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Vintage at Goodwood: Festival Review

So, how did Vintage at Goodwood measure up to the hype? Was it, as feared, just a glorified "vintage" shopping experience? On Saturday I went down to check out the festival for myself. This is what I thought.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Dahling by Abigail Nottingham.

“We’re building great cafes and restaurants on the Vintage High St, where you will even find a Waitrose.” So said the flyer that I picked up in a local pub the day after our sojourn to Vintage at Goodwood. To be honest, if I’d seen this same flyer before I’d been inundated with hype from the great VAG press machine then I might not have been so keen to attend the festival.

Vintage Goodwood 2010
Vintage Goodwood 2010
Photography by Amelia Gregory.

It’s ironic then, that, like the camping spots in “hidden glades, hollows, copses and hillocks” Waitrose didn’t make it into the final Vintage at Goodwood vision. But what did was every bit as soulless as I feared it might be in my preview blog.

Vintage Goodwood 2010

Past a regimental camping site that better represented a hillside carpark, we did indeed approach the main VAG entrance via a wooded glade… and as we did so passed what was to prove the most interesting aspect of the whole festival – a small eco-campment complete with beautiful decorated gypsy caravan, outsized lace-making and knitting, and a tiny outdoor stage for up and coming bands. Curated by textile artist Annie Sherburne, it was like a touch of Secret Garden Party had crept into the mix, but knowing not where to put it the madness was relegated to the woods.

Vintage Goodwood knit
Love shack caravan By Jessica Sharville
Love Shack Caravan by Jessica Sharville.

So far, so not very vintage, but as we ducked under the entrance arch a slew of gorgeous old cars funnelled us down towards the much trumpeted High Street, rearing up against the dramatic sky like a cross between a back lot of a Hollywood western and a trade show.

Vintage Goodwood entrance
Vintage Goodwood 2010
Vintage Goodwood 2010
Vintage Goodwood 2010

“Fifty years on from the design-led 1951 Festival of Britain, Goodwood is to host in 2010 the first of what will be an annual event” opens the glossy VAG flyer, and true to this spirit the very first shop on the High Street housed Wayne Hemingway Inc, choc full of products plastered with designs inspired by the very same Festival of Britain. As one worker commented to me “How arrogant can you be?” Vintage at Goodwood was a monument to our current obsession with consumerism as leisure, and bore no resemblance to the Festival of Britain’s celebration of modern societies’ achievements in post-war Britain. To compare something to such an iconographic event is to set oneself up for a fall.

Vintage Goodwood pub
Vintage Goodwood dress
Pinup Girl with Car by Tigz Rice.

Boggling, I gazed up at the garishly coloured towering fascias, wondering at the huge amount of money that must have gone into the construction. And none of it looking remotely recyclable. For that matter, where were the recycling bins? The post war years were frugal, and there was no sign of that here.

Vintage Goodwood 2010
Vintage Goodwood 2010

Instead there was the opportunity to shop inside stands for those well known vintage brands: The Body Shop, Fortnum & Mason, John Lewis and some really expensive watch brand I’ve never heard of; in whose stall people quaffed champagne as a man picked apart on old watch face and another displayed a case of super expensive items to a wealthy shopper. The same brand had sponsored the festival wristbands, made out of lethal lentographic plastic that cut my friend’s arm to shreds.

Vintage Goodwood 2010
Vintage Goodwood 2010
Vintage Goodwood 2010

There was also: a cinema, and a catwalk hosting “sold out” shows. We never did find out if this was just a turn of phrase or whether they were actually sold out. Yup, you had to pay on top of the ticket price for many of the attractions. And did I mention the style stand, where you could get your hair done by Primark in collaboration with the Sunday Times Style Magazine. Yes really. This is what we’ve come to.

vintage at goodwood by erica sharp
Vintage at Goodwood by Erica Sharp.

I heard rumours of people flying in to attend this festival on private jets, but it was telling of the strange mix of people that there was also a Daily Mirror volkswagen bus on site. As someone wrote on twitter, it seemed like a sanitised Daily Mail version of fifty years of culture, devoid of all nuance or passion. Inside the Sotheby’s auction tent the intermittent rain drip dripped onto a vintage speaker valued at £6000 as a couple passed looking uncomfortable in a fancy dress version of the 1970s.

Vintage Goodwood 2010
vintagegoodwood by Maria del Carmen Smith
Vintage at Goodwood Auction by Maria del Carmen Smith.

The most popular dress amongst women seemed to be the ubiquitous flouncey polka dot fifties number, or some other poorly rendered version of what was worn in the 60s or 70s. Fine if that’s your bag, but I’ve seen fancy dress done with a whole lot more verve at places like Bestival. I guess pure vintage enthusiasts wear vintage clothes with a dedication to style that wasn’t obvious on many festival goers, because vintage enthusiasts choose to wear these clothes day in day out, not as mere fancy dress. It wasn’t altogether surprising to find the real vintage enthusiasts looking slightly bemused and out of place in the staff dinner queue.

Vintage Goodwood 2010
Vintage Goodwood 2010
Vintage Goodwood crocs
Future Vintage: Crocs apparently…
Vintage Goodwood 2010
and the Big Brother chair. God help us.
Vintage Goodwood 2010
Tyrells crisps promotion: a vegetable chamber group.
Vintage Goodwood 2010
Vintage Goodwood 2010
Rocking the vintage look.

We spoke to friends in the much smaller vintage stall area that was hidden in cramped tents behind the central shopping parade. They were ambivalent about the festival: cross with the way it had been organised and how they were being treated, but happy with the money being spent on their stalls. Aside from spend spend spend, there wasn’t really much to do. We saw little evidence of art from across the decades, other than a strong presence from Peter Blake. We were amazed at the lack of protection for all the beautiful vintage cars stationed next to themed areas for each decade, scattered across the largely unpopulated site. Although there were rumours of workshops, without a £12 programme (touted as a must have “annual”) to tell us when and where, there didn’t seem to be much opportunity.

