Monday, 4 July 2016

Ain't Talking 'Bout Dub - Camperjam 2016



Last Thursday, after two days mostly spent washing the Glastonbury mud from our clothes and abstaining from alcohol, we loaded Gilbert with vintage clothes and headed eighteen miles down the road to Shropshire's picturesque Weston Park with two questions uppermost in our minds, would the BBC's forecast of unseasonably cold weather, rain and high winds be true and was Brexit going to affect customer spending at Camperjam?


After five hours we were set up, a whole three hours faster than the Acoustic Festival three weeks ago.  After our traditional first night camping dinner of grilled Haloumi, Mediterranean couscous and a couple of cans of gin and tonic, lulled by the sound of rain pitter-pattering on the awning roof, we slept for a solid 12 hours.

WEARING: ME: 1960s linen maxi dress with massive stylised flower (borrowed from the Kinky rails)
JON: Turnbull & Asser shirt, vintage Austin Reed waistcoat, 1960s Farah trousers (all charity shopped)

Camperjam doesn't open to the public until 2pm and, after 9 years of attending as both campers and traders, we knew Friday was usually a slow day for shopping. Most of the ticket holders want to park up, crack open a can, chill out and catch some evening entertainment with a quick rummage through the auto-jumble for a much needed car part or an emergency purchase to replace something they've forgotten to pack. But, as the blue skies of Friday morning were replaced with grey, the temperatures plummeted and the rain lashed down, business was brisk, with shoppers snapping up our vintage knitwear and the abandoned Glastonbury 2016 wellies we'd rescued from the car park last weekend and scrubbed clean. The rain was so heavy that the trade tent, for the first time in three years of ownership, started to leak and it was so cold that despite wearing two coats, my trusty sheepskin hat and alpaca mittens I was still shivering.

WEARING: JON: Pal Zileri shirt, 1960s Farahs, vintage John Collier blazer, tan leather belt & brogues (all charity shopped)
ME: Vintage polka dot maxi, 1970s majorette jacket (charity shopped)

The torrential rain kept us awake for most of the night but by the time we opened at 10am on Saturday morning it had stopped and, as we'd had the foresight to move the clothes rails into the middle of the tent away from the leaking side seams, the stock was mercifully dry. The weather was chilly but dry- ideal festival shopping conditions. We were so busy that it was 2pm before we'd even cracked open a cider and we had to subsist on a packet of Lidl cheese straws as there wasn't a chance to make anything to eat. Over the years we've seen the house tribute band so many times we know their set list off by heart and yet another poor rendition of Mr Brightside held little appeal so, after selling yet another fabulous maxi dress to a lairy stag party, at 11pm we closed the shop and turned in for the night.

WEARING: ME: Me-made 1970s duvet skirt, customised 1990s crochet top, floral headpiece (handmade by the divine Desiree)
JON: (as Friday)
On Sunday morning we were awoken by sunshine at 6.30am so we opened early to catch the day visitors. Normally Camperjam Sundays aren't great for trade but we'd taken a gamble and upgraded our pitch to a busier location and it paid off, doing a steady trade in hats, shorts and crazy 1980s shirts. Normally we shut at 3pm but the customers just kept coming and we closed when the main gates did, at 5 pm. We packed up, said goodbye to our trader friends and made it back home just in time for the France-Iceland match.


The BBC's weather forecast was pretty accurate but did Brexit affect business? There was certainly a marked change in people's buying habits compared to previous years. Although the average spend was lower but the number of people who bought from us had increased massively meaning that at the end of the weekend we'd taken 60% more money than last year but is doing well financially the be all and end all? 

Vintage VDub porn

Voodoo Street, auto jumbles and Glitterbugz - cool indie businesses in amongst the corporate monsters
Both of us feel Camperjam has moved away from its original ethos of a good, old-fashioned family-friendly van meet. We've lost our enthusiasm for wandering around, finding the mile-long trade area overwhelmingly corporate and the lovely vintage VWs on display have gradually been outnumbered by soulless, shiny new ones (they might be reliable but they just aren't very inspiring to look at). Although the pitch fees have increased, space between stalls have decreased to become virtually non-existent, so much so that we got through two packs of joss sticks in a desperate attempt to disguise the next-door neighbour's obsession with grilling meat and don't get me started on being subjected to Absolute 1980s FM at full blast from 8am every day - there's a limit to how much Phil Collins, Dire Straits & Chris Rea any sane human being can endure. Yet again, despite returning a completed trader's feedback form every year, the portaloo situation remained woefully inadequate and, if you had time to stand in a queue of 30 people to use one (we didn't, we were just too busy to leave just one of us alone on the stall for that amount of time) the toilets were invariably blocked or out of loo roll and hand sanitiser. Will there be a Camperjam 2017 for us? The jury's still out.

