Firing on All Cylinders
A mix of fast cars, fab food and a line-up that squishes decades into one musical extravaganza. Check out our Muddy verdict of this Bank Holiday Banger.
CarFest South is the brainchild of 90s pop culture icon and ginger-haired radiosmith, Chris Evans, and is held over the Bank Holiday Weekend in August. The festival is located on Laverstoke Park Farm just by Overton, which also happens to be owned by Formula 1 legend (and Buffalo Mozarella aficionado) Jody Scheckter.
As well as having super-fast cars nipping round Jody’s personal track during the day (how many farms can say they’ve got one of them?), there’s plenty of fab food and demos to check out in Car-Feast, chilled-out zen vibes at Eden, a pretty impressive Kids’ Kingdom and a full vintage fair as well… that’s before you even take notice of the main stage.
One of the things that is really great about this festival is the HUGE amount it does for charity. The proceeds go to fund BBC’s Children in Need, Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, Starlight Children’s Foundation and the Teenage Cancer Trust, so it’s great knowing that your quids are going to a great cause while also having a good time.
The festival is pretty big, and it takes a while to get onto the site but once you’re on your eyes are darting everywhere. It feels like a mix between Goodwood Festival of Speed, Feastival and Camp Bestival, all rolled into one. Think vintage Mustangs, food and wine tasting and Dick and Dom taking over the fort in the Kids’ Kingdom.
As such, the crowd here are a really wide range of age – there were plenty of young kids and families, complete with Nan and Grandad in tow. There was also LOTS of big business names here with stalls, and you could watch Tom Odell over on the main stage before nipping to the Joules tent to pick up the perfect Autumn Breton dress.
Another thing that was really cool is that the main stage was actually two stages, meaning that the switch over from act to act was super quick. Chris Evans was also presenting each act and really got involved with the audience as well (at one point he was giving out free beers, but alas I couldn’t get through the throngs in time!)
So many names! The great thing with a festival like CarFest is Chris Evans has a lot of contacts. The music line-up, in particular, was super eclectic mixing modern acts like Tom Grennan with vintage choonsters such as Tony Christie. Every member of the family would be placated within a single day’s schedule.
And it’s not just on the stages either, within the space of about ten minutes, I’d walked past Rob Brydon, Candice Brown and Ade Adepitan – so if you like a good bit of star-spotting, you’ll definitely be able to do this here.
SCOFF & QUAFF
Over at the Car-Feast area you had some top-name chefs demo-ing on The Kitchen Stage and I had a great half an hour watching GBBO winner and lipstick queen Candice Brown making her Nan’s Florentines.
There’s also loads of great indie food producers from across the country to check out with gin, chutneys (including the Isle of Wight’s Borneo Pantry) and more to sample and take home. I also found a giant wall of fudge which pleased me to no ends.
My kids were absolutely over the moon when they were tasked with testing out Laverstoke Park Farm’s Buffalo milk ice-cream and declared it “delicious”.
Good For: This is a super, fun for all the family, day or weekend out. There’s enough going on for all to be amused and the size of the festival is large enough that you won’t run out of things to do.
Not For: If you don’t like crowds then you may struggle, it’s a large event and very busy. If you prefer a line-up that it’s more “in the now”, there may be a touch too much nostalgic music for you.
The Damage: For three days without camping it’s a pretty pocket-friendly £144 for over 17s and you can upgrade to VIP for £311 per person. Day tickets range in price from £69 up to £78, which you’d probably pay to see one or two of the acts on the main stage alone. Also, all the profits go to charity so well worth the outlay.