Vintage Goodwood craft

Like others we gawped at the crafters rather than join in and participate. “Ladies, wear your heels,” urged the flyer. But there wasn’t that much evidence of glamour as the small and bedraggled crowd waved their brollies in the air during the mid afternoon set at the 80s rave warehouse.

Vintage Goodwood 2010
The programme: £12 a pop.
Vintage Goodwood rave
The rave. Wet. Photograph by Tim Adey.
Vintage Goodwood empty
Vintage Goodwood 2010
Vintage Goodwood 2010
Vintage Goodwood 2010

I had hoped to visit The Chap Olympiad but every time we got close the heavens opened and we retreated. We tried to see comedian John Shuttleworth but the inflatable Leisure Dome was full to capacity and I was buggered if we were going to stand in a queue in the rain. How much electricity does it take to keep a blow up tent full of air? *ponders* Over on the main stage a respectable crowd gathered for The Noisettes, but seemed bemused by singer Shingai Shoniwa’s stage banter. And I wonder, how do The Noisettes fit into any kind of “vintage” mould?

Vintage Goodwood Noisettes
Shingai Shoniwa by Ana Gomez Hernandez.

Instead we headed back to the Leisure Dome after another tip off – this time to see the absolutely amazing Swingle Singers singing choreographed acapella and beat box versions of popular songs. An utterly astonishing discovery they alone made the trip down south worthwhile.

Vintage Goodwood Swingle Singers
Vintage Goodwood austin
Vintage Goodwood swingle
Vintage Goodwood Swingle singers
swingle singers by anna hancock young
Swingle Singers by Anna Hancock Young.

Afterwards we stayed onto watch 70 year old Tony Hatch, he of soap opera theme tune fame (don’t worry, I had no idea who he was either). A highlight of our short visit to VAG was surely the sight of Captain Sensible (of punk legends The Damned), listening to Tony Hatch and singers reprise the Neighbours theme tune. Does it get anymore surreal?

Vintage Goodwood Tony Hatch
Tony Hatch and friends.

Thanks to the power of twitter I was able to find out what VAG was like for myself, and in retrospect I am very glad that I didn’t get given free tickets by the organisers because I would have felt duty bound to be much nicer about the VAG experience if I had. I am sure that many people thoroughly enjoyed their trip to Vintage at Goodwood, but for me the idea of staying on for another day was utterly unappealing. Instead we left whilst the going was good, stayed over at a friend’s house and spent Sunday getting drunk with locals at a historic pub in nearby Petersfield.

Vintage Goodwood by Louise Sterling
Vintage Goodwood by Louise Sterling.

On my previous blog there have been a couple of comments stressing the need for big sponsors in order to make a return on investment on a festival such as VAG. This is absolutely not true unless you aspire to make a festival bigger than it wants to be. Most festivals start small and grow organically through the love and dedication of the people who take part. It’s not necessary to bring big brands in unless you’re aiming for a showy experience at the expense of any kind of soul.

Vintage Goodwood girls
Vintage Goodwood shop
Vintage Goodwood red
Vintage Goodwood 2010
Sponsored up to the hilt.

For real vintage lovers I suggest that next year, instead of going to Vintage at Goodwood you check out the numerous other boutique festivals dedicated to specific eras. Especially since I have a sneaking suspicion that many of the true vintage enthusiasts that made it to VAG will not be returning next year. And if you want pure unadulterated playful creative dressing up then I suggest you check out Secret Garden Party – and for real forward thinking cultural inspiration then try Latitude. A hyped-up vanity project does not a successful festival make.

Vintage Goodwood mobility


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45 Responses to “Vintage at Goodwood: Festival Review”

  1. lisa ansell says:

    I can’t help it, am juvenile- but ‘vag’??? LOL

  2. if crocs are future vintage I shall chop my feet off!

  3. Well said Amelia. Where also was much hyped Lily Allen presence (not that i missed her)?!LOVE your pic of the hatted ladies running through the rain.Agree totally re Secret Garden or for the ultimate creative/leave no trave experience Burning Man in Nevada. If you’re worried about carbon footprint then try Nowhere, BM’s European counterpart in Spain.

  4. Karina T says:

    For me, witnessing the Swingle Singers at first hand was a total revelation. Such amazing vocal virtuosity left me in tears during their version of Nick Drake’s River Man. Seeing the Swingles go mad for The Pretty Things doing SF Sorrow on Sunday evening was also just fabulous. As was Phil May – I think (singer of the Pretty Things) saying ‘Those Swingle Singers were fucking great!’
    There were some very real and genuine moments, of which this was one, and I’d say you just had to be lucky to find yourself in the right place at the right time.

  5. Faye West says:

    HA! I saw more ‘vintage’ at the blimmin Tank Festival this year where I took my Dad for Father’s Day! There were all these encampments of different eras and nationalities set up by the ‘enactors’, passionate women and men in full regalia who share their interest in social history in a way that is as educational as watching a live documentry. VAG sounds diluted, empty and CRAP!

  6. judith laundon says:

    Hi there
    We attended vintage at goodwood this weekend, We went for the 3 days and camped. Payed a lot of money, but thought it would be worth it. It promised much. Before we even got there we had trouble with getting the tickets, we got the wrong tickets then no tickets at all. Then found out if we had not been so eager we could have got discounted tickets from other sources. Wrote, telephoned and e mailed Goodwood and any body we could find but still they have not even had the decency to reply. We were promised as campers luxury toilets and showers, well these took an awful lot to be desired. It was almost impossible to have a shower, they were’nt even working on the friday and a waste of time the rest of the festival, not enough toilets that were blocked by Saturday anyway, (ladies)
    Had my hair and make-up done on Sunday only to find out by talking the girls that they had volunteered to do this job, They worked so hard over the 3 days, exploitation or what? being promised time off each day to see the festival, fat chance!
    The programme was £12, the website beforehand promised a programme for under a tenner its exact words
    all venues were so full not possible to get in them to see anyhing, no excuse, they knew how many tickets they had sold.
    Unless changes are made we shall not be attending another year, felt we wasted our money, could have spent our hard earned money better. Husband did’nt want to go anyway, i persuaded him and wish i had’nt bothered. very disppointing.