Linking to Patti and the gang for Visible Monday and Judith's Hat Attack #36.

Gilbert, pop-topped, set up and ready to trade.

In the meantime we've got two days to restock & recharge, we're off to trade at Cornbury on Wednesday.  


See you soon!

99 comments:

  1. I know the feeling Vicky. Life is too short to keep doing something you don't enjoy any more. Hope to see you around soon have a great summer.

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    1. Hi Vicky! There's so many great events in July we've decided to try something else next year. Like you say, life's too short. xxx

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  2. Aw, I'm glad you did well but it sounds like the enjoyment is waning for that particular festival. That's such a shame. I love the bright blue maxi, its gorgeous. Xx

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    1. Thanks, Lou! I don't know why I hadn't tried that maxi before, I'm rather taken with it now! xxx

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  3. Wow, what a shame that the added sales didn't make up for the poor camping situation.

    I'm sure the fact that your hip is bothering you isn't helping matters.

    At the very least you lined your pockets.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. I think you're right there, I'm getting irritable about things I wouldn't usually care about - I was nearly in tears over the toilet situation, normally I'd laugh about it. xxxx

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  4. It sounds like a manic weekend! It's a shame that these things seem to all lose a little of their early charm along the way. You're absolutely right that making lots of money isn't the be all and end all, but not everyone sees it that way sadly.
    Hope Cornbury is better :)

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    1. Yes, if I was all about the money I'd still be living in corporate hell in pinstripes and 18 hour days. Time to try something new. Cornbury was fab last year, hope it's as much fun this time around. xxx

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  5. It's a shame the festival is moving away from its roots - I felt that way about Vintage Nostalgia last year; it is a shame when something changes for the slightly worse. Still, decent trading is a good things - think of what it'll get you in India next January.

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    1. Isn't it disappointing when great events start to lose their shine? Yes, I should stick a photo of us in India in Gilbert next time, then when I'm getting mad about toilets or grilled pork chops I can go and look at it and calm down! xxx

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  6. You're so right about finances hardly being the end-all of life. You and I both made posh salaries back in the corporate days, bout we'd never go back! You two look amazing as always, and how did you endure Phil Collins for hours?? : >

    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

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    1. Yes, Patti. I could never go back to a life of loads of money but no fun.
      I went in a charity shop for the first time in weeks this morning and guess what they were playing? Phil Collins! there's no escape. Hope he doesn't do a surprise guest slot at Cornbury! xxx

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  7. Gosh, you're just so busy! A two day turnaround isn't much at all. No, earning more money is definitely not the be all and end all. If you can afford it, do the things that make you happy. Life is short! Your stand looks full of lovely things, so not surprised you sold loads, but it sounds like this festival is taking a profit-based direction, rather than keeping its customers happy. That loo situation would have stressed me out! You look gorgeous in turquoise. Hope Cornbury is good to you. Xxxx

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    1. It's mad, I tell you - two days off, five days on. the cats hardly recognise us! I do love the buzz, though.
      I came back from a failed attempt to go to the loo so angry on Sunday that a trader from another stall came over to ask if I was okay. I must have looked furious! xxx

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  8. You both look smashing! And your booth looks like it would be fun to shop in. I sometimes consider trying to sell at one of the outdoor vintage shows here in the US. But for many reasons you've mentioned, it scares me to attempt. I do love shopping them though :)

    Theresa Campbell
    www.vintagestylefiles.com

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    1. Hello Theresa! most of the outdoor events are brilliant, traders often get their own toilets and water supply sectioned off from the public so we can nip out and not have to interrupt business. Despite my suggestions over the past four years Camperjam haven't taken heed unfortunately. Time to move to somewhere that cares for their trading team I think! xxx

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  9. Oh, too bad the thrill has gone. I think once the volume of events happening goes up and money walks in - then authenticity and for-the-love-of-it walks out. Not to say that folks should run things at a loss or be taken advantage of - but it is crap when something you love gets taken out and flogged to death. Maybe time for a Kinky review?

