off mate, you’re not vintage.

    But this is the problem… there’s no solid, stable definition of what vintage is, because it means different things to different people. You obviously see it as being about thrift and recycling, but I’ve never seen it like that. I’ve dressed ‘vintage’ (without calling it that until recently, and then reluctantly) because I like styles from the 40s, 50s and early 60s, so I might wear original pieces or I might wear reproduction. I don’t do it because I’m green. I am green – I recycle obsessively and conserve energy where I can – but vintage, to me, does not exclusively mean “I wear stuff from a charity shop because I’m trying to save the world.” So don’t be surprised if other people’s vintage means driving a 1930s sports car or watching a travesty of an act with Mick sodding Hucknall destroying The Faces.

    (in fact… someone sent me a clipping about VaG from SAGA magazine. That probably sums it up quite well, I would’ve thought. It’s nostalgia for people whose memories are addled with senility. Like Wayne Hemingway).

    (oh and this Freud group work with Diageo? Diageo, who closed the Johnny Walker whisky factory, which was very important to Kilmarnock’s industry and was a huge ol’ piece of Scottish heritage? Vintage, heritage, means bollocks to these people unless they can make money out of it).

  14. Amelia says:

    Hi Helen thankyou very much for your take on the festival! I do agree with you that there is no solid definition of what Vintage is, so it has come to mean many different things to different people. I also agree with your definition – of course it is about style (and possibly the attitudes of a certain era) for a lot of people as well. What I think most would agree though, is that it’s not defined by a reproduction shopping experience of the kind that many fear this festival is touting as its trump card.

  15. Rebeah says:

    It doesn’t surprise me that it is so expensive. The backgrounds of the people organizing the event are they types that don’t do vintage for thriftiness but for style. It’s vintage that is more aspirational than eco-friendly & fun. I live far too far away from this event to consider trying to attend but the attraction towards it has a massive pull so maybe they are relying on that and the uber-trendy clique to give off good PR rather than journos. (Which I think is a shame).
    #fail

  16. Alfies says:

    We put out some flyers in Alfies for VAG after we were sent hundreds by their PR department, only to be told after lots of emailing and no replies that they wouldn’t promote us back but could we continue to promote them on all our social networking sites! The vintage dealers here are generally not impressed with the set up at all and none were even tempted to have stalls, or visit!

  17. Abi says:

    this sounds like the sort of nonsense which drives me mad – all of a sudden something gets latched onto by ‘trendy’ people and then it’s only accessible to a selct few.

    Part of the joy of ‘vintage’ for me is that it’s a wide ranging, broadly defined thing – and it depends upon all levels – high end and people who scour junk shops and car boot sales for nick nacks and odd bits of clothing.

    Making vintage elitist is shutting off a whole section of it and that’s a real pity…

    This sounds worse than when I saw a nasty replica of my amazing 1960′s flowery blouse staring at me from Topshop!

  18. Fiona says:

    This is a really interesting article, I know people who were involved initially then royally dumped, I know many vintage dealers who won’t do it as it’s so expensive, I know some who are and that’s great we will get a report back from them. I’m not from the vintage as thrifty & green set but that doesn’t mean I have money, I wear it because I’ve always loved it, so I don’t object to the vintage for style crowd at all. Not everyone’s idea of vintage is the same and we should respect that. However the prices, eek!

    Aren’t we in a recession? I thought about going for the day, but at £110 for a couple of day tickets plus paying for parking and other stuff, that’s an extorionately expensive day out!

    I do wonder if the general public paying these prices will have money left in their pockets to spend at the genuine small vintage vendors who are there who need to make money, not like John Lewis who are there for publicity, or whether these small time vintage traders have paid for very expensive pitches which will be merely browsing areas! I hope not for their sake.

    I actually hope it’s a success I don’t want it to fail, I’m not that type of person but I do wonder whether it is trying to achieve too much, is it possible to appeal to the very rich ‘glamping’ crowd who can afford £2000 for a weekend in a glam tent and at the same time appeal to people like me who don’t have money but love 40′s/50′s music & fashion, in an ideal world it would work, however I’m not sure it will.

    There are far better events that appeal to different sections of the vintage crowd which are more appealing than Vintage at Goodwood like the Rhythm Riot, Viva Las Vegas or The Rockabilly Rave for my crown of vintage lovers. Great music, great vintage shopping, great fun times and you don’t have to stay in a tent! I know these events are around on the Soul Scene, the 40′s scene, and many others too.

