I’ve just come back from three days at the inaugural Vintage at Goodwood, tired and, dare I say, rather impressed. Having been involved in the launch last year and knowing a lot of people who put together this year’s event, I was rather apprehensive about the whole thing being nothing but a sell-out of vintage, a money-making ploy and prestige project for Wayne Hemmingway. There is a great article on Amelia’s Magazine, which really sums up many people’s suspicions.
Well, it wasn’t the total sell out I’d expected. Sure, the majority of people at the festival were certainly not of the vintage-every-day variety but then that was never the point of a festival that is about the appreciation of past styles, designs and cultural milestones. From the beautifully designed high street, which included a cinema, hairdressers, pub, curry house and make do and mend lounge, to the many vintage stalls and different era locations such as the Forties Dig for Victory Garden and Eighties Warehouse Disco, this celebration of the past is what VaG did extremely well.
I had great fun delving from the swing dancing of the Forties Torch Club to watch Goldfinger in the cinema to go and see The Faces re-unite for the first time since the Seventies. It reminded me of the wealth of designs and styles out there that I often forget in my rather narrow minded fixation on the early Sixties. I discovered many new things such as the 1940s Society and two women I hugely admire – Pattie Boyd and Marguerite Patten – were both there giving talks, where else would I have had the chance to meet them face to face?
Yes, there were a few points I didn’t enjoy, the many people in fancy dress for example. There is nothing wrong with wearing your normal clothes if you’re not into vintage but making a farce of it in afro wigs and £5 fancy dress flapper dresses? Jeez. There is the fact that many venues were very small and completely cramped, making it impossible for example to watch any of the fashion shows (unless you’d have fancied queueing for an hour in the rain).
In order to make the most what was on offer, you had to be really organised, planning your day ahead rather than being spontaneous, a shame in my opinion but the only way to find things to do rather than aimlessly wandering about hoping to get into any of the venues. And lastly what was Primark doing there of all brands? A little more integrity would go a long way…
I’m also sure it was the real vintage enthusiasts – the ones that brought along their camper vans and hot rods, the ones that DJ-ed, those who set up whole areas like the War Time Britain, all for no money as I imagine, who made this a success and not those set to gain from this financially.
But I can’t really agree with some of the complaints I’ve read elsewhere. To me the camping was as promised we had a nice patch of grass, the toilets were absolutely fine, I didn’t even queue to take a (hot!) shower. Not sure what else you could expect from a festival and £15?
I’m not convinced I’d go for all three days next time, purely based on the fact you spend an awful lot of money on basic stuff like food and doing extra activities such as workshops (although saying that, food and drink were pretty much at standard London prices). Goodwood will also never have the much more intimate, authentic atmosphere you get at era-specific vintage gatherings such as Rhythm Riot or Hep Cats, vintage festivals set up by vintage enthusiasts for vintage enthusiasts.
There is however no doubt in my mind that there will be a next Vintage at Goodwood – and one I’m quite looking forward to actually.