Tuesday, 29 August 2017

A Folkin' Great Weekend - Towersey, 2017




As is always the way, by the time we finally get the hang of our stall set-up it's almost the end of the festival season. Those red drapes we made last week don't look half bad, do they?


This was how our pitch looked seven and a half hours after arriving at the Towersey Festival site last Wednesday. After a can of gin and tonic by 10pm we were fit for bed. With the festival due to open to the public at midday and the festivities scheduled to continue through until Monday night it would be the longest running festival we'd ever done. We needed to pace ourselves.


Thursday's weather was as drab and overcast as it had been for pretty much most of the entire month. As is often the case on the first day of a festival, the general public weren't in any rush to shop and the few that ventured into our stall seemed a bit bemused by it all. By the time we'd closed takings were still in double figures. Was bringing our vintage clothing to a folk lovin' crowd going to be a disaster? 

Wearing: Vintage Farah skinnies, Wrangler shirt, Diesel waistcoat (all charity shopped)

When the alarm went off on Friday morning we were met with heat & blazing sun and, on venturing over to the portaloos, discovered that the general public were already up and about despite it being just after 8am. After a quick wet wipe wash and a breakfast of fruit and yogurt we pulled on our finery, rolled up the tent flaps, dragged the rails outside and plonked our deck chairs in the sunshine. 

Wearing: 1970s Prova maxi skirt, used-to-be a sari gypsy top & pom pom choker (both made by me), perspex & neon belt

That's not going to be real vintage, we overheard a passer-by telling her husband, so I invited her in to inspect our stock. I even showed her the manufacturer's label on the maxi skirt I was wearing as she didn't believe something forty-six years old could look so vibrant. They left half an hour later having made two purchases. So much for my initial misgivings, business was brisk, the crowd "got" us and by the time we'd rolled down the shop front on Friday night we'd covered all our costs and could finally relax and enjoy the weekend.
Chin, chin! Jon had to get changed, it was too hot for formal gear! 

I was thrilled when Maureen, a friend I've made through my blog, came over to say hello. I had no idea she was coming to Towersey and recognised her instantly from her Facebook photos. Jon & her husband Ian got on famously when they discovered a mutual love for classic VWs. I've pinched the photo she took of us from her Facebook page. In case you're wondering, with our new healthy regime we don't crack open the booze until 2pm these days. 


Towersey is what we call a proper festival - good clean fun for all ages. There's always something interesting going on and you don't need to move from your chair to catch some cool entertainment. This is the Frumptarn Guggenband, a band made up of musicians of all ages, playing anything from Katy Perry and Beyonce to Oasis and The White Stripes. 


The band hail from Barnsley in Yorkshire. Frumptarn or From Up Town is what Barnsley folk will tell you if you ask them where they live. Several of the band members ended up as customers. 



Wearing: Thomas the Tank Engine maxi dress (made by me from charity shop curtains), Mongolian lamb stole (jumble sale), Frye boots (eBay)

 On Saturday night we managed to stay awake long enough to catch Newton Faulkner's headline set over on the main stage. The weather was incredible, I didn't even need a coat when we went out - something that hasn't happened since we traded at Cornbury way back in early July. I didn't really need to wear my bargain Frye boots but I've become rather attached to them.










Martin our unicorn wore a different outfit every day. The kids loved popping in to see what he was wearing. Sunday's number was this rather snazzy kimono.

Wearing: 1980s Gabicci silk shirt & 1970s Polaroid sunglasses (borrowed from the shop), antiqued leather cap (End of the Road festival, 2015), Pink shorts (retail) 

An August Bank Holiday weekend and no rain! Convinced that the weather was going to be crap I'd only packed a couple of Summery outfits so I had to raid Kinky's rails for something to keep me cool (hooray for selling clothes I love, it's no hardship!) Our wired head bands got such a positive reaction that by the end of the weekend we'd hardly got any left.

Wearing: 1970s handmade patchwork maxi skirt, made-by-me vintage fabric pom-pom trimmed gypsy top & matching wired headband, 1980s Reactalite sunglasses (all borrowed from our rails)

More entertainment on our doorstep. Two different Oxfordshire Morris Dancing troupes, a Ukulele band and a Belgian flag waving act. 



This was yesterday, Bank Holiday Monday.


Yet more glorious weather and another outfit robbed from the rails although the dress was mine originally but had been relegated to the stockroom when it got too tight to be comfortable - it fits me fine now so it's back where it belongs.... in my wardrobe!

Wearing: 1970s batik print maxi dress (reclaimed from the rails) with wired headband (made by me!)