    Thanks for opening the debate!

  19. Polly says:

    A considerably more balanced, gentler opinion of VAG than I’ve heard from many of the people actually involved in it.

    The consensus between those who stuck it out (I told them to stick it, personally) is: heavy on design, low on content, less soul than a McDonald’s Happy Meal. If it can’t be sponsored and branded up to the eyeballs they’re not interested. Pulled together by an obnoxious team who not only ask for everyone to give time for free but expect to be able to bully them into submission. No respect for the audience, the contributors or the scene.

    It probably won’t be too crap, you can’t spend that much money and produce something truly abysmal. But it won’t come close to the triumph it could have been, and it’ll have been done at the cost of an awful lot of goodwill and unpaid hours by small businesses who really can’t afford to be taken advantage of. I don’t know what kind of longevity you can expect from that setup. I have to say I hope it does some biblical raining.

  20. Amelia says:

    hi Polly, thankyou very much for your very well put comment. And to everyone else who has been commenting, a big thankyou for taking the time to read this blog and add your thoughts. Keep them coming! x

  21. Retro Chick says:

    I am going to this on Saturday and I am genuinely looking forward to it. I don’t think the ticket prices seem any more expensive than other Summer festivals, and the fact it comes with actual facilities for camping is a massive plus point for me. I haven’t been to a festival for years as spending £150 for the privelege of camping in a muddy field with only portaloos for company is very unappealing.

    There is a shopping aspect, but having paid £18 to get into War & Peace last week and walk around their huge shopping site I can’t help but think this is a huge thing at any festival or event! There are a lot of free things going on as well. If I wanted I could take a picnic, wander round, enjoy the music and not spend a penny all day. As it is I intend to buy expensive cocktails and eat a 3 course meal in the Torch Club and I will cast my verdict on whether it was worth it afterwards!

    I am also expecting food and drink to be pricy, they are at any event. I think if it delivers even half of what it promises it will be a great weekend.

    HOWEVER. From the other side, as a professional rather than a customer I do have my concerns with the way the PR and management has been handled. Personally I didn’t apply for press accreditation. I considered it, but as I wanted to go with my husband I wanted to enoy it rather than feel I should be working too hard! How bloggers who did apply have been treated does seem very shabby and bothers me. How plans can be made when accreditation hasn’t been granted until 2 days in advance is beyond me.

    I also wasn’t very happy when their Facebook page suddenly started spamming my page with pictures and links. Maybe I should have applied for a press pass then! They did, however, apologise when I pulled them up about it.

    I hope that the festival itself is good, and I will no doubt write about it, for free, but I feel that they are appealing to a crowd that are very involved in social media, and attempting to use it themselves, without any real understanding of what a two way street it is. With any luck it’s a learning curve and next year social media and bloggers will get far better treatment.

  22. Elizabeth says:

    A fascinating read. I did have a look at the VAG site but was put off by the prices. Whilst I have not be subject to this kind of treatment it does not suprise me at all. Festivals in general have tended more towards commercialism rather than collectivism, which I think is a shame.

  23. Elizabeth says:

    A fascinating read. I did have a look at the VAG site but was put off by the prices. Whilst I have not be subject to this kind of treatment it does not suprise me at all. Festivals in general have tended more towards commercialism rather than collectivism, which I think is a shame. Great piece!

  24. Violet Maze says:

    For green,ethical,progressive camping get down to SUNRISE off grid festival down south.It does clash with Climate camp in Edinburgh tho’.
    Both these ‘camps’ are the real deal,Edinburgh is even free…..Make a real difference in the world.

  25. Amelia says:

    Indeed it does, you can read more about Sunrise on my listing here: http://www.ameliasmagazine.com/listings/e413/festival-sunrise-off-grid but I’d much rather people joined Climate Camp in Edinburgh. I think it’s safe to say though that these are not similar to Vintage at Goodwood at all! So come to both!

  26. Nina says:

    Great article. We had a really bad experience last year and so did all the other people we respect and who put lots of effort to make VAG at Festival of Speed a success!
    The agreements were not respected and the arrogance and rudeness of the organisers was appalling.Its a mass marketing of vintage we do not support so we’ll not be there!Never-the-less we wish everyone a great time at the event!

    Nina’s Hair Parlour

  27. Ophelia Bitz says:

    I’ve had a hard time not snarling every time I bump into one of those wretched posters around town.

