Tuesday 31 July 2018

Going Loco - Indietracks 2018

On Friday morning at just after 8am we set off to Indietracks, the festival which combines indie music with vintage steam trains and is held at the Midland Railway Museum in Derbyshire. When you spend a large part of your life working outside you become mildly obsessed with the weather and our constant visits to the BBC weather website over the previous few days had told us to expect sporadic showers & a fresh breeze but for it to remain warm and on Friday it certainly was, by lunchtime the thermometer in our tent registered 38° degrees. Not that the heat troubled us, we set up in record time.

Testing out our changing room in my work wear!

After a quick once over with the wet wipes we changed, grabbed something to eat, cracked open the booze and rolled open the shop front ready for the gates to open at 5pm.

The evening was balmy, business was brisk and headliners, The Lovely Eggs, sounded amazing. By the end of their set the heavens opened and most of the festival goers retreated to the bar, returned to the campsite or jumped on the festival train back to their respective hotels. We shut up shop and tumbled into bed only to be awoken in the early hours by torrential rain and thunder so loud the van was shaking.

Unlike Cornbury and Larmer Tree, the Indietracks gates don't open to the public until 11am and in previous years Jon & I take the opportunity to explore the site for a couple of hours. This year it was so windy and cold we stayed firmly put watching Matt, the sound engineer, battling the elements to ensure the speakers on the main stage could withstand the gale force winds. The wind finally dropped to be replaced by torrential rain and plummeting temperatures....arghhh!

We were kept busy selling jackets, scarves and old skool sportswear to festival goers caught out by the inclement weather. Nat (above with her partner, Sarah) is a longstanding Kinky Melon customer, this year she snapped up this super funky 1980s silk Peck & Peck power jacket.

The Indie kids are made of stern stuff and braved the inclement weather.

Luckily - come rain or shine- our wellies & coats are always in the van. Not expecting it to be quite as cold neither of us had to foresight to pack anything else warm  - Jon borrowed the hat and the tracksuit top from the rails but ended up selling both items to desperate festival goers later in the day.

When I packed this psychedelic nylon maxi (bought from a chazza last week) I was a bit concerned that it might be a bit sweaty to wear, how wrong I was, I was bastard freezing! The good thing was that at least the synthetic fabric dried quickly - no soggy hem for me.

Super cool Parisian band French Boutik spent ages browsing our rails, leaving with a decent haul of vintage goodies (including the 1970s metallic belted leather jacket and Peter England paisley scarf seen worn below). Merci, mes amis!

Despite the weather the Saturday day tickets were a sell-out and the festival was buzzing. Many hardy folk ignored the rain and danced to the bands performing on the main stage whilst others made their way to the indoor Church and Engine Shed stages or were entertained by bands performing on the steam trains. The craft tent offered everything from bolo tie making to fanzine workshops and, new for this year, the Indie Kids tent hosted an under 5's disco playing everything Indie from the B-52s to The Smiths (those children are going to grow up to be so cool).

Saturday night headliners, British Sea Power, were brilliant. We did have plans of going to the indie disco (the adult one!) later but were so cold we went to bed fully clothed instead.

Sunday saw yet more rain, a trip to the Portaloos was an ordeal in itself with both of us returning to the tent looking like someone had thrown us in a wind tunnel and chucked a bucket of water over us. I'm glad I'd packed my crochet, yet again exploring was out of the question. Jon did a happy dance when he discovered an old pair of white jeans stuffed in the bottom of our overnight bag, no more cold knees!

As I'd only packed halterneck dresses I borrowed this cotton fully-lined maxi dress with sleeves from the rails. 

Courtesy of Mathew Schwartz

Not surprisingly the site was very quiet for the first few hours but eventually the festival goers emerged from their tents and made it to the arena to watch the likes of Wolf Girl and Boyracer

 At 6pm the rain stopped, the sun came out and it finally felt warm and my Thomas The Tank Engine dress got its annual airing much to everyone's delight.

You may remember the gorgeous Jude from Indietracks 2016 (here)

We're crap at selfies!

After Blood Honey closed the main stage we rolled down the shutters, poured ourselves another drink and packed up the stock, setting the alarm for 7am so we could take down the stall, drive home, wash and spend the rest of the day in 'Spoons.