    Hope you're feeling OK Vix - have read your last few blogs and was very sorry to hear of the hip pain and aggro.

    Looking phenom as usual - keep on keepin' on

    With love xx

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    1. Hello T! Good to see your comment. Definitely time for a rethink, there's a few cracking music festivals on the same weekend next year, pretty sure we'll give one of them a go instead.
      Things are fine here, hip's not feeling too bad but I think that what's making me stress about stuff (like toilets) I wouldn't normally be arsed over! xxx

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  10. Crikey what a mixed bag of thoughts and things happening this year. Time for a recharge with a good bed and bathroom before you are off again. How's the hip holding up lovely lass. Xxx

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    1. Hello Lynn! All good here, two days of wallowing in the bath, reading in bed and even a spot of chazzing! Onwards and upwards to lovely Cornbury tomorrow! xxx

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  11. Glad to hear you had a good trade but what a shame that the festival seems to be losing its original charm. Here's to hoping you have a fabulous Cornbury festival! xxx

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    1. Thanks, A!! I'm already excited about Cornbury, I really should go and pack! xxx

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  12. congrats to the positive trade!!!
    but it really sounds like the festival lost its soul - sad.
    you both look very chic and cool on all 3 days despite the mixed weather! especially your 60´s abstract floral number in turquois!!!
    wish you a gorgeous cornbury festival - can you wave a bit for me to bryan ferry?
    hugs! xxxxxx

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    1. I'll send Brian your love, Beate. Maybe he'll pay Kinky melon a visit? He looks like a man who appreciates quality vintage! xxx

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  13. Well, we can only hope that as one fest starts turning corporate, another new amazing fest pops up somewhere. I agree that money isn't everything but it's nice to know where you can get it. Heh. You two look stellar despite the weather, crowded conditions, and looping music - guh. Glad you had a financial haul but I'm also glad you have the option of not going again.

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    1. Can't knock the cash and , as Mim says, I just need to think of India when it all gets too much! xxx

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  14. I cant believe your turnaround time. You work so hard, you deserve to go to enjoyable events. I hope your hip isnt playing up too much

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    1. I can't either! I don't know whether I'm coming or going at the moment but at least it's taking my mind off hips! xxx

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  15. ooo Bryan Ferry. You guys can handle anything it seems, from Glastonbury to Camperjam. It's good to know you can pick and choose though. And thank goodness you made more $ to make up for more inconvenience. Take care of that hip, bay-bee.

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    1. Good line-up, isn't it? Jon's excited about All Saints, bless him! xxx

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  16. It's fun to hear you describe rainy weather while I look at photos of you and Jon SHINING in the sunshine. I've lived long enough to see groovy things cycle through to ungrooviness and back again. Gosh how I wish I could fly into to shop one of your events. Your maxis just kill me every time.

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    1. The second it's dry we run outside and pose for a photo - even if it means making the punters have to wait to pay! xxx

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  17. It's horrible when something loses it raison d'etre. I suppose the two important questions to ask for 2017 is 1) Did you enjoy it? 2) Would you miss the income too much or can you substitute another festival instead?

    Despite the weather both you and Jon look happy and very groovy! I just love that polka dot maxi - so stylish and fun.

    Well done you, rescuing the abandoned wellies. Isn't there something obscene about people discarding things like wellingtons and tents after a festival? Talk about a throwaway consumer culture - just think of the landfill! And then I suppose they'll go and buy more for the next festival?

    The festival circuit sounds like a lot of fun but also extremely hard work. Take care of yourself Vix and don't overdo it!

    Have a lovely week.

    Veronica
    vronni60s.blogspot.com

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    1. Hello Vronni! You're right. The profits are good and the customers really are lovely but niggles like ever-shrinking pitches, lack of toilets and the trade price doubling in four years are annoying. I think taking a break for a year or so might be the right thing to do.
      I can't bear to see waste. It seems insane to walk miles to your car in your wellies only to leave them behind. Their loss is our gain! xxx

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  18. Each year I get older, the more my time is more valuable than money. I admire your stance and how you and John weigh each venue through holistic and holistic eyes. May I be so wise.