    I was contacted some months ago via my website to come to Goodwood and discuss the option to curate the cabaret stage as part of ‘Vintage’, something I would have loved to do and have five years of experience doing in various guises; casting models and directing fashion shows, producing my own cabaret nights in London and working with a wide array of performers and producers internationally.

    This was a job I could do in my sleep. I requested as much information as was available and was told everything could be discussed onsite. Not my preferred style (I like to be prepared) but so far, so easy.

    My charming assistant and I gussied ourselves up in full 1940s regalia and jumped on the train to Goodwood to meet with the mysterious Mr Hemmingway and to pop in and say hello to our friends at Nina’s Hair Parlour.

    Upon arrival it was clear that all was not right with the world; Nina and her staff were unhappy and it was well-nigh impossible to find Mr Hemmingway anywhere.

    An hour of phone calls and hunting later and I managed to corner him outside the cocktail bar.

    I introduced myself, said I was very pleased to have been invited to discuss the new Vintage festival and that I had lots of good ideas about who to book.

    The debonaire, charming and impeccably-dressed Mr Hemmingway courteously explained to me that I couldnt just “turn up with red hair and think ‘Ooooh I can do this!’” and that it was obvious that I was harbouring girlish delusions of capability in my field.

    All that was missing was a slap on the arse. We flounced off.

    A vile man. An idiot man. And a completely soulless festival to sell overpriced items to those with more money than sense.

  28. Oh I LOVE this article you go Amelia

    Best comment “Daily Mail’s definition of cool”

  29. susie_bubble says:

    I fared slightly better and did finally get accreditation but it was two days before the festival, meaning that I had already made plans for the weekend… I too emailed constantly asking for updates…
    I’ve dealt with other PRs for other festivals and it’s never been this arduous – most have press accreditation sorted out at least a month beforehand… just seems silly to leave it so last minute to accredit ppl…
    Now I’m going courtesty of the British Fashion Council on Sunday to support the New Gen designers going for the Future Vintage event… I knew the vintage stall stuff was going to be a bit of a sham… there’s money involved and this was never going to be a grassroots, AUTHENTIC event… still, I’m looking forward to the spectacle of it all…

  30. From a traders point of view, we have thought long and hard, and could only ask ourselves;How can you really make money with these ridiculous stall prices?

    I mean to display all our hand picked vintage merchandise properly, like we would in our shop, pay for transport, extra staff, lodging, food etc, we would have to fork out over 6000 pounds.

    So how much do these nincompoops expect us to make?

    It would have to be over 20 grand to make it worth it, and we doubt we would take anywhere near that.

    So no thanks, the only people making money, will be the organisers

  31. Emily says:

    Such a well expressed piece. Totally reflects my experience. It all seemed positive one minute and then total lack of communication and left waiting until less than a week before the festival to be told that a press pass wouldn’t be forthcoming by which point had no time to work out finances. Not the way to create a good impression or encourage people to come. V disappointing.

  32. Sarah says:

    This article, and the comments, makes very interesting reading indeed!

    There’s been such an extended build-up to this (just about a solid year of promotion, isn’t it?), not to mention huge volumes of wholly uncritical coverage in the media and blogs, that I’ve felt rather guilty about my qualms about the whole thing.

    Like many of the commenters above, I’m also more than a bit queasy about the elitism, the rampant commercialisation, and the high cost of the tickets.

    Learning a bit more about the high-handed behaviour of the organising team behind it has only added to my reservations.

    Before I’d even read this piece, what turned me off most was a recent email newsletter I received from VAG (yes, I’ve subscribed to them! They’re very jolly!) which tried to ramp up the excitement by urging you to book so you can say to your grandchildren that you were there at the FIRST ever VAG, drawing parallels with the first Glastonbury festival or the Sex Pistols’ first gig. That kind of overwhelming hubris does them no favours at all!

    I’m a vintage trader but there’s no way I could afford a pitch there, and I think its sad that many of us without Lily Allen’s considerable resources (but with plenty to offer!) can’t attend.

    That said, I really do like the idea of it – in theory – and do I hope its a wonderful experience for all the people who’ve stumped up for tickets or have booked a pitch to sell their vintage goods.

    I will be watching out for news and reviews with great interest!

    [Edited to add something because it keeps refusing my comment as a duplicate!]