After six days in Towersey (and five days of trading) we were beginning to feel like Oxfordshire residents. Several of the people we'd met at the beginning of the weekend had been back to see us every day and were beginning to feel more like friends than customers.

Just some of the beautiful people

The Towersey festival has been running for 53 years and loads of people we met had been going for decades. We chatted to revellers who hadn't missed a year since the Sixties, thirty-somethings who'd been conceived there, married couples who'd met at the festival and entire generations of families camping en-masse often only seeing one-another once a year. 



The best festivals offer so much more than music.


Towersey had beekeepers running wax candle workshops.


Classes in everything from cross stitch, Zumba, Yoga, crossword puzzling and Zulu dance.


Numerous craft sessions including turning old festival flags into rag teepees.




Towersey's Grand Finale involved an illuminated procession by the villagers. Once they'd passed by we packed up the remaining stock, took down the stall and headed back to Walsall, getting home just after midnight.


So after racking up over 50 hours of trading this weekend we had a nice restful day today? Oh, no! We need to be on site at the End Of The Road Festival tomorrow morning so today's been manic - three loads of washing, unpacking and reloading the van, shopping for supplies, planning outfits and banking the takings. It's been six days since I had a bath or washed my hair, I cannot wait to get in the bathroom.

It's just as well that we love what we do!



Have a fabulous week and see you on the other side!

Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday.

76 comments:

  1. So fun as usual and I love the reclaimed from the rack dress!!!!!!!!

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    1. British festivals are the best especially when they're warm and sunny! xxx

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  2. Wow! What a fun festival! And it was DRY too!
    The Frumptarn band looks like they're from Tijuana not Yorkshire.
    How could that dayglo print skirt not be authentic 70's? Tsk, tsk!
    xox

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    1. Yorkshire meets Mexico - what a crazy combo! xxx

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  3. Wow, you guys work your bloody arses off every summer. I hope you did well by the end of the festival!

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    1. We did although this weekend topped it - I feel like we've earnt our money after the last two weeks! xxx

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  4. It sounds like a brilliant weekend. Festivals have really evolved over the years haven't they.
    Your photos are wonderful the sky in the flag photo looks amazing.
    I loved the look of Frumptown Guggenband and all the stalls ( especially yours) look very inviting. xxx

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    1. Festivals have evolved from being something seen as alternative to becoming an intrinsic part of the British Summer. It's our first folk festival and we liked it! xxx

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  5. Looks like an amazing festival! You'll need another Greek holiday if you carry on like this! Both of you are looking fab....be great to catch up with you soon...xxx
    Trish & Steve xxx

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    1. Hello you lovely pair! Hope your summer's gone well! Greece seems like a dim and distant memory now, time to look at flights to India! xxx

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  6. sound totally gorgeous! peaceful, nice people, the sales went well and even the weather played along!!!
    fingers crossed that "end of the road" will be the same minimum :-)
    the red backdrop for your store looks fab - it lets pop the fine vintage more then it´s doing anyway!
    xxxxx

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    1. It was lovely (and EOTR was even better!)
      That red backdrop definitely makes the clothes stand out, doesn't it? The white background was far too clinical. xxx

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  7. You, young lady, have a crazy amount of energy. What is your secret? I've only done a couple of shows and remember just how much work they are. Yet you are able to go back to back. Amazing! And looking fab the whole time. Love that batik maxi dress.

    Am studying the way your merchandise your booth for future reference! It looks so inviting for shopping :)

    Theresa
    www.vintagestylefiles.com

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    1. Ha! I certainly don't feel all that young after the last couple of weeks - I keep telling myself we can slow down for a fortnight when we get back from London on Sunday night....xxx

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  8. Oooh, I like the red curtains (and of course, the unicorn head). I'm glad to hear the weather behaved for you, and the crowd was nice as well. You look seriously chic for camping all week.

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    1. Thank you! Big glasses and bright clothes hide a multitude of sins! xxx

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  9. It was such a pleasure to meet you and Jon. For our first festival it was so much fun. The different variety of acts and performers meant there was something for everyone.

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    1. It was an absolute pleasure to meet you and Ian (and a delightful surprise). xxxx

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  10. Towersey looks like a proper great festival, and how lovely that the weather behaved for you this once. The entertainment sounds wonderful too, and I am intrigued by the Belgian flag waving act! I love your stall with the red curtain backdrop, and I had to smile when seeing that photo of you and Jon enjoying a well deserved drink, with your feet up on that fluffy carpet! xxx

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    1. I thought of you when i watched those flag waving antics as I'd spotted "Brussel" written on the flag. Have you ever come across it before? xxx

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  11. I went Towersey 13 years ago- such a great little festival!