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    1. Great philosophy, Sam. Nobody knows what's round the corner, lets have fun while we still can! xxx

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  19. Oh no I'm sorry it's gone the corporate route, such a shame when that happens. Hopefully the next fest will be brighter and happier all around! XXX

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    1. I do hope so, it was fab last year! xxx

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  20. Boo about the weather but also good about the weather and sales!!
    Been thinking about your hip.
    Love that huge flower-y maxi on you!! xox

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    1. Thanks, Carol! I'm a little in love with that maxi now. xxx

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  21. Still sounds better than any festival around here!

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    1. All the families who went absolutely loved it (except for the toilets!) xxx

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  22. That's a tough call-making good money vs. being uncomfortable doing it. Only you know how much Phil Collins, and filthy loos (or as we call them, "Porta-potties") you can tolerate (wouldn't, "Phil Collins and the Filthy Loos" be a great name for a band?. The next festival sounds like fun though.

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    1. Phil Collins and The Filthy Loos! Love it!
      Cornbury is looking good, even the weather has promised to play ball. xxx

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  23. That's a tough call-making good money vs. being uncomfortable doing it. Only you know how much Phil Collins, and filthy loos (or as we call them, "Porta-potties") you can tolerate (wouldn't, "Phil Collins and the Filthy Loos" be a great name for a band?. The next festival sounds like fun though.

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  24. glad your weekend was financially good, even if it's a pity when the genuine atmosphere changes and it's all new, shiny, soul-less stuff. That happens but it's dissappointing!
    Anyway, you look fabulous in your maxi dresses, love particularly that massive flower on your turquoise dress! gorgeous!
    besos

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    1. Shiny, new and soulless - so many people seem to aspire to it, don't they?
      Never mind, it wasn't a miserable weekend just a bit frustrating. The next one should be fun. xxx

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  25. Glad you made some go0d money but as you say, that is not always the crux of why you do business.

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    1. Thanks, CC! Money and fun (and a toilet without a massive queue) my needs are simple! xxx

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  26. That loo situation sounds gross, think I'd be heading behind a bush. Hope Cornbury is more enjoyable for you. X

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    1. I did in the end!! At least we'll have special trader loos tomorrow, hooray for a bit of dignity in my old age! xxx

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  27. You both look fantastic and the tent looks full of super sweet scores!!!

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  28. You have to be very dedicated to put up with all that miserable weather, disturbed sleep and smelly cooking! Hope there's some sunshine in store for you on the next stop. Betty x

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    1. Thanks, Betty! I'm watching the BBC weather like a hawk, a bit of sunshine makes everything better! xxx

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  30. You guys are fabulous! I would loved to visit your retro boutique, you have amazing treasures! And you sold THE WELLIES!!! Sending you some sunshine from down here. :)

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    1. Yes, sunshine! We need it so much. It's the worst summer weather-wise we've had since we started trading! xxx

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  31. Has the VW scene changed much since the mid 90s? This was when I last went to some with my last bug. I loved the rat vehicles and seeing the Santa Pod races and as for auto jumble....I was in heaven. The scene used to have some characters - I remember the 'Botch Boys' from the late 80s, very funny and really lovely guys. You're getting me all nostalgic now!
    Have fun at Cornbury xxx

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    1. There seems to be a massive increase in the number of brand spanking new T4 and T5 owners going to VW meets. They seem a different breed to us vintage car owners.
      I never went to Santa Pod but Jon did, he loved it back in the day. xxx

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  32. It's so disappointing when festivals become more about the money and less about the experience. I'm glad you made enough money for it to be worthwhile, but you two work so hard on your festival weekends it is a shame if you don't enjoy the vibe of the event itself. The major summer festivals we have here have succumbed to the lure of the $ and now every other vendor is selling hideously ugly faux fur rugs with logos of sports teams, or mass-produced carved wood masks and tie-dyed dresses.

    Looks like a good lineup of music at the Cornbury festival - I'd love to see Bryan Ferry and Lucinda Williams.