  7. [...] Shack Gypsy Caravan Here is my illustrations for Amelias Magazine again! This is inspired by a photo Amelia took at Vintage Goodwood festival of people camping in [...]

  8. Neil says:

    We must have gone to an entirely different event!

    I was there for two days and had a superb time, from Mick Hucknall to Mica Paris with Tony Christie and Glen Tillbrook in between. A fantastic few days and Goodwood is to be congratulated.

    Will definitely be there next year – great fun.

  9. The negative comments left so far I find incredible.Do these people go to many festivals? As a regular at festivals for 20 years Vintage is up there in the top 3. The production values were superb. From the moment we arrived at General Camping we were made to feel really welcome- given help by stewards with tents and the camping field was in a beautiful setting and spacious. The luxury of flushing toilets and hot showers was an added bonus. The event itself was incredible- so many great performances on well located stages with superb sound.The main shopping street and vintage stalls added a wonderful new dimension and made such a refreshing change to the usual festival stuff.At most festivals you pay £6 or more for a programme that disintegrates by day 3 so the idea of a hardback annual was inspired and beautifully put together- well worth the extra money!This was a festival with a wonderful sense of humour aswell which was reflected by the people that attended creating a very warm and friendly vibe.The age range was brilliant- i saw pensioners grooving to A Guy Called Gerald and youngsters dancing to the Miller Orchestra. Well done Vintage- we will definately be back

  10. Gerry King says:

    What a splendid event – absolutely terrific! So many period characters from the Goodwood Poodle Faker to Valentine Dial “The Man in Black”. The music and spectacle a thoroughly world class event.

  11. Retro Chick says:

    I have to say that I had an excellent time. I was so apprehensive because I’d heard bad things in advance and I was petrified of a rainy mud bath. But I REALLY enjoyed myself and only wish I could have stayed longer.

    My last festival experience was Glastonbury 1997 (I’d been to others before hand!) where I ended up ill and caked in mud, there were no showers or proper toilet facilities, I swore never to go back to a festival as paying £150 to sleep in a field with no facilities was insane.

    As far as I’m aware VaG never claimed it was going to be an eco festival, it had some eco aspects to it as part of the whole recycling aspect of vintage and the fact that it’s a large part of life these days. What it DID promise was glamour and decent facilities, which is exactly what I got, and for the same amount of money as other festivals as far as I can see?

    I was a little bemused by the presence of Primark on the High Street, and I sneered at Crocs in the Future Vintage exhibition, till my husband pointed out they will be the shell suits of the future! I think it wasn’t necessarily about “desirable” vintage but those pieces that will become iconic representations of our time.

    Anyway, your preview was interesting, and I am disturbed to hear that volunteers were treated badly (though I have no problem with the concept of them volunteering, that’s pretty common at festivals, surely!)I am hoping that in future the organiser will take that criticism on board and pull their heads out of their bottoms about the way they treat people.

    However, and not to be rude, I feel that you turned up at Vintage expecting it to be awful and therefore that’s what you found. It certainly wasn’t perfect, but it was what I was expecting, which was a big spectacle with lots to see and do.

    I’ve written a short 500 word review for Queens of Vintage (there’s one on my blog too, but it’s more a personal account)I tried to be balanced and talk about the good and the bad points. If anyone’s interested in reading it, then it’s here

  12. Katherine says:

    Great pictures ! Well described. I was shocked to see a John Lewis and Primark as we arrived.

    Even more shocked to NOT see ANY recycling bins ? That is just plain WRONG !

    I would have liked to see the Design Museum there with a stand, even Dyson with a trip down memory lane or something. Or V&A.Or even Unilever.

    We were bored most of the Sunday and didn’t feel very entertained. We felt a bit lost and wondered from one place to another.

    We most enjoyed the open air service bizarly enough and the Damned at the end of the day, but wish I could have seen Heaven 17 who were playing at the same time. SHAME.

    Not going back and would recommend Secret Garden Party for next year.


  13. Jemima Broadbridge says:

    Amelia, as ever your blog is insightful, pithy and cuts near the bone – too near possibly for some of the people who attended Vintage at Goodwood, I fear , with a ‘Daily Mail’ perspex-tinted, idealised view of what ‘vintage’ really is or should be.

    Vintage at Goodwood is to lovers of true vintage a bit like what the Millennium Dome in Greenwich was to London – the Emperor’s New Clothes. As with the Dome the organisers PR-puffed their way through months of New Labour spin before opening it to the public without really thinking about what should go inside the Dome, with the result that the contents ended up looking like an afterthought, a hotch-potch of jumbled, soulless, assorted features that didn’t really work together.

    Having worked in PR myself for ten years, I recognise the signs, when excessive spin is being pushed to the point where the signs of strain appear and the seams are stretched. The dangers of too much hype is that an event is almost certainly bound to fail expectations as a result. Yet many of us still flocked along to VAG like willing sheep, half-hoping that our Utopian vision of a vintage world in the woods would be satisfied. Of course, it would remain just that, a Utopian vision.

    Yes, there were high points – namely the musical programming and in particular curating of the Leisure Dome by Mike Flowers. Well done Mike!

    For me, the best bits were hanging out with my friends from the Mike Flowers Pops in the Leisure Dome, listening to the amazing Swingle Sisters and Tony Hatch’s orchestra with guests while standing next to one of my heroes, Captain Sensible. And friends who were traders said they were blown away by pop artist Peter Blake attending their stall, that they made enough money to make the weekend worthwhile and that they had an amazing time slam-dancing and moshing along in the pit to The Damned on Sunday night (they still have the bruises).

    I am not disputing the musical content, most of which was thoughtfully curated and great. It was more that the rest of the festival didn’t really make sense as a concept.

    The one overriding sense I left VAG with was that it was a pastiche and certainly nothing like the ‘Festival of Britain’ – whose spirit it claimed to be invoking.

    The Festival of Britain was about showcasing the best of British scientific invention, design and technological creation – none of which did we see at VAG – unless you discounted the gorgeous vintage cars on display and the opulent £12000 watches for sale.