  33. suzie wheat says:

    While part of me would like to experience the ‘spectacle’ of like minded people & also partly due to my b.friend really wanting to see some of the bands, The Damned, The Buzzcocks etc. Two reasons stopped me from saying yes to VAG- i just knew that i would see possibly fantastic vintage pieces BUT would totally not be prepared to pay the prices. It kinda stands to reason that prices would be hiked to cover the extortion that was the price of a stall! Not a dig, as i would raise my prices in this situAtion.
    Secondly i love vintage & dress vintage because i like how it suits my wanting to be ‘different’ i really dont buy this lets all be saving the earth & recycle. Vintage has never been about that!! That is until some wise ass marketing guru decided so. This “i love vintage because im helping save the world. Utter claptrap. Same as being charged for a carrier !! Spin,ploy! Anyway dont get me started on the carrier bags, thats another groan.
    While i hope everyone has a fab time & the sun shines. I shall be watching & holding counsel.
    Great article, didnt realize all the rumblings due to poor manners had been going on.

  34. Magpie says:

    I too have had a difficult time with Freud, so thanks Amelia for saying something about this. They were really helpful when I wanted to write something ahead of the event, but the accreditation situation is just frustrating. Letting people know a week before the event is frankly ridiculous. It has left a really unsavory taste in my mouth about the whole experience.
    That said, Hemingway himself has been nothing but helpful and friendly to me so I’m still going. My mum was nice enough to step in at the last minute and help me out with paying for tickets on the condition that she comes too. I don’t think I’ll be able to afford to buy anything there though, and I can’t be the only one left with very little to spend at the actual event after shelling out for the tickets, car hire and camping.
    It’s such a shame because so many people I know were really excited about this idea and now aren’t going. My housemate was volunteering but they were asking so much of her for no reward it was ridiculous.

  35. Ed says:

    An interesting and thought provoking piece that does ring some warning bells about Freud- an organisation I have had the misfortune of dealing with on a professional level before.

    I would also say though that Goodwood is capable of greatness. Yes, many of the attendees of the Festival of Speed are richer than Croesus. Regrettably old racing cars are an expensive business and with expensive toys comes wealthy people. There is however an enthusiasm and passion for the matter at hand- in the years I’ve been going, I’ve rarely seen financial willy waving from the people who actually are genuinely wealthy. It genuinely is a festival- just one that celebrates a crazy pass time.

    Were VAG to adapt slightly, learn some pertinent lessons and shoot every fifth employee of Freud pour encouragement des autres, I am sure matters could improve.

  36. Minna says:

    I had the opportunity to go to VAG for nothing but had an excellent party here in London to go to instead.
    My fear is that the majority of attendees may be having a day out looking at all the ‘funny’ vintage enthusiasts. The lack of engagement with the vintage community doesn’t bode well in this respect.
    I’m older and tents, festivals and eco-issues really hold little appeal for me. I don’t want to be lectured or visit shops I can find on my doorstop.
    I hope, for all the friends going it goes well. In the meantime I am looking forward to the riot in Nov.x

  37. Wow, we at Alfies have read all these comments with great interest. As we have already said earlier, we are immensely disappointed with their PR. Surely we could have expected a little mention of Alfies on their site in return as we did promote the festival (we have now stopped of course) and did display some of the massive stack of flyers they sent us (they have now gone into recycling, what a waste of paper!).
    We have also heard that it is indeed possible to get complimentary tickets but only if the people dress to impress and therefore make the event appear super cool and desirable. Not for us, we prefer to spend out time with real vintage lovers that are not just in it for the money!
    We do wish everyone a great time and hope it will be worth the money spent. It is pretty much risk free given how they really try to appeal to a very wide array of people given the great choice of eras covered. This fact alone put me personally off before I even knew about the PR troubles…
    Try to have fun everyone!

  38. Cherie City says:

    The concept of the festival sounds great, but who on earth is their target customer?
    The line-up for the main stage is frankly pretty lame. Apparently vintage fans only listen to ‘has been’ bands (apart from some token cool bands).

    The festival market is just becoming over-saturated and ridiculously expensive for tickets, food and drink. The ‘glamping’ thing just seems over-rated as well. I’d rather pay the same amount and go on a fabulous beach holiday or city break than getting muddy in a tarted up tent. I’ve been to festivals since the age of 16 and now can’t afford to go with all the extra costs involved.

    It’s a shame that Freud have capitalised on all the free publicity from bloggers and traders and given nothing in return. I suspect they’ll find a ‘preview’ drought next year, as no one will want to help them out.