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    1. Those vendors are so common here, too! Amazes me that they make any money when there's so much of it about.
      There's some great stuff on at Cornbury - no dodgy tribute bands! We saw Tom Jones last year! xxx

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  33. Fair play, lovely. If it's not doing it, then maybe time to give it a miss...and bloody hell, Phil Collins. Al the scenes change eventually I think.It's a pity when something loses it's sparkly bits. Unlike you too who look wonderful and Kinky looks great.
    Cornbury has a tidy line up...SoulIISoul and Newton Faulkner..not 'arf!
    Loves ya!
    xxxxx

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    1. Cheers, darling!! Newton Faulkner has played at almost every festival I've been to for the past ten years and I've never seen him. This time I will - and SoulIISoul! xxx

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  34. Love your voice of astute appraisal of how things have/are changing. And god, I so admire the amount of sheer bloody hard work you both put into Kinky Melon. Oh and a small argh at the thought of a "fabulous maxi dress (being sold to) to a lairy stag party." A friend of mine who used to run an amazing vintage shop used to occasionally refuse to sell a dress to someone he thought would not appreciate or look after it properly!

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    1. I had to walk away when they were squeezing into dresses someone had loved and cherished and preserved for forty years!! Why couldn't they buy the repro horrors I saw on another stall? xxx

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  35. Such a shame it isn't what it used to be, but at least you made some dosh to put towards India in January. Well done on the wellie recycling. Gilbert looked magnificent, as did you and Jon of course!
    Hope you have much more fun this week - and hopefully no Phil Collins, Chris Rea or Dire Straits, good god shoot me now. x

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    1. Thank you! Some vintage things really need to be kept in the past, like Phil Collins and his music. xxx

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  36. I'm very impressed at your business acumen; swiping all the leftover wellies at glasto to flog to the last minuters -genius! It sounds like it's time to give Camperjam a miss, even if it's just for a year and see how you feel then. With any luck, your hip should be sorted and you'll feel better about things xxx

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    1. ...and at just £5 a pair they get snapped up in no time. I can't understand anyone leaving a decent pair of wellies behind. One pair were even those posh quilted Hunters - obviously someone with more money sense. xxx

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  37. Argh, I am sorry to hear about the shortcomings of the festival- having to queue behind 30 people is miserable, esp when you've got your dodgy hip and are knackered anyway!!!!
    Absolutely love that blue maxi and DOES THAT SKIRT HAVE WOMBLES ON IT!????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
    Amazing if so! I want a Womble skirt too!!!
    xx

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    1. I know! I never have to queue at Glastonbury and there's 10 times to amount of people there. The oragnisers need to stop cutting corners and pay to rent more loos.
      That skirt is made from a crazy 1970s set of curtains featuring giraffes, elephants, bears, lions and monkeys. I'd love a Womble skirt! xxx

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  38. Your stall always looks fabulous so colourful , Glad your gamble paid of i always say location is the most important thing in business , from my experience it can make a difference as much as a 70% in sales tht and customer confidence and your customers definitely have that xxx

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    1. You're right, if you're going to spend on a pitch there's no point in compromising and doing it on the cheap. It was great to be in such a busy spot. xxx

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  39. I forgot what I was about to say when I saw that red car! I'm not normally one for estates, but, ooooh, shiny! And red! xxx

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    1. The red car is a Variant - the same as our Ebbie. They're fab, aren't they! xxx

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  40. That's too bad .... I remember how you used to enjoy this festival in previous years. Sounds like they've chosen to commercialize it to the max with all those vendors. At least your trade was good. I imagine folks were very taken by the cool unique stock you offer. You both certainly looked fantastic!

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    1. Thanks, Lou! Its such a shame that the traders' comforts have been overlooked but there's lots of cool looking music festivals held on the same weekend it makes sense to try something new. xxx

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  41. Hello Vix! I so admire your tenacity and industry. Good for you, for rescuing those boots and giving them a new life. Sorry to hear that Camperjam is becoming a not-so-fun thing. I'm a bit of a princess, so the toilet situation would have made my decision not to go back to Camperjam easy. Although, if the money is good, then I might invest in a portaloo...hmmm, that is a tough call indeed.