    It amazed me that so little thought had gone into the food and catering. People cannot live on cheese toasties alone y’know. And I’m sure that even in ‘vintage-land’ people didn’t just live on sandwiches either. If this festival was apeing the Festival of Britain then why didn’t it have any local British produce on display or for sale? And where were the lashings of organic ginger beer we heard about in Enid Blyton? They surely missed a trick there.

    Wayne Hemingway, if you’re listening, vintage is not about spending oodles of cash necessarily, it is more about finding a true bargain…and as a punter you’d be hard-pushed to get one at VAG, if you took into account the high entrance price, the exorbitant £12 hardback annual programme and the hidden extras you had to pay for shows on site. One gripe many people had was that they were charged extra to see some of the shows. To get in to see Kitten von Mew’s burlesque show people were being charged an extra £35 a head at the Torch Club. Outrageous! When did you ever hear of being charged extra to see a certain band on a stage at Glastonbury? It seems that in his rush to make a profit Mr. Hemingway put the proverbial cart before the horse.

    A few years ago I helped BBC London radio presenter Robert Elms put together a Listed Londoner interview for BBC1. Wayne Hemingway was one of the people we chose to interview about his favourite bit of London. He took us up the Wembley Canal and round the Indian market on the broadway there, telling us that this rundown but multi-ethnic place was his favourite bit of London. Well, if that’s the case, then he seems to have forgotten his origins…Vintage Goodwood with that hideous fake high street, resembling the New Economic Foundation’s Clone Town Britain report (in which NEF warns about every UK high street starting to look the same) was a fake showcase of mundaneity to appease the sponsors. To anyone who has watched the Wizard of Oz, this was a pre-fab cardboard Emerald City. I half expected to see a Tesco’s there, or maybe a Barclays cashpoint. It looked a bit like any old town centre and could have been Basingstoke or Milton Keynes. And was this what I came all the way from London for? No, No and thrice no!

    I grew up in nearby Hampshire for 20 yrs and during my childhood I visited places like the Watercress Line near Winchester many times which has more true vintage enthusiasts per sq foot than Vintage Goodwood could hope to sport in ten years. The old men running the steam railway are also mainly retired volunteers, who love their work with a passion and don’t consider it to be work. They are also suited and booted, kitted out with authentic uniforms and they know their stuff and are happy to talk to you at length. I know that the world of vintage cars and car racing is just like that, having been to Silverstone race track with family friends who are collectors, engineers and who race their own cars there. You’ve never seen such a bunch of eccentric, English characters as you get at a vintage car rally. But sadly, none of these people appeared to be present at Vintage Goodwood, although the cars were there. It would have been great to have been able to talk to some vintage car enthusiasts about their vehicles. But maybe they too saw what the festival was about, delivered their vehicles to the site, and promptly ran for cover?

    There was something a bit odd about the crowd of punters at Vintage Goodwood. Apart from the traders, who were evidently keen and experienced vintage experts, many of the people who attended VAG seemed to be in fancy dress rather than real vintage clothing. It’s true I’ve also seen much better dressing at Bestival and Secret Garden Party. Wayne Hemingway wanted this event to ‘inject glamour’ into festival going in Britain…however, it seemed as though the majority of people had turned up in jeans or shorts and t-shirts, clearly not bothered about making an effort – leaving the rest of us who had, feeling vaguely embarrassed.

    Arguably you would also see more of a social spread and a more fascinating bunch of people at a horse-racing meet at Goodwood’s fine racetrack, or at Cowdray Park to watch the Polo near Petworth.

    Can I suggest to people that – unless you are going just for the music – that instead of going to VAG next year and getting ripped off, they visit the nearby vintage and charity shops in Petworth and the Rogate car boot sale which is renowned for being a great place to find vintage treasure? It was on last Saturday, but I’m sure that no one at Vintage Goodwood knew about it.

    My friend who is a costume designer found an amazing Welsh wool cape and matching skirt in a charity shop in Petworth on the way to the festival for a mere £30 – probably less than you’d pay for it on Ebay.

    This is where the true meaning of vintage lies and will always lie for me, in scrabbling around in old shops and houses in places like Southsea, where you would go through the contents of some one’s front room to find a treasure or two or at the Salvation Army jumble sale in Petersfield where back in the eighties I found some antique leather belts with amazing buckles that I still wear today.

    Vintage is not about spending hundreds of pounds to spend a themed pseudo-weekend in the country, based on an ‘idea’ of vintage rather than a reality.

  14. Al Bayne says:

    Visiting for the sunday only I and lady friend really enjoyed the whole show. The weather was kind and the various staff and visitors that we encountered were all warm and friendly from car park to coffee bar.
    Parties of friends, families and fashionistas all seemed to be having a fun time.
    The commerciality of such events is a given that I acknowledge, but nevertheless seems to sit a little uneasily in the Surrey/Sussex Downs.
    That said the whole point for me was the music lineups.
    The fabulous Kid Creole and the Coconuts were a knockout and the extraordinary happy infectious energy of Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band left us thrilled and thirsty for more.
    We shall definitely return if repeated.

  15. Ian Pearce says:

    Dear Amelia

    I could not agree with you more, I had exactly the same experience and came away a tad sad and totally bemused.

    To add to your list of fab events try the small but perfectly formed Petworth House Textiles Fair in West Sussex – lots of REAL vintage mixed with ethnic and contemporary.

    better still come along as my guest!

  16. vintagehelen says:

    I couldn’t go … but…. please, please, please tell me you were not serious about the Primark / Sunday Times hair thing?? Anyone reading this might be interested in Rhythm Riot at Camber Sands in November – very high benchmark indeed (so I found)

  17. clockwork danny says:

    Tuesday eve and just recovered after a totally amazing 4nights and days at goodwood. I feel that I must state that apart from a few teething problems that I think that the whole event was very well and was extremely well orchestrated.The only things that I feel could be improved are listed below.

    More ladies loo’s (a must for next year on campsite and in the arena).
    More hot showers on the campsite.
    More transport to assist with taking camping equipment to your camping area or to allow vehicle access to drop off closer to area.


