Tuesday, 5 August 2014

The 99th Garrison and MKG attend CarFest North

The 99th Garrison was invited to attend Chris Evans' CarFest 2014 at Oulton Park Cheshire and gladly obliged!  This was our second year at this event which is organised to raise funds for Children In Need and was somewhat looked forward to by our members who had attended the event last year and had a great time raising approximately £1,000 at the event.

The event ran from Friday 1st August to Sunday night on the 3rd August, 2014.  This meant leaving home early on Friday morning for the drive up North and it also meant a hotel stay as the thought of trooping all day for two and a half days and then not getting a good night's sleep in a tent was not one that was particularly attractive!  
Dave S, Travis and Dave P had already arrived at Oulton Park by the time that we got there and had sorted out the camping and entry passes for all and had helped Ken with his caravan so there was less for me to do on arrival this year.... thanks Guys!!  Once parked up we headed off into the grounds to pick up our wrist bands and speak to the Organisers to find out where our base tent was for the event and to make sure that we had enough collection buckets.
Tusken's revenge!
The walk from the car park/camping to the event included a rather strange path through a maize crop... couldn't resist some rather "Bill and Ben/flower pot men" photos!

The weather on Friday had been wet in the morning and had caused difficulties and delays in the erection of tents etc due to heavy rain which had necessitated all involved keeping dry in Ken's caravan.  The heavy rain also meant that the ground was starting to get muddy... and this was just the start of it... it got a lot worse by close of play on Saturday with cars getting stuck in the mud.  We had a bit of an effort to get our car out too but managed it... it was like driving on thick snow with the car wanting to veer in all directions!

The weather was dry and warm when we arrived but didn't stay like that for long.  There were numerous heavy ... really heavy... downpours.  This didn't deter us though from staying on the main field to watch the acts that were on that night.  These were an excellent Cold Place, the funny Lancashire Hot Pots, the very good Kings Ov Leon, a former World Superbike Champion in 2007 with his band called Toseland, the excellent One Night of Queen, the very good Eliza DooLittle and the still very good Erasure... in sequinned jacket and very high heels!! 

My jeans were wet through from the knee down! 
Other troopers had also arrived on Friday night and included Andy, Mayah, Anna, Chris [with their ten berth ten christened "The Death Star"] John, Travis, Joanne, Jason, Dave, Barbara and Yvonne.  Sadly, due to difficulties in communication due to there being no signal [unless you were on vodafone like Ken]  we missed the opportunity to re-group that night :-(
Saturday morning we woke to grey skies and the promise of more rain.  We met at our base tent for the event which was in the Artists' camping area and decided to kit up and take our chances and if it looked like it was going to rain we would base ourselves in the large Children in Need tent [CIN] for the duration.  
By this time we were also joined by Peter, Paul, Sonjya, AJ and Rhys and once all were kitted up we headed off to the CIN tent.  We marched off to the tent in formation and were well received once we got there.  We mingled and posed for photos for a while and then as it was getting warmer and sunnier we decided to try our chances and head off to the Army display area.  Anna and Mayah decided to stay behind though with Barabara as Anna's costume is made of Suede and could be ruined if it got even slightly wet.

We made it to the Army display and posed for a few photos and were even joined by Anna and Mayah who had decided to join us after all.  However, we hadn't been there very long at all when some very threatening clouds started to appear and although we made the decision to head back to the CIN tent very quickly, we just weren't quick enough and got caught, out in the open in a torrential downpour!  We had large umbrellas but not enough and Anna and Mayah had to dive into the first tent that they came to which turned out to one which contained Snakes and Spiders!  Both are Ok with Snakes but hate spiders!

