BUSFEST – Friday
From the moment I purchased Rita, these dates went straight into my diary: Friday 6th to Sunday 8th September.
Whatever else I organize throughout this year, this weekend is already taken. This weekend is BUSFEST. This year, the show can not be missed. For the first time, I’m visiting the show as a bone fide camper van owner. It feels special this year, I’m part of the occasion, no longer just an outsider looking in. I plan to have Friday off work and arrive early. As usual though, something has come up and I spend the morning in the office and the afternoon frantically packing the van. The kids are coming with me of course and we’ve also decided to take the dog for his first camp. His cage is taking up a huge amount of floor space, to compound that issue I’ve not got time to collect the trailer from storage, so we’ll be doing without the awning too. It’s going to be a tight squeeze but it’s only for a couple of nights and it’s nice we’re all going together. Rita struggles to start, adding to my stress levels, but after a couple of attempts she fires into life. This isn’t the beginning of the weekend I’d imagined, I promise myself it’s NOT going to be like this next year…
We’re on our way. Luckily we haven’t got far to travel to BUSFEST, some 15 miles or so. It’s a nice little drive through the village of Callow End, before entering Malvern and heading for The Three Counties Showground. There are people lining the street along our route, taking photos and enjoying the convoys of Volkswagens on their way to the event. By the time we reach BROWN GATE, our entrance to the family camping area, the excitement has taken over and any stress lingering from earlier is confined to history. We crawl through the site looking for a a gap to pitch up among the row upon row of camper vans. I spot one, and take it, carefully reversing Rita in.
Much like a child in a sweet shop, I can’t wait to be in among it all. So without unpacking anything we pop the lead on the dog, lock up the van and go and explore.
Whatever your own personal camper ‘ideal’ is, there is something here that will get your juices flowing. Everywhere you turn, there are vans, some in far better condition than they would have rolled off the production line, others that look like it’s only dirt holding them together. There are those that are totally original and those that are heavily modified. Some, nothing short of works of art, shine like mirrors, professionally painted in outrageous colour schemes, some not so glamorous, rollered by hand on the drive ways of their owners. Many have long since been used to actually camp in, while there are those lived in, used to travel the world. Every model of Volkswagen Transporter is represented here, from classic to brand spanking new, in every form and variation. If you’re not inspired by this lot, then the old ‘Vee Dub’ just ain’t your thing!
We stroll around the designated camping fields and come across ‘The Club 80-90‘ camping zone. This area is my favourite because it represents the ‘everyday’ T25’s, the ones I know are actually used for their intended purpose. This doesn’t mean that they are short on high end quality (There are some fantastic vehicles here) but away from the ‘show’ area I love that these are being camped in. I’m sure a fair few of these will make their way down to the ‘Show and Shine’ on Sunday, at least they ought to.
We (eventually) follow the crowds towards the Arenas and Marquees. I could continue to wander around this one field for far longer, but I’m aware the little ones are wearing thin on patience! As usual the sound of live music fills the air, we stop to watch the performance which holds the kids attention for a short period. What they’re really after though, is the fairground, set up at the shows centre. Getting anywhere with the dog takes some doing, not only is his pace through this crowd ponderous, but he gets a lot of attention. People come over to give him a bit of fuss (all he’s really after in life), which is a nice way for people to stop and chat who would otherwise just walk on by.
Eventually we get to the rides and I spend some of my hard earned cash getting the kids thrown from pillar to post. It’s far from my ‘cup of tea’ but they’re enjoying themselves which is all that matters. I want to get the van sorted out so we soon head back, after all, they’ll be plenty of time to check out the arenas and muse around the trade stands over the next two days. Back at camp I get the little BBQ going, we eat and I enjoy a couple of cans. I spot a couple I recognize locally and we chat. Unknown to me previously, they’ve got a T25 too. By the sound of things a fair amount of work is required and we spend an hour discussing their hopes and dreams for the project. I enjoy it, it’s great when you find people who share a common interest. I have a relaxing evening, which more than makes up for a stressful morning.