    Yours clockwork danny

  18. Lady Cherie says:

    Thanks to all who have put their comments here. I didn’t go but was thinking about it for next year. I think your comments have decided me!

  19. Freddie says:

    Boo you! Give it a chance, it almost seems as though you’re blaming them for the bad weather too! Goodwood was GREAT. Puh!

  20. Meryl says:

    Yet another eco rant from Amelia then. It’s Vintage at Goodwood my dear, not a ‘save the world’ campaign. To make comparisons against Bestival and Latitude is somewhat irrelevant. Please keep the mind a little more open in future.

  21. siouxsie says:

    Your blog, and some of the following comments, are exactly why I was unsure about attending. You seem to think that some people werent ‘cool’ enough to attend Vintage and that their ‘fancy dress’ type costumes were embarrasing. What you seem to forget is the majority of people who attended went because they were teenagers through those eras (unlike you I suspect)and so loved the music and the fashion. We may not have been able to source the original garments, although if I’d kept mine and my mums I could have made a fortune, but we were truly there because we loved the era, not just so we could ‘pose’. My teenage years were the 70s and pogoing to the Rezillos as I did when I was 15 was the highlight of my weekend. I’m sorry I wasnt able to wear my old punk gear, but any true punk knows that the spirit never leaves you – only the plastic punks think that looks are important.
    I’d say if you love the music and fashion of the various eras represented then go and have fun as we all did. If you think your too good for it, stop looking down your nose at everyone enjoying themselves and stay away next year. and yes the camping was rough was but you should have been to festivals in the 70s! toilets?!!

  22. Danielle O'Shea says:

    My God… Stop moaning.

    Was it not just bloody good FUN?!

  23. Laura says:

    I just want to add my bit about the ‘glampers’. Everyone seemed to assume that the people in the woodland glamping area were having a rip-roaring time in their own little private area having paid £500 for a wooden kennel in mud. My podpad was bought for me as a very expensive gift for my 30th birthday. I’m not one of the rich, “how many stately homes do you have?” crowd doing their version of slumming it, and to be fair none of the other people in there were either. So if you think that Goodwood were catering for the glampers and making them a priority, you are very very wrong! We were all mis-sold the package online and trading standards will be getting many phone calls over the next few weeks from people having paid a premium for things they didn’t even receive. The damp humidity in those woods made me ill, the woodchips were only put in the main arena, the glampers had ankle deep mud, noisy generators powering the floodlights which were meant to be ‘festoon lighting’, a paid for breakfast that never arrived and not allowed to use bbq’s like had been advertised online. There were 5 uncleaned unisex showers for 600 glampers and only 6 toilets for each gender. You think this was worth £500?? Goodwood couldn’t give a sh*t and were completely unavailable to assist. Myself and my partner, along with several other families and couples left on the Saturday morning because it was so disappointing and unbearable.

    The last straw were the field campers chanting outside the gates “We hate Glampers”. Thanks guys, please get the facts straight before you mouth off about the fact that you were jealous of our 5 poxy stinking showers. You were totally welcome to them!!

  24. someone just showed me this ,hilarious ,do you want to come and work for us ,your funny ,I assume its ok to link your review to our Facebook page sure they will all agree with your insightful and really really intelligent comments ,your destined for big things …a true journalistic star in the making ..I salute you

  25. Nigel Barker says:

    Here is my letter that is going to the Goodwood marketing dept……

    Vintage at Goodwood —- GLAMPING

    Definition of Glamping : a luxury form of camping which includes expensive equipment, high-class facilities, luxury food and drink, etc


    I thought you would like some feedback with regard to our experience of the Vintage Festival held over the weekend.

    We took four children and rented a 6 man Indian reservation Tipi for £1,200.

    We were looking forward to the “luxurious tipi’s nestled in festoon lit trees and around campfires.”

    Indeed, the imagination was further sparkled knowing we would have a “VIP camping assistant, roomy and comfortable accommodation with fully inflated airbeds, posh loos and showers and a bacon butty and cuppa delivered each morning”……….bring it on!!

    “ We have pitched several luxurious tipis and a sprinkling of little yurts in this Indian Reservation style camp, sitting between the festoon-lit trees and round our (very safe) campfires. It goes with out saying that we also have proper showers and loos at your disposal in order to ensure that only glam campers emerge from the glam camping “

    Nothing could have been further from the truth……suffice to say it was a disaster, the GLAMPING was GLAMBOLIC.

    A total and utter waste of money…. 1200 pounds worth of waste!

    The reality…..

    We arrived early Thursday afternoon and had to park some 8oo+ yards away from the tipi’s. Thus, the whole paraphernalia associated with camping had to be carted down to the awaiting tipi. With 4 kids of 12 and under, it wasn’t a pleasant experience.

    It wasn’t as if the field was level, so we had to traipse up and down car to tipi a number of times….not a good start.

    We were located at the bottom of the sloping field, separated from the main campers by wire fencing, as you may find on a building site.

    In fact, the idyllic website picture of the “reservation” was rather like one of those pictures you see of hamburgers and sandwiches etc, and when you receive the order, the reality is far from it.

    The luxurious tipi has 3 under inflated air mattresses in it….(which, even after requesting further air from our “VIP assistant”, remained ignored).

    Anyhow, we got on with it and “moved in”.

    The tipi let in lots of draughts as the canvas didn’t meet the ground sheet and the door flap constantly blew open through the night. As a result, each night we were cold and, as we were on a slope, constantly sliding off our beds.

    The tipi let in the rain through the roof opening soaking our beds. We did receive attention for this and polite attention may I say…..they advised that this was to be expected and one needs to know which way the rain is falling to be able to set the “roof water catcher” correctly! We were then given tarpaulin to protect our things from any more rain.
    There were no campfires of any type in existence.

    In the morning, the queue for the showers was around 8-10 people long.

    The showers did have hot and cold running water. Sometimes they ran hot….sometimes they ran cold…and sometimes they didn’t run at all! The drainage wasn’t effective, thus, you showered with feet in the dirty water of the foot tray, from you and others. They were very poorly maintained over the weekend.