  39. Oh, this is so interesting. A friend (who works in marketing) asked me if I wanted to go, but looking at the VAG (ha!) website it just looked really “off” somehow and inauthentic so I made my excuses on the grounds of it being so expensive. To me it seemed like a cashing in exercise and frankly, a bit lame! (And sorry, but no 1930s?) It would never have occurred to me to ask for a press pass, if I’d really wanted to go I’d have paid my way and still written about it for the blog. Sounds like they’ve been terribly rude and short sighted to those who did apply actually – but I’ll look forward to the reviews with interest!

  40. Fleur says:

    I just wanted to add, further to the above, that it just makes me sad that so many have been let down over this – bloggers, journos, sellers/business owners and fans alike. Like Nina, Naomi Vintage Secret and I worked our bums off for VAG at the Revivial taster event last year, getting there at 7am each day, leaving about 9 every evening. I did 400 miles in my car, plus 3 fashion shows a day, the photographic results of which have been used in all sorts of advertising over the last year. None of us got paid, and a few people got insulted to the point of tears by rude and bossy organisers. After the event, I then offered my help to Wayne Hemingway, sending him a list of ideas and ways I could assist, crucially only giving him a few actual names and ideas, the rest more vague, knowing that I should keep something back. Just as I feared, he approached the people/companies I named direct and after a few short replies about them being busy with the ‘boring budget stuff and would get back to me properly soon’, soon stopped replying. I gave up. I am now quite glad I gave up at such an early stage.

    I was really saddened to hear (from the horse’s mouth) that one of the key curators left suddenly, only a couple of months ago, but given the way the goalposts moved very time we spoke to said curator (through absolutely zero fault of their own) and the way no one at VAG seems to know anything about anything else (I was once emailed about it, an excitable email introducing this fabulous festival which I ‘may not have heard of’ from someone who had no idea I had been one of the very small team of volunteers at the aforementioned taster event, despite my face being all over the place in the promo photos) I was unsurprised. The curator was just the sort of person they needed on board – passionate about vintage, and unconcerned with money. So you can see why they dropped out!

    I am now going to have a bit of fun with the Chap, doing a Chapwalk on Friday and a mini Olympiad every day. I really want to see what happens, how busy it will be, whether they make any money… but I say this without any hint of schadenfreude – if it’s a big failure with tumbleweed blowing past as I step out on the catwalk, and the sellers who’ve bitten the bullet end up out of pocket, I’ll be very upset on behalf of everyone… including myself… and guess what – I’m not being paid this time either! Not even my expenses. What a mug I am!!

  41. Miss Nightingale says:

    Oh, this is all quite depressing to read. I am so saddened to hear how bloggers & stall-holders (and seemingly many people involved in various ways with VAG) have been rudely treated. It seems to me that the PR company involved must have no idea how important blogs & small press circles are in the world of vintage! Major error. Perhaps next year (if there is a VAG next year) they will have hired a new PR company. Sounds like it would be in their interest, as well as everyone else’s! I told a good friend & fellow blogger about this event & we had planned to go (as paying members of the public), but I couldn’t get the time off work. In some ways I hope it’s a success, despite all the bad feeling, as it has so many elements that I love & would be overjoyed to experience & share with my readers. I also want it to be a success for the hardworking people just trying to make a living or ( when not even being paid!) for sharing their particular talents with the vintage lovers like me… I shall anxiously be awaiting news of this event, along with many others it seems, as I truly would like there to be a next year, so I can see for myself!

  42. Poggleberry says:

    Thank you for opening my eyes to the way people have been treated by VAG. I’ve merily read and received updates about this new festival, but there was something niggling at me that stopped me buying tickets, I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

    I recently attended Hot Rod Hayride, held at Bisley shooting grounds, which is also held over 3 days and costs only £50, this is one of my favorite events of the year. I also go to Rhythm Riot, Rockabilly Rave & The War and Peace Show.
    I don’t feel like my lifestyle is being hi-jacked and all attending are like minded people.

    So my conclusions are:
    That it’s over priced, it’s priced itself as other well established events at Goodwood.
    The music line up is poor, not to me taste.
    The shops are too commercialized.
    I’m finding it hard to understand why you’d want to dress in 70′s or 80′s fashions.
    I feel I’d be oggled at as a specimen in 40′s dress.
    I’d rather save my money & attend the next 3 Hot Rod
    Hayrides for the same cost.

