Thursday, August 19, 2010

Vintage at Goodwood: Critical Review

Having read others' reviews (both positive and negative) of the Vintage weekender, I feel compelled to add my tuppence ha'penn'orth to the mix.

But for the weather, which was typically British and not ideal, overall I really did have a smashing weekend. There was vintage atmosphere, there was cake, there was shopping and there was music. I loved the whole "fashion & music by decade" concept. Because of this, and my relentless positivity about all things vintage - I've avoided saying anything negative about the weekend. This was of course the very first Vintage festival, and I truly hope that, as planned, it becomes an annual event. And of course being the first festival of its kind, there were bound to be teething problems, to be learned from. So in the interests of objectivity - and hopefully to help the event run even better next year - I do have one or two points worth bringing up.

My main concern is that for me it was hard to get my money's worth for a £135 weekend ticket. This is not because there wasn't enough stuff going on, but because:

1) The much-vaunted workshops - which I was very much looking forward to - were tiny and hard to find (okay they were on the high street, but there wasn't enough information on the website about where they would be), and I never did find out how to sign up for them. There were also no prices given on the website, which is important information, so it was really annoying that it wasn't provided. In fact the website really ought to have made clear exactly what was included free with the entry ticket and the prices of what wasn't.

2) There were massive queues for anything indoors, including the cinema and the fashion shows, which were held in a ridiculously small venue considering the weekend's attendance. I didn't get to any.

3) It was not made clear that queues for the Torch Club - which were insane - were only actually for a table, and that you could freely walk in to watch the shows. This led to a number of people being disappointed - I only figured it out on the last day, having been put off by the constant queues.

4) Many of the attractions incurred an extra fee. The roller disco was £2.50 an hour (which isn't dear, but we had already paid a hefty entrance ticket). The fairground rides were £2 a pop. Could we not at least have had tokens for one or two free rides included in our £135 ticket?

It was an amazing weekend. For me it was a wonderful opportunity to be able to live vintage in a total immersion way that I don't get the chance to normally (though as I've mentioned, that is to change), and it provided the most fabulous people-watching fun. But I did end up slightly disappointed that I wasn't able to experience some of the amazing things the website and publicity had promised. It's not all the fault of the organisers, I do have to take some responsibility, but it could have been made easier for me - and for others - to get the most out of the weekend.


  1. Interesting reviews coming back from this. I have to say I DO think it is the fault of the organisers if people can't find directions, and insufficient space was provided for any of the popular attractions. Surely they could have set up a large main stage for the fashion shows so lots of people could see them? And to charge so much for a ticket and then keep on charging people when they get in is not on. Anyway, glad you had a great time and thanks for giving a review!

  2. Good review, but with so much going on there were always going to be some logistical problems - I had made my own 'timetable' from the website so roughly knew which stage to be at what time and I booked my Clothkits quilting workshop (sunday pm - £5 donation to Oxfam) on the Friday morning just so I didn't forget it later on & then went straight to the Art School for the free applique w/shop on the Sat. am (the chalk boards with workshop times backed up what I'd got off the web). But I managed to miss all the cooking sessions as they weren't posted on the web beforehand & the talks in the green marquee at end of the High Street. The midnight film wasn't a problem to get in to see but the Torch Club/ Warehouse etc meant it was difficult to follow the dialogue. But can't wait to do it all again next year.

  3. Ouch. Looking through that Amelia's Magazine review and the VAG (HORRID acronym by the way) that you showed, and what she shows, are two completely different things. In MY mind, a vintage festival is a rockabilly festival as "rockabillies" are the most mainstream subculture to influence vintage. Therefore I think of things like Viva Las Vegas or Australia's Wintersun...not...THAT. THAT looks a Halloween party gone severely wrong in that everyone thinks they look good rather than realizing they are dressed up inaccurately and look awful. It sounds to me like it was a huge, mass-media powered excuse to feign an interest in the past as a joke rather than genuinely appreciating the past.
    My experience in London and Brighton has been that England has more than enough history, antiques and vintage to appreciate on a daily basis without needing a giant gathering of people to fake it with.
    I'm glad you had a good time, but I can't see myself planning a trip over for it! And 135 quid?! I paid $80 for VLV...and got to see Chuck Berry & Wanda Jackson play!

  4. Thanks for your honest review. After spending about 1/2 an hour reading all the other VAG reviews, and seeing the photos I don't think I will be going after all. It looks far too 'festivally' and commercial, and I think that charging a (high) entrance fee, then charging again to get into the attractions is ridiculous - and greedy. The concept of VAG was amazing, but at the end of the day, Wayne Hemingway may be a very talented designer (how good did the webiste look?!) but he is no Michael Eavis. I'd personally recommend that you try Rhythm Riot - this is a 'proper' vintage festival, run by people who are completely into the scene and your entrance fee weekend pass includes EVERYTHING! AND not a primark in sight!!


I'd love to hear your thoughts!


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