    The toilets were too few and far from posh. More toilets did appear on Sunday morning. If I were to rate the posh loos and showers per a standard campsite, I would rate a 1star….we bought into 5 or even 6 star facilities and were let down badly.

    There were no changing rooms for those wanting to “vintage up” for the occasion……agreed, this wasn’t promised, though the real campers (on the other side of the fence) had quite a number of specific ”dressing room” cubicles with mirrors, hairdryer points and shelves. In our posh loos there were a total of two mirrors above the sinks in which all the women were trying to wash, do their make-up, and hair, though it was not possible to wash your hair as there were no facilities to dry it.

    The bacon butties and tea didn’t arrive on Friday morning at all…even after ordering ours at the reception area, they were seemingly given to others. The situation improved on Saturday morning when a catering truck was sent down….the Saturday queue was around a 25 minute wait.

    Transport to the “Festival entrance” was non existent. Thus, we had to walk further than any others to get to the main entrance.
    There was a reception area within the “Glamping” area. I needed to charge my phone as we needed to keep in contact with the kids during the day, amongst other things. I asked reception if I could charge it with them. The reply was…if you are in the tipi’s they are not our responsibility and we are not your reception, and therefore, no we cannot charge it…you need to ask at the Tangerine tent, a different company who erected the tipi’s.

    Off I went in search of the Tangerine tent & power.

    My request at the Tangerine tent was met by “we don’t charge phones”…which then moved on to…”Well, we could charge it, but we would have to charge you!”
    “How much”, I enquired……”How long do you want it charged for”, came the reply…..”Five minutes?” I replied…..
    ”How about £2?”, was the response….!!!!

    The conversation moved on as you may imagine, and another of the Tangerine workers then concluded, his boss wouldn’t allow it as phones could be stolen….and that “many promises had been made by Goodwood that couldn’t be kept and we are just here to put up tents”………thanks for that then!

    The two tipi’s next to us were occupied by teenagers and whilst we have all been there, it wasn’t a pleasant place to be at 2.30am or so, at a cost of £1,200!

    We left on Sunday, rather than the planned Monday, as the Glamping was so disappointing.

    On a positive note, we managed to get assistance, from a girl on a buggy, to move all our gear back to the car. Many others were not as fortunate!

    So, what is our conclusion….?

    We bought into a glamorous camping experience at a glamorous price, and received little in return.

    We would have been much better off paying camping fees and erecting our tents in the standard area…cost for the weekend…£30 or so.

    I can only conclude that we have been severely ripped off.

    We bought into something that wasn’t delivered, big time.

    If it had been a shop, I would have returned the goods and received back my money…faulty goods, not fit for purpose.

    We are all massively disappointed with the experience and would appreciate your comments. I am happy to discuss the matter on a face to face basis with anyone in a position of serious responsibility, as we have paid for something we didn’t receive.

    I think I saw more complaining people over the weekend in that Glamping area than I have ever seen before in such a confined space, so I am sure you are well aware of the serious deficiencies.

    On a final note, once in the Festival area, we enjoyed it and thought for the first one, it was done pretty well.

  26. judith laundon says:

    Hi everyone
    In reply to my last blog, I am not apologising for my negative views on VAG but fel it has a long way to go before it lives upto expectations.
    I have not been to any festivals before, maybe we are a bit old? But this we felt would be ok with music from all ages and there was some very good music. But venues were not half big enough and mostly you were standing outside the tents unless you got there very early, and that was not always possible as you were elsewhere beforehand.
    The torch club we thought was fantastic. But did not find out until the sunday that it was free to go in just for a drink at the bar. Previously we were lead to believe we had to have a £30. meal to go in. So wew saw the burlesque show and the swing commanders, absolutly fantastic but dare not leave the tent as the queue outside was only let in as people came out.
    Other music venues were disppointing.
    Felt drinks and food was expensive.
    As i said before, probably good for the day but will not be camping again. The event was not classy enough to be vintage. And i am vintage 1940′s/50′s fan. everyday.
    The hype was perhaps just too much to deliver on.
    Thanks for listening

  27. judith laundon says:

    Hi everyone
    In reply to my last blog, I am not apologising for my negative views on VAG but felt it has a long way to go before it lives upto expectations.
    I have not been to any festivals before, maybe we are a bit old? But this we felt would be ok with music from all ages and there was some very good music. But venues were not half big enough and mostly you were standing outside the tents unless you got there very early, and that was not always possible as you were elsewhere beforehand.
    The torch club we thought was fantastic. But did not find out until the sunday that it was free to go in just for a drink at the bar. Previously we were lead to believe we had to have a £30. meal to go in. So wew saw the burlesque show and the swing commanders, absolutly fantastic but dare not leave the tent as the queue outside was only let in as people came out.
    Other music venues were disppointing.
    Felt drinks and food was expensive.
    As i said before, probably good for the day but will not be camping again. The event was not classy enough to be vintage. And i am vintage 1940′s/50′s fan. everyday.
    The hype was perhaps just too much to deliver on.
    Thanks for listening

  28. Carey Johnstone says:


    I didn’t go I would say that this festival reeked of style over substance…

    But PRIMARK!!! and plastic wristbands? Clearly it lost out on both counts.

    The fashion for festivals right now is grass roots, eco-aware, fantastically embellished and creative… Festivals work when they grow from an idea and a group of friends, not from the Freud PR group and advertisements on the Tube.

    It sounds bloody awful.

  29. bruce cockburn says:

    I cannot believe you had such a bad time – i actually had a bad time trying to fit in all the amazing things on offer. I found it hilarious – and grumbling about it raining for the chap olympics? – wayne hemingway is not god and cannot control the weather. There are far too many highlights to go into and when a band was on there was always the raucous festival pub to lose control in!
    Brilliant brilliant weekend – i can’t stop telling everyone about it

  30. chris griffin says:

    Really can’t believe the negative comments.Everyone i’ve seen and spoke to had a fantastic time,many saying it was the best festival they have attended.Congratulations to the organizers.Amelia I think maybe the starch from your vintage clothes has affected you,so you did’nt get a free ticket…get over it!