For the rest of the day we did our best to continue trooping when we could and tried to become "Cloud Readers" to work out what direction they were going in and what they were going to do. Fortunately, we got it right from then on and didn't get caught in a downpour again and instead made sure that we were in the CIN tent when it did rain.  This meant that we we also had a captive audience in the tent as others had also dived in there for cover too!  Unfortunately, the tent got very warm and members helmets were constantly misting up. Despite our efforts to collect as normal on Saturday, because we were restricted by the weather as to where we could go, we didn't have heavy buckets at the end of the day :-(

We did manage to visit a Huey Helicopter though and pose for a few photos there too!

We finished trooping around 4:00pm and then people went off for showers and something to eat etc. We discovered a vintage tea room which is where we went for tea 'n' cake for pudding. A lovely little place where the staff all dressed in 1940s outfits and even told me that Chris Evans had just been sat in the chair that I chose to sit in! 
This time we agreed to meet outside one of the beer tents for the evening's entertainment which consisted of Jack Savoretti, Tom Odell, Toploader, Seasick Steve, Scouting for Girls, Fireworks and then Simple Minds.
Sunday morning we woke to brilliant sunshine!  Hoooray!!!!  Our spirits were lifted and we were much freeer to do what we wanted to do and see more of the event and hopefully get more donations in our collection buckets.

We also spotted a piano in a middle of a field surrounded by snack bars etc where we posed for group photos with Lord Vader playing the piano.

We also got to go on a Monster Truck to pose for photos too as it had to close between 11:00 and 12:00 noon due to the noise that it makes affecting local churches.
 We then headed off towards the main stage area in the hope that we could get some photos and donations in front of the main stage.  However, we managed to get permission to actually go on the stage at which point Lord Vader [AKA Andy] showed all that he can play the drums [even if he couldn't see what he was doing!] and that the 99th Garrison does actually rock!!
We were asked to to various stalls including one with Razor carts, Morgan Cars, Alfa Romeo Cars, Table Tennis and the English Rugby Team tent.
We obliged and I ended up sitting in one of the tiny little Razor Carts which decided that contrary to what I had expected it was going to move!
I also got to sit in a Morgan 100YR WR14 EDITION: 8 SPEEDSTER which was rather nice! Dave L joined me with some difficulty in his Stormtrooper armour and I even got to rev the rather loud engine several times!!

Myself, Dave L and Travis then also had a go at getting on and off the large rugby ball in the Rugby team's tent... fortunately, they didn't switch the thing on!!

We then even had a game of table tennis!

By this point a lot of troopers had got too tired to continue trooping but myself, Dave, John and Travis headed off with Jason and Yvonne to the Paddcok to see some of the lovely cars that they had there, including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Thunderbirds, Deloreans from Back to the future and a Penguin car!!
We were now all were suitably worn out and we decided to call it a day about 5:00pm.  Most then de - kitted and had to go and take tents down etc.  A mammoth job when it came to the Death Star tent!

We took the collection buckets back to the CIN tent and have now been told that we collected an amazing £871.00!!!  I am well chuffed.. this is a brilliant total given the weather on Saturday. :-)    
We then headed off for something to eat for tea followed by tea 'n' cake at the Vintage Tea tent again before heading off to see the rest of the music entertainment.  We had missed Texas, 10cc, and the Feeling but got to see Sophie Ellis-Bexter.  We were also tired by this point and despite wanting to see the closing Act... Jools Holland, we also admitted defeat and headed back off to the Hotel.
Thunderbirds FAB 1
A huge thank you to Sinead for getting us into this event... we know how privileged we are to be there and to Chris Hughes and all his Event Staff for running it.
I couldn't resist a quick kiss with Mr Glennister...AKA DCI Gene Hunt
Special huge thanks to all the Troopers and crew....Andy W, Anna, Mayah, Dave P, Dave S, Dave L, Barbara, Travis, Chris, Joanne, Jason, Yvonne, Ken, Peter, Paul, Sonja, Rhys, AJ, Andy [MKG] for the photos and John.
missing Paul, Sonya, Rhys, AJ, Dave and Barbara.
Here's to Carfest North 2015!!