Dear Mummy, our summer has been a season of festivals and over the August bank holiday we finished with a big one – CarFest South.CarFest South is held at Jody Scheckter’s Laverstoke Farm near Basingstoke and organised by radio DJ Chris Evans. It also helps raise money for Children In Need and has been a sell out in previous years.
It’s got all the ingredients for an amazing festival for the whole family and different generations. From a brilliant line-up including Paloma Faith, Clean Bandit, Rak-Su, Status Quo and The Feeling to having a racing track running through the heart of the festival there are so many attractions.
We attended last year as day trippers and enjoyed our Friday at the event deciding that we would return for the full weekend as there was so much to see and do.
So donning our Pudsey ears we walked from Overton, across the fields to the festival. It’s the closest major festival to where we live and we’re lucky enough to have it on our doorstep so don’t need to camp.
It’s some walk to the entrance! Even for the campers lugging their gear from the car parks to the campsites it’s a bit of a trek into the festival each day, so we made sure we wore sensible shoes.
Wristband exchange wasn’t too bad this year and we arrived an hour after the festival opened its gates on Friday which might have helped with the crowds. Programmes where an extra £5 but invaluable to see what the schedule was. Security was visible and friendly which made us feel welcomed and safe.
A giant bouncy castle greeted us, along with the race track humming in the background. The main stage was through the thoroughfare of street food vendors and white marquees full of activities and stalls. The Children in Need shop marquee was bigger this year with more range which was great to see, however make sure you buy your goodies early as this year they sold out of a lot of merchandise on the Saturday. I bet they would do a roaring trade if they sold branded umbrellas and ponchos next year!
We enjoyed walking around the Horrible Histories area and watched the Flying Seagulls perform. With rumbling bellies we indulged in some yummy noodles and fish & chips. CarFest had a fantastic range of festival food onsite. Mexican, Spanish, Japanese, Thai, German catering for both vegetarian and vegan diets too. Festival food was varied and it was nice to see kids portions, however prices were still standard festival prices ranging from £5 to £12 per serving with Pizza being the most expensive option that we came across.
We used reusable plastic cups at the bar areas and there were a wide range of options including the awesome German Market, Prosecco Bar and numerous milkshake, slushy and coffee bars. Ensuring that everyone was catered for.
We were most impressed with the race track and the cars that whizzed past us. Check out our YouTube video to see them in action.
It was clear from last year that Jody Scheckter had given thought to festival goers desire to see more cars on the track as instead of the cars disappearing off into the distance to then re-appear back up the same track, this year it was an actual circuit. We believe it was designed by one of Jody’s Formula 1 track designer friends. The cars performed death-defying donuts in the turning circles and raced, classic cars, unusual cars.
I faced my fears and took on the almighty Monster Truck which rumbled in the top field. With its large wheels it crushed cars to a pulp as it raced over them with me riding in the roll cage. When I finally came off it I was relieved and exhilarated, my mummy on the other hand was a nervous wreck.
We were really impressed with the food fair this year and even though the tents were busy during the rainy periods we still managed to peek inside. An artisan food market of independent food producers, from jams and pickles to fudge, biscuits and plenty more delicious treats. We were amazed at the amount of free samples handed out by brands and I loved the free sweets from Maoam much to mummy and daddy’s amusement. One stand my folks liked was the Milk&More stand offering people the opportunity to sign up for fresh produce delivered to their doors. Championing smaller suppliers and continuing the milkman legacy.
An area we escaped to during the wet weather was the Kids Tent where we enjoyed watching children’s performers, circus workshops, theatre displays and interactive plays. It was a great bolt hole for us little ones and they let us play and dance on the stage between the acts. The only downside to the tent though was the fact that it had been positioned in the middle of the circuit which meant the noise of the cars racing by was a bit distracting and when the cars performed donuts the whole tent was filled with the smoke and fumes of burnt tyres which wasn’t very nice for us. That said the smoke soon cleared and we carried on with our entertainment. Maybe next year the tent can be a bit further away from the track or positioned away from the turning circle.
Another tent that took me quite by surprise was the Christmas Tent. With real elves and fake snow it gave me the opportunity to try out new toys and escape to the North Pole for a little while. Very random but I do keep reminding Santa that I’ve been good this year and Christmas is only round the corner for us little ones!
They was plenty of opportunity to craft and join in with activities during the wet weather and I’d liked the idea of the soft play buses, it’s just unfortunate that they were rammed every time I visited. Maybe more places for kids to hang out undercover next year?
It’s always a pleasure to visit Carter’s Steam Fair and we’re lucky enough that they tour our home town quite often. It was great to see this vintage fairground set up once again at CarFest. The added bonus was that campers and weekend ticket holders received tokens to use at the fair with their tickets which was good. We added up paying for our tokens and it worked out around £3 per ride. My mummy’s favourite was the ghost train, where I covered my eyes and hid under her arm as we got squirted with water and scared by skeletons. I love the old rides with the cars on the merry-go-round, the swinging boats and my favourite the carousel.
We loved stepping back in time at the vintage village with market traders selling antiques, a swinging dance stage, tea rooms, and old-fashioned sweet shops and Ice cream vans. There were hair salons and beauty parlours on site, fashion outlets and costumes with people dining their finest glad rags. We discover cars from the 30s through to the swinging 60s and groovy 70s and it was like being transported back to another era. As I still love playing with my dolls, I loved seeing the old prams especially. It was a shame I couldn’t sneak out with one.
After a wonderful couple of days we called it a day after the heavy rainfall started on Sunday. After another great experience at CarFest we headed home with smiles on our faces and heads full of new memories we made. It certainly was a festival we’ll remember and one we love attending.
Love Bella x