When Cherished Vehicle Insurance invited us to review the 2014 VW Festival at Harewood in Yorkshire and enjoy a full weekend of entertainment at this stunning country house location the answer was never going to be no. The next question was who should go and one name stood out being lifelong VW fan and T2 x2 owner Martin Woodward who along with his daughter plus one pride and joy attended all three days (All pictures: Martin Woodward).
The 2014 VW Festival at Harewood held 15 to 17 August was an event advertised widely in the VW community to set personal expectations very high indeed. Of course as with any successful regular it must always run the risk of becoming victim of its own success posing what must be real challenges for any organiser hoping to better previous years efforts. Before going any further the great news for me was the 2014 VW Festival at Harewood delivered on all levels.
Everything about the show was well organised from ordering the tickets, helped in no small way by our host who had arranged for one weekend pass to be delivered by post and the second I requested nearer the time for my daughter to join me picked up from the main gate on arrival, all very slick indeed. Something that was also reflected in how helpful the gate staff were in managing the inflow of vehicles, a sizeable task in itself with over 1,000 on display plus a total attendance figure of more than 18,000 members of the paying public.
Arriving nice and early on the Friday first impressions were good, especially when considering details such as dividing camping areas into family and more general party goers separated by the main driveway into the Grounds. Of course it is only when the night time celebrations begin you fully appreciate the importance of decisions like this, evidence no doubt of an event that has listened to feedback provided in previous years. Watch and learn, watch and learn. The live bands on the Friday night were also superb providing an excellent start to proceedings and fully justifying the decision to arrive on day one before the main show got underway.
The cars on display on the following two days of the 2014 VW Festival at Harewood did not disappoint either ranging from original 1950’s T1 Beatles and T2 Split Screen Campers right through to modern day equivalents. Within that range were very carefully restored and pristine looking vehicles through to very shiny fully customised hot rods as well as examples of the still controversial rat look. How one group views the products of near neighbours is not 100% clear, although given the overall relaxed party atmosphere of the show you have to assume they have at the very least learned to live with each other.
Yes attending the 2014 VW Festival at Harewood once again confirmed the vast cross-section of vehicles produced by VW over the last 60 years as well as its close and invited cousin, Porsche. Although true T1 and T2 Beatles and Campers formed the backbone of the show it was terrific to also see many other marque examples present. For instance the increasingly rare in this country at least beach buggy, for anyone who goes back a bit I bet there was once a time when you never thought you’d hear that. Others included newer successes like the first gen Scirocco which must now surely require a price watch with far fewer examples produced than say the MK1 Golf for example. On the Porsche side of the fence were air cooled 911s as well the rapidly appreciating joint venture with VW in the form of the Beetle powered 914.
Family orientated events with something for everyone are a must for well errmm families and the 2014 VW Festival at Harewood included two large entertainment marquees, nine live bands, numerous bars, food stalls, trade stands, an auto jumble, show & shine, club stands and the most relationship straining area of them all; one that offered cars for sale to any brave, or perhaps single, individual wanting to take some new metal home with them. The word ‘Need’ sounds far more compelling than the word ‘Want’ in situations like these don’t you think?
The wide ranging entertainment didn’t end there either with still talking family members also able to enjoy Illusionists, crafting, circus performers, BMX display teams, chain saw juggling, fire eating, tail wagging team and a puppet show as just a snapshot as to what was on offer over the weekend. Adding to the fun the 2014 VW Festival at Harewood included a Super Hero theme with attendees getting right into the spirit by wearing suitable costumes, stood next to equally appropriately decorated cars for added amusement with some of the live bands joining in as well.
Weather at an event like this in the UK can of course mean huge success or instant failure and despite dramatic changes at times it did nothing to dampen spirits or affect the number of attendees turning out to make the most of everything on offer across the whole weekend. A large number of people staying right to the end to see the show and shine awards presented, testament indeed.
The cars on display were truly amazing and the effort people had put in to make this event such a success was obvious, I have to say it was a credit to organisers and sponsors alike.
How does this event make you feel:
In one word: Brilliant
As a favourite meal: Thai takeaway washed down with an undisclosed number of bottled beers.
Anything else: Relaxed, friendly and good value for money enjoyed by 18,000 like minded individuals celebrating VWs almost cult like success whilst having a damned good laugh together.
Key ingredients: Cars and campers, sheer size and scale, weekend camping, live bands, particularly those who played on the Friday night and all of the other family entertainment on offer. There was quite literally something for everyone.
With thanks to Cherished Vehicle Insurance for inviting us to attend and review the 2014 VW Festival at Harewood House in Yorkshire.
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