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    1. Did you?! It is lovely - so friendly and safe! xxx

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  12. Congrats on another successful fest, with a unicorn to boot! Love your Thomas the Train dress. Thanks for your lovely comments on my blog, xox.

    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

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  13. Wow! You guys are so good at focusing and making the most of your festival season.

    It looked like a lovely time and I'm so happy that it was a financial success as well.

    The joys of having all that great inventory to choose from in order to get dressed!

    Hope the next festival is awesome too.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. Thanks, Suzanne! I'm sad it's all over now - knackering but such fun! xxx

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  14. The weather was great this weekend wasn't it, glad you both had a good time at the festival. I can't believe you're off to do it all again tomorrow! xx

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    1. I didn't notice the date clash until both festivals were booked and paid for. I'm amazed we survived! xxx

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  15. What a wonderful festival experience for all who attended! After more than 50 years the current organizers have all the details sorted out: Do like the idea of a parade to end the event with a flourish.

    Martin the Unicorn will be remembered by the kiddies, as will you and Jon in your exotic garb. Delighted that the wired headbands were a hit and that all your hard work in preparing was rewarded. (Odd thought: I'm beginning to wonder if a portable bathhouse facility might be a profitable endeavor...)

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    1. That's what we thought, they've been at it for 53 years, they must know what they're doing!
      I loved how the local villages were involved in the procession, a lovely end to a wonderful weekend. xxx

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  16. The unicorn is brilliant! So whimsical and fun!
    I'm so glad you had a really great time at this festival- good music, good buyers and folk to meet. The wired headbands are a great idea. I love them and I have about 8 in different patterned materials!

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    1. Unicorns are all the rage, aren't they? A couple of tiny kids thought he was real!
      I sold so many wired headbands I had to part with my own. Might have to knock a few more up before London. xxx

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  17. What a super duper festival and in Oxfordshire. I'm thinking 2018 and staying at my sister's so we can join in the fun. I love the sound of all the events. Everything looks so bright and cheerful and Kinky's stand look the best I've seen it. Well done, so glad all your work paid off xxx

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    1. You would both love it! 37 real ales for Phillip and all those craft classes for you! Come!!! xxx

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  18. Sounds like an absolutely fabulous festival. Just like Glastonbury used to be until Greenpeace took over and it went all corporate and the vibe changed *grumps*. You look fabulous as always, such great outfits and your pitch looks amazing. You are so nomadic doing all those festivals but it does sound like such a fun way of life (and bloody hard work). No wonder you took a rain check on the 9 to 5. :) Xx

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    1. It reminded me of the odd fringe bits at Glasto with the wandering performers and loved up crusties!
      Give me a 10am - 11pm shift at a festival over a 9 - 5 any day of the week. xxx

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  19. Bloody excellent August BH weather for once eh? It sounds utterly exhausting but the smiles of your faces say it all. Am I the only one who finds Martin (Fry?)a wee bit menacing? I'm sure he attracted lots of clientele though.
    Loving those brilliant chairs with the drop down side table. Good luck for the next one. xxxx

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    1. You got the Martin connection! Only a few of the adults found him a bit creepy, the kids loved him!
      Wasn't the weather amazing? I wonder if we'd have had half as much fun if it had pissed it down? xxx

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  20. Nice to hear of a successful festival this year after hearing a lot about some bad ones! Loved your line about holding off on the booze until 2pm xx

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    1. Too right, after Truck and some of the horrors I've read about on the festival traders forum on Facebook I was beginning to wonder if the Great British festival had had it's day. So glad it hasn't. Much as I enjoy vintage fairs the festival scene is far more us! xxx

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  21. Yay for a fabulous festival (and the return of the Thomas frock). That looks like the sort of thing that's a really good time for everyone.

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    1. So good to have a day warm enough to give Thomas an outing, he was much admired! xxx

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  22. Hi Vix, what a wonderful time you had! That is a long time to be at a festival. You really lucked out with the weather.
    Have a relaxing rest of the week!
    Robin

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    1. We did, the weather was perfect! Relaxing? Maybe next week! xxx

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  23. It looks brilliant !! I love the unicorn

    Wasn't at a festival but also couldn't believe our luck with the sunny bank holiday weather!!

