Sunday, 15 August 2010

Vintage at Goodwood

Yesterday I spent the day performing at the new festival Vintage at Goodwood. The brainchild of Wayne Hemmingway (the man behind the phenomenally successful 80s/90s fashion brand Red or Dead) it is a "boutique festival" celebrating all things vintage from the 40s to the 80s. It was held in the idyllic grounds of the Goodwood Estate and patrons were driven from the local station to the site by a vintage Routemaster bus complete with urbane conductor.

This is the festival's first year and it has attracted mixed press during its preparation. The retro community has always been a fiercely independent and has reacted with varied emotion to what is the biggest event ever for the scene. Vintage fashion and lifestyle have experienced a boom in the last ten years and are now mainstream. The fact a major festival has been planned is clearly seen by some as adding insult to injury and accusations of exploitation and over-pricing have been rife. However, others have embraced the inclusiveness of the event and I must say I was heartened to see so many people enjoying themselves. Hard-core retro enthusiasts rubbed shoulders with historical reenactors, folk who interpreted it as a fancy-dress event and the casual public who were just out for a Saturday afternoon. I opted for a Steampunk look and the sub-culture was obviously news to many who were rather agog at my interpretation of the retro-futureverse.

I had been invited by two groups to join their events and had consequently been awarded the status of "staff". The Chap magazine (a satirical periodical on the life of the English gentleman) held another Olympiad where chaps and chapettes competed at ridiculous "sports". The audience was held in amused rapture at the Daily Telegraph joust, the hop, skip and jump with a G&T and the one hundred meter loaf. This was until the heavens opened and the typical British summer rain shower descended. But, the chaps put on a stiff upper lip and carried on once the weather had cleared.

I also joined The House of Fairytales to run a gaming session. The House is an arts organisation which runs creative learning events for children themed around fantasy, dreams and imagination. I will blog more about them and the game I ran in future (as both deserve more space and I am already breaking my three-paragraph rule). Unfortunately my game was rather misjudged and proved a wash-out but working with the children on other tasks was amazing.

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