  43. Alex says:

    Its nothing more than a dressed up (and in John Lewis) trade show at Olympia, where nobody benefits but the organisers.

    Taking ‘vintage’ to a large scale audience and with commercial targets was always going to put some peoples noses out of joint but I think this is something that could have been smoothed out, if done correctly.

    Being rude and treating the very people they need on side so poorly is something that cannot. It will be interesting to see whether it bites them back on the VaG.

  44. Di Overton says:

    As a blogger, Designers Block, owner of Ghost Furniture and having previously owned wheredidyoubuythat.com I am not in the least surprised as to what has happened. The press coverage and PR spend showed immediately that this was BIG. Every big exhibition that I have ever had anything to do with has resulted in the big boys taking over from the smaller boys. They have the money, the contacts and the high profiles.
    After 4 years of blogging I still cannot understand the reluctance of the UK to embrace bloggers. My blog has a very high ranking and I have been thanked by big companies all over the world for coverage of their shops. I am even on the Press List for Liberty but I didn’t even bother contacting Vintage at Goodwood for a press pass, had my blog been called The Telegraph I may have stood a chance. One day someone will come along and organise an event that includes everybody bloggers, press, big and small and give them all an equal chance. Who that someone might be I do not know, maybe they will be reading this.
    Go into any press office at any exhibition and you will see the big boys being pampered and fussed over, they are the ones with the money and the contacts. What these organisers fail to understand is that some small boy could actually be a big boy one day.
    Having said all this I have just watched Wayne Hemingway being interviewed at the festival and he made it sound wonderful – watch this space.

  45. heather says:

    Phew! Thought I was the only one thinking it came off as prententious! I have a sense of the “celebration” they speak off has got lost along the way. The pricing structure does make it a very elitest event. Although I do love the whole glamping idea, but ahem. not at THOSE prices!! I’m off to festinho.com and can’t wait! A gaggle of fun and friendly creative types xxx

  46. designd says:

    as a newbie on the blogging scene, thank you for the honesty you all share in your comments. they’re definitely useful! my blogette takes a different angle to all that has been shared above – instead focussing on the use of the term curator, and the failures of the website – i’d be interested to hear if anyone shares my opinion.

    looking forward to the coverage though! and great article amelia!

  47. Jen says:

    I couldn’t agree more with the general feeling.
    I run Rock a Hula. I was invited to meet the organisers in Goodwood, but got the sense we were going to be asked to participate for nothing in return from the start, when they couldn’t even be bothered to try and meet me in London. Which, let’s face it, would be quite a standard place to meet, and something more than a one sentence email response would have been appreciated, after I’d written a polite approach.
    Pretty much everyone I’ve met who is working there is not being paid and being exploited, so the organisers are ripping everyone off to make loads of money.
    So, right now, I’m sat at home in London, it’s raining outside, so I’m not going to be stuck in a tent paying lots of money for the privilege. I’m going to plan my next few events this weekend, saf in the knowledge that at least I treat everyone who I work with well, AND pay them properly.

  48. Amelia says:

    Thanks once again for all the insightful comments you’ve been posting… in a strange turn of events someone from twitter who is already working there has offered me a pair of tickets (know this, useless PR team for Vintage at Goodwood – the best bit of PR would have been to turn around and offer me tickets in spite of this post) and so I will be driving down for the day tomorrow. And I shall report back accordingly and honestly on what I find, bearing in mind the many many people that feel let down by Messrs Hemmingway, Freud and co.

  49. Mrs Gorman says:

    I’m just SO glad someone wrote this up!!!

  50. Gerry says:

    Interesting stuff, Amelia. My opinion? For the many worthy (yes I know that sounds patronising but actually I mean it) but amateur journalists, bloggers, traders etc, who have added their critical comments, have you any idea what it takes to set up a festival from scratch in a time of tricky economic times? I think not.
    Freebies and cheap sites are just not going to happen; big names and high margins just don’t queue up – ‘cos they wait to see how it goes. this is not a charity any more than x y z festivals I’ve been to.
    Has it struck you that if you help make it work this year you’ll benefit in future?
    I think this will fly, but it’ll be tight.
    Gerry
    PS One thing though, if you haven’t adopted a ‘why can’t have a freebie’ attitude, and been disappointed, then bad manners/no response by the PR/reception/ticketing team is not on – they need to sort it our next time.

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