  31. Leila Cruickshank says:

    I didn’t particularly mind the camping, I had forgotten the hype on the website about camping in glades in woodland (though now you mention it, I read that too, why bother making such a claim at all?), and I wasn’t expecting brilliant toilets (despite the website making reference to having put special effort into the loos). However, the one thing that was confidently stated on the website that I did remember was that the site being based on a chalk soil meant there would have to be a flood to make it muddy! Of all the ridiculous claims they made, that was one of the most stupid. It was not more muddy than any other festival, but it was the first festival I’ve been to where they pretended it couldn’t get muddy! Luckily, I took boots anyway, mostly because it is automatic when going to a festival. As I watched people picking their way through the bogs with high heels on, I wondered if they had read that part of the website too.

  32. Donna Flower says:

    Gosh, I think we must have been at very different events or maybe we just had very different frame of minds. I had SUCH a good time. Stayed from Friday to Monday (wearing my wristband the whole time, not a mark) and cannot wait for next year. So glad that you and the other naysayers will be staying away.

  33. john says:

    Good event will go again.

  34. Anna says:

    This is a message to Wayne Hemingway. Wayne, a friend told me he had heard you say on the radio that you might not put this festival on again next year. I’ll be so disappointed if you don’t. I went on my own for just the Sunday when the sun came out and I absolutely loved it. It was very friendly with a lovely atmosphere, great sounds and fashions and the dancing in the Torch tent has inspired me to take up swing dance myself. I’ve got friends who want to come already lined up for next year and this time I will go for all three days. So nice to see so many older folk enjoying themselves as well as the young ones who are already so well catered for.

  35. The Style PA says:

    I went, I liked it and thought there was a really good atmosphere. I don’t think it’s fair to criticise people’s efforts to get dressed up and enjoy the event. Yes it’s commercial, most big events are – but vintage fashion and entertainment should be able to be enjoyed by anyone who wants to, the rich, the frugal, the eco-concious and the more mainstream.

  36. james says:

    Do you get paid to be a complete pretentious div. I think probably. Great festival and get over yourself. Hope you’re not there next year.

  37. james says:

    I cannot believe some of the negative comments on this page. Yeah sure the glamping needs adressing and other minor teething issues, but seriously, moaning about the weather?? My Vintage experience was awesome, and i think some people are struggling to grasp the concept of ‘Festival’. Did the wristband really ‘cut your friends arm to shreds’? I seriously doubt it.
    It sounds like some of the whingers on here were to busy slagging off peoples clothes and walking round with their noses in the air, instead of gettin down to some Northern Soul in the Soul casino or sampling lunch and Swing bands in the Torch club!
    You need to really see Vintage for what it was not what YOU think it should be. It was the first year and i am already excited about next year, and i sincerley hope i do not encounter any of the snobbery and pretentious attitudes i have seen on here.
    Wayne, you’re a top man and may Vintage go from strength to strength. BTW nice tunes in the casino fella, i forgive you for playing the b side:)

  38. Kevin the dancer... says:

    Hi everyone on Amelia’s ‘Review’- not sure if you have read any of the comments on the ‘Preview’ section, we seem to be a tad muddled, would be a good idea if both are merged as the comments, contents etc are all about the same event and all are relevant.
    I have copied my comments below just so that the media team advising Lord M and Mr H mbe can be sure to read them twice. They should certainly stop trying to spin against the comments on the blogs and leave the electronic information management to the team at GCHQ who do a better job and leave no tail.

    Repeated Note (below)
    Was this the best event I have ever been to – No
    Were a lot of people disappointed – Yes
    Did it try too hard for a first attempt – Yes
    Did it over promise & under deliver in many areas – Yes
    Did a lot of people still have a good time – Yes (including myself & despite my criticism of some parts)
    In simple terms our expectations were probably to high for a new event when it was operated in the shadow of the Goodwood Revival which is simply in a different class for the same cost.
    There are many other vintage events which deliver a lot of value for money such as :
    Twinwoods Festival
    Goodwood Revival
    Senegalia (Italy)
    You also have some very good regular music focused events such as :
    Black Cotton Club
    Rivoli Ballroom (this Saturday!!!)
    The Blitz Party
    and I have missed out hundreds of other events up & down the UK & in Europe / US. Perhaps VAG just tried to hard to compete against other events that do not have to try hard because they have already found their niche and rhythm.
    Hopefully the VAG team will learn their lessons and correct the many extreme weaknesses and improve on those parts that really were very good.
    I will give the event another try next year, hoping that the team under Lord M are intelligent enough to make the changes. I am sure this event did not make money and am also sure it will not make money next year if the changes required to make it worthwhile for the majority are included.
    It would also help if Lord M and Mr H mbe would not make statements in the FT that the Sussex downs will not get muddy like other festivals. I know there is only 2 inches of topsoil up where the sheep live but it got very sticky very quickly on Friday night.
    I have asked Lord M (through your blog) to include Torch / Let it Rock at the Revival, perhaps the whole of VAG should also come off the Downs and be run from the Westhampnett motor racetrack. You get good security. better permanent facilities, a great location (which is flat) a nice tarmac racetrack along which you could arrange all the buildings & marquees (so no mud for the shoppers to navigate ergo happy shoppers spending more money) and then use the hangars for a really kick arse hangar dance with big band from a real Battle of Britain fighter base (ask Douglas Baders ghost)…it doesn’t take much effort to make VAG a seriously successful event & then it will be worth the same entrance fee as the Revival

  39. Lou Johnson says:

    Just thought I’d throw in my own experience of the VAG. Myself and my friend were volunteers as dressers for the catwalk shows – we turned up late Thursday night (due to getting amazingly lost) and were supposed to be able to collect our wristbands that night. Unfortunately everything was so disorganised that we couldn’t get them until the next day, when it actually came to collecting them (which took so LONG, something to do with the ticket booths not having electricity or something? that was after being sent to four different places to get them and being told at each one that we were at the wrong place.) we told them the above story, I had emails between myself and the organiser of the dressers as proof but we didn’t need it, just told them we were supposed to be given wristbands and they handed them over. The people in the ticket booths were either very trusting or didn’t really know what they were doing, because we witnessed three other people getting their wristbands just as easily.