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    1. It was such a nice way to spend the Bank Holiday Weekend. I couldn't believe the weather! xxx

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  24. What a crazy schedule! But you are such pros and you always look fabulous! :)

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  25. This festival looks like so much fun, helped this time by great weather too. I'm afraid I'd be robbing my racks day and night if I had the kind of stock you do. You and Jon are the best advertising. And I'm glad your headbands sold so well too. I hope you get some rest time in sometime. Oh, and I like your new healthy regime. Heh.

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    1. You'd be welcome to raid our racks any day, Melanie. I'd even throw in a can of gin and tonic! xxx

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  26. My friend has been trying to get us to go to Towersey for a while now. I think you've sold it to us! Enjoy EOTR! (another one for our to-do list!)

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    1. Give it a go, I think you'd love it! xxx

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  27. Vix, this looks like so much fun, and as always I love all of your maxi dresses. Have fun at the next festival. Xxx

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  28. Wonderful post!!! You never fail to take me on a vacation just when it's needed. I'm loving all the pieces you made, interspersed with your vintage treasure. You look particularly svelte and you mention a dress that fits again? Secret? The past (tumultuous!) four years have wreaked havoc on my body (all those comfort foods and beverages!!) plus I'm due for a hip replacement. I know you know. Sending much love to you and Jon. xoxoxo

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    1. A hip replacement? Email me if you need any advice. Best thing that ever happened to me!
      Cutting out the snacking, not eating after 6pm, fruit for breakfast and switching the beer and cider for gin and wine! xxx

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  29. I am jealous of your batik dress, very, and the 24 inch waist it demands :) your unicorn I think should be trademarked in some way or another.

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    1. I was very reluctant to sell it when I couldn't zip it up, I can tell you. So glad I stashed it away at the back of the stockroom! It's been to India with me quite a few times! xxx

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  30. I remember your antics with the unicorn head last year and getting noticed by a certain Martin Fry I do believe!
    Arilx

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    1. You're right! Exactly a year ago Mr Fry sung to us! xxx

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  31. Only when you love what you do you can have such a fun and FINE life as you live, my dear!
    Martin is a perfect mascot for your whimsical business, and the new red "walls" look divine, what a perfect backdrop for your colorful stock!
    Your vibrant blue maxi skirt is so gorgeous, and you are right about the vintage quality that is hard to beat - some of my clothes that was bought only 4 years ago started falling apart already!
    Sounds like a real fun event, have a blast at the last one too! <3

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    1. Thank you, Natalia!
      I think some people are in the mindset that vintage clothes are all rancid fox furs and faded tea dresses - I aim to educate them! xxx

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  32. The weekend was fab wasn't it? You were just down the road from my Mum! She and I were at the Stonor craft fair where we have been going every year since the mid 80's!

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    1. It was glorious! That's good going for a craft fair - 30-odd years. They stick at things in your part of the world! xxx

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  33. Oh thank goodness for a proper festival and decent bank holiday weather! I do love Martin and recognised Maureen's photo of you both. It really does look like a great place to visit. xxx

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    1. It's a great destination for a Bank Holiday weekend, something for all ages! xxx

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  34. I'm worn out just reading about how hard you've been working, glad you get to play a bit too. Holding out till 2pm how very restrained of you lol! I really fancy having a go at a climbing wall. xx

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    1. It's hard being so disciplined when your pitch is opposite the bar which opens at 11am, I can tell you! xxx

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  35. Martin the Unicorn is the perfect mascot for your booth, and he looks good in everything! That does look like an excellent festival - I'm glad you had lots of shoppers over the five days. I would need to sleep for about a day after that, but you and Jon are up and at 'em the next day. Don't know how you do it!

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    1. I didn't find that one day turnaround too bad in the end, I could remember exactly what we'd used up or sold so it was surprisingly easy to pack and restock. Having a break means I forget loads! xxx

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  36. That looks like a fab festival and a lot of fun! It was great (and unusual) that the weather turned out fine for a bank holiday weekend. You and Jon are looking fabulously cool and the wired headbands are marvellous. Love the unicorn!

    I bet you felt about three pounds lighter after a bath/shower...

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    1. Welcome back, Veronica!
      That bath & hair wash after 5 days of wet wipes (and I forgot the Batiste - disaster!) was the best thing ever! xxx

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  37. What a fun colourful posting to view. So glad both me and my iPad are fit enough to enjoy it again.

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    1. Lovely to see you back, Sally! Hope both you and the iPad are fit and well again! xxx

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  38. wouuuu, so lovely to see your colorful stall being appreciated and all those fab customers!, and all the activities, art and music!!
    Glad that you enjoyed some sunny days!
    besos

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