    Well you two look fabulous as usual. Hope the next event is kinder (with no stinky meat smell).

    happy thrifting ;)

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    1. Thanks, TP! As with my comment to Maureen we don't have the room for a loo and with the space between pitches shrinking by the year we can't even squeeze in one of those tiny toilet tents. I've made my feelings known and we'll have to see whether they care enough to respond! xxx

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  42. One wonders if the show's organizers have their own private 'loo... Back in the days when I worked the international festivals, if the performers had to share facilities with the public, we declined to attend -- or announced we would not be returning, if accommodations were not as advertised. We worked cheap for the Cincinnati Opera House, whose quarters were immaculate and included showers; we chose to overcharge a certain operator who thought we could change in the basement utility room. Money is indeed not the deciding factor!

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    1. I don't blame you, Beth. It isn't like us performers and workers think we're above the general public but we're there to do a job and work hard and our needs and comfort are so often overlooked. xxx

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  43. Do you have a portapotti? Surprisingly nice to have and use. A quick retire into Gilbert and all problems solved!

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    1. We just don't have the room - Gilbert has a pull out double bed and the only floor space is in front of the fridge, the awning forms part of our shop and a loo in the corner wouldn't be very attractive to customers! x

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  44. noticed that you had a rail of cut off jean shorts. The new USA Vogue has a beat up pair of cut-off jean shorts priced at $175. Why, just why?

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    1. How much? No wonder the kids snap ours up at £15 a pair! x

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  45. Hi Vix, I'm so glad you made more money, but I'm with you on the whole corporate thing. Events become less of a community feel and more crowded with less character. New VW's versus the vintage is a good example. You do look so cute in that aqua maxi!

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  46. Hi Vix, I'm so glad you made more money, but I'm with you on the whole corporate thing. Events become less of a community feel and more crowded with less character. New VW's versus the vintage is a good example. You do look so cute in that aqua maxi!

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    1. Thanks, Cherre! If I wanted corporate I'd have stayed in hospitality but life's all about having fun. xxx

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  47. Clever you for rescuing Ex Glasto gumboots, cleaning and on selling them!! Your stall always look so good and tempting, no wonder you do so good. Enjoy your next event.

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    1. Thanks, Sue! Recycling at it's finest! xxx

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  48. Hi there Vix, just a note to say I hope you and your Most Troublesome Hip are doing ok? Xx

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    1. Hi JP! Its not too bad at all at the moment, thank you! xxx

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  49. Such a shame that the weather was so cold and wet for you. We have found that some of the VW festivals are not as good anymore. We have been to this one a few times and it is amazing http://www.vintagenostalgiashow.co.uk/, felt like there were more old VWs than some of the VW festivals.

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    1. I've heard mixed reports about Vintage Nostalgia but it might be worth a visit next year! We're giving Camper Calling a go this Summer - mostly because ABC are headlining! xxx

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    2. I've been several times - 2013, 2014 and 2015 - and loved the first two but didn't enjoy 2015 as much as it's started to get bigger. When it started it definitely leaned more towards the 50s/rocknroll side of things plus a decade either side, for attendees as well as entertainment, whereas it covers a broader range of eras now, and I did feel last time that it was attracting people who just fancy an interesting, family-friendly festival as much as the more serious vintage crowd. So it probably would do better business for Kinky now than it did when it started up!

      Also, my feelings about the last time I went are probably coloured by the fact that we were stuck next to some right selfish tossers who were noisy all night and kept stoking up their stupid fire-thingy too close to our tent; I woke up to burn holes in the tent and was glad it had rained or I might have ended up covered in burning fabric. You'd be trading so would be in a git-free area...

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    3. I remember your blog post about your horrible campsite neighbours, that's enough to put anybody off the event.
      I've just had a look at the 2017 website and they're open to enquiries for trader bookings already. Might be worth a question or two. xxx

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  50. Your booth/stall always looks so awesomely inviting! From the eye-catching signage to your expertly displayed wears, you guys are such fantastic vintage sellers and I'm sure the festival circuit is enriched and bettered by presence.

    xoxo ♥ Jessica

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    1. Thanks, Jessica. It takes an age to get the pitch how we want it, by the end of Summer we'll be happy! xxx

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