    I did really enjoy the festival, mostly due to the people I went with, but it seemed very disorganised and messy throughout. The one thing that really struck me was the recycling facilities – Secret Garden Party which I attended a few weeks before had numerous recycling bins all over the place, Vintage at Goodwood had none.

    I won’t go into the treatment my friend and I were given, as dressers we expected to be ‘invisible’, and it meant that when people DID go out of their way to thank or even acknowledge us it was all the more pleasing!

    I was slightly disappointed with the camping, we were just in a field which wasn’t how the website made it sound, our ‘free meal tickets for the weekend’ ended up being two evening meal tickets each to cover the three days, the toilets were much, much better than any festival toilets I’ve ever experienced but the showers were a bit of a failure. I knew some people who paid the crazy prices for the ‘glamping’, they were so disappointed they left on Saturday night.

    We weren’t given much free time during the day even though nothing was happening backstage – there were many, many hours of just sitting around, which was a little annoying because we could have been exploring the festival – as a result we didn’t see a whole lot during the daytime, but any disappointments were completely made up for by the music in the evenings. The Wailers and Earth, Wind and Fire were especially amazing.

    I’m just hoping that next year the organisers will have learnt from their mistakes, because I’m definately planning on going again.


    P.S No one had to pay to get into the catwalk shows, there was just limited seating, so people had to queue for tickets half an hour before each show to get in.

  40. I write this in response to ‘Wayne Fontaynes’ – sorry Mr Hemingway’s sarcastic response to the original blog.

    Michèle and I are in total agreement with Amelia’s views and those of many other people who are truly on the vintage scene. We always suspected that VAG (such a nice name) was all about getting on the bandwagon to make money off other people. What the high street and media think vintage is, or. . . vintage for squares and the prawn sandwich brigade in their fancy dress outfits.

    There are several reasons why vintage is popular, but one of the main reasons is because of the revolt against expensively sold cheaply made crap produced by exploited slave trade in the far east for fat cats in the west. VAG has just succeeded in making a mockery about those who truly wear vintage. That is to say those who wear vintage day in and day out, not just for a glorified over priced fancy dress picnic.

    We understand that the volunteers from real vintage circles were treated like dirt, promised many things and received nothing, and the hosts that were used for each of the areas were not even people currently on the vintage scene anyhow. Does anyone know for example when ‘Snowboy’ was even last seen at a 1940′s 50′s club or weekender?

    From the many images seen of the so called ‘high Street’ at VAG, it looked more like a low budget spaghetti western set. Young wayne should have experienced real events like Twinwood, War & Peace, Ramsey Rhythm Riot and the like, reenactment events and the many true vintage fashion fairs like Clerkenwell and the Essex Vintage Fashion fair ( next event Sunday 5th September) before putting this shambolic pastishe together.

    Of course there are those who absolutely liked what was on offer, but judging by comments on this blog, these are obviously people who attend things like the V festival and think anything ten years old is vintage.

    BTW Wayne, what has Dyson and Primark got to do with Vintage?

    Unfortunately VAG shows that vintage is also becoming too commercial.

  41. Helen says:

    I was dubious about the festival and reading the mixed reviews I think that VAG is very confusing. People who went for the music had a great time – lots of decent acts (Wanda Jackson AND Geno Washington! That’s quite impressive) and then there were some themed areas to check out when not watching bands.

    But for the people who define themselves as vintage enthusiasts, it sounds to me like the shopping area and the attractions weren’t adequate.

    I think this has a lot to do with the confusion about what ‘vintage’ actually means, and that if you call your festival ‘Vintage’ then, whilst you might think you’re tapping into the latest craze, you’re not really appreciating the diversity of it – not just in terms of period but in what vintage means.

    For some, vintage means going to charity shops, buying second hand bargains because they’re sick of mass-produced 3rd world products that fall apart within seconds (cough Primark cough – can’t see anything from there lasting long enough to be called vintage in the future!). It’s the eco approach, and it was never going to be satisfied by an event with huge corporate sponsorship.

    For other people (and of course this can overlap with the charity shoppers) it’s a way of life. Something they do everyday.

    For still others (and again, this does overlap), it’s about a particular youth subculture. As someone rightly pointed out in a comment on another blog, the bands were aimed at specific youth subcultures – so you’ve got the Polecats for the rockabillies, The Damned for the punks, etc. It’s either a youth culture you grew up with, or it’s a youth culture you identify with and, in effect, re-enact.

    Or for others still, you don’t ‘dress vintage’ every day, but you happen to enjoy some old stuff – some old bands, some old looking clothes, yeah, ok, sounds alright. Got a suitably retro-looking outfit from a fancy dress shop? Hell yes, and they’re ready to party!

    Whilst it sounds like a good idea to combine all these ‘vintage’ approaches, after all, they do overlap a bit, it hasn’t worked because, I would say, that in trying to be all things to all men it’s managed to be fabulous for some people and dire for others.

    I think that next year, the people who want to see some excellent acts with some sideshow attractions, and who aren’t bothered about roughing it on a campsite and using babywipes instead of showers, will return, and other people like them, who didn’t go this year, will want to go as well.

    And they will take the place of those people who were expecting ‘Vintage’ to live up to their expectations and to their understanding of what ‘vintage’ means.

    I think this will be the case – undeniably, some people enjoyed themselves, but also, some people didn’t AT ALL. It’s just a shame that the people who didn’t enjoy it have got people commenting on their blog telling them how worthless their opinion is. Do people go onto positive reviews of it and tell them how wrong they are because they had a crap time? Nope. The amount of bile which, in some cases, is being levelled at people who didn’t enjoy it is woefully unpleasant, and if that really is Wayne Hemingway up there, wow… you’re an asshat of the first order, sir.

  42. [...] Magazine has had some great posts recently, not least the preview and review of Vintage at Goodwood. I always recommend this blog, but that’s because it’s [...]

  43. Ben says:

    How DID you manage to get under that entrance arch??

  44. Amelia says:

    I have a lot of friends…

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