I had mixed feelings about it before I went. How could the idea of 'vintage' sustain a whole festival? Lots of the publicity seemed to surround the high street at the festival which just left me cold - I don't like the idea of billing shopping as a major attraction. And would there really be enough to do otherwise?
There were some bits that I found a bit tricky - the plastic nature of the high street for example. I'd have loved it if they'd been able to include reclaimed bits of furniture and fittings rather than it being a MDF spectacular. And I didn't really fancy going into Cath Kidston, the Body Shop or Primark when I was there. And though most visitors looked fantastic, there was a disappointing amount of recognisable Topshop, Gap and, yes, Primark being worn (surely you must have had something vintage to have worn, or why on earth were you there?)
There were some areas that were really spot-on - I loved pretending I was on holiday in a plush 60s resort listening to a spot of hammond organ in the super-fantastic plastic of the leisure dome. I liked looking at the cherished cars, immaculate mod bikes and cool caravans on display. I think the thing that tipped it for me was the fantastic attitude of my fellow visitors who really went for it. Not in a boozed-up festival way that I'm so used to, but how they got into their different scenes. The Casino was a replica Wigan Casino Northern Soul club, complete with carpets and pool tables. And it was completely packed throughout the day with Northern Soul dancers, in their best clothes, dancing away. Each area had its own group of dedicated followers who tended to be older in age. It was the young(er) ones like me who drifted from area to area, less sure of their scene.
Having had to witness some questionable music such as The Feeling on the main stage, it was a pleasure to end the day with the complete showbiz pro that is Geno Washington. Smooth moves, slick banter, we could still hear him belting them out as we were sat on the bus back to the train station.
Not the festival of my life certainly but a jolly good spectacle.