Despite the wind, the rain and the horrible cold we had an absolute blast, trade was brilliant and takings far exceeded the past five years. Our vintage clobber is now gracing the backs of Indie kids as far afield as Paris, Rome, Madrid, Buenos Aires, Vermont and Newcastle Upon Tyne. Let's hope bloody Brexit doesn't spoil the fun for this wonderfully multi-national festival.

See you in 2019, Indietracks!

We've got next weekend off which is just as well, we need to do some serious vintage shopping.

Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday.

Tuesday 24 July 2018

Two Go Wild in Dorset - The Larmer Tree Festival, 2018

After a day at home, at 5am on Wednesday morning we climbed back into the van and made our way through the counties of Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire finally arriving at our destination, the heart of rural Dorset, some four and a half hours later.

We set up in just under six hours and then sat chatting with Mandy, our Cornbury neighbour for the last four years until the early start got the better of us and we retired for the night.

If you think you've seen the Larmer Tree Gardens on my blog before, you have! The venue also plays host to End of the Road, the festival where Jon and I have both traded and gone to as punters for many years. Although Larmer Tree has been going for 27 years it's the first time we'd been and it was quite odd to be in such a familiar location but for the layout to be so different. Despite being held in the same spot there's a massive difference between the two festivals, while EOTR caters for an alternative - 6Music listening - crowd and has a capacity of 15,000 Larmer Tree is more of a mainstream family festival with a capacity of less than half. At Larmer Tree, unlike EOTR, festival goers have the option to buy day tickets, perfect for those who don't do camping.

On Thursday morning we put the finishing touches to the pitch and went off to explore the woods. 

Like End of the Road, there's lots of wonderfully quirky things to see and, as always, it's all the more fabulous to have the place virtually to ourselves before the paying public arrive. Although Larmer Tree's resident peacocks were very vocal we failed to spot a single bird. 

After a light lunch and quick change we rolled up the shop front in readiness for the hoards to arrive through the main gates at 3pm.

We'd been warned that Thursday was a quiet day for trade - and it was - but we made a few decent sales including the 1980s baby blue bomber jacket, a 1960s St Michael black slip (which the girl who bought it chose to wore as a dress) and the red rayon Hawaiian shirt which all three customers insisted on wearing immediately. The wired vintage fabric headbands I'd made the day before we left for Larmer Tree also went down a storm (wearing one always helps!)

Finally by midnight the customers made their way back to the campsite, leaving us to close up for the night and tumble into bed.

By 10am on Friday morning we were ready for the onslaught. I'm wearing a 1960s psychedelic Bollywood pyjama suit (a birthday pressie from Curtise years ago) and Jon's in a West African print shirt.

Opposite our pitch in the big top a ukulele orchestra kept the crowds entertained playing indie classics. I'm not usually a fan of the ukulele but really enjoyed listening to new renditions of everything from The Primitives, The Stone Roses and The Undertones.

This stylish chap called in to show us how happy he was with the 1950s Empire-made leisure shirt - one of two he'd bought from us the night before. We loved seeing it teamed with the canvas camo kilt (big in this year's festival style stakes). 

This gorgeous girl intends to wear the 1980s leather flying jacket she found on our rails when she backpacks around Canada later in the year.

Although we'd set the alarm a bit later on Saturday morning, the squawking from the resident macaws had us up early but we wouldn't have missed the magical sight of them flying overhead for the world.

Tania sent me this racy 1970s maxi ages ago (like Sunday's silver dress, another Bernshaw creation). The diamonte cat's ears were from Mandy's stall.

Our first customer of the day was the gorgeous redhead below who snapped up a 1960s suede fringed waistcoat. She popped in later with her mum to show us how she'd styled it up for Saturday night.

Talking of nights out, leaving Jon to close the stall I ran off to meet up with Mandy and Caroline and see First Aid Kit, the Saturday night headliners. After dancing around barefoot (unless it's really wet I rarely wear shoes at festivals) we met up with Jon and sat chatting with fellow traders David & Katie until the small hours.

Sunday was a scorcher. Although the day tickets were sold out it was very quiet in the Global Market (our trading area) as most punters chose to take shelter from the incredible heat in the woods.

This time it was Jon getting requests from people desperate to buy the clothes off his back. I bought him this 1960s Luvisca leisure shirt from my friend Mel at Moseley Vintage Fair last month (where I'd also bought the 1970s liquid silver maxi by Bernshaw that I'm wearing, back in the depths of winter).

Here's festival first-timer Georgia and her mum so happy in their Kinky Melon purchases (a 1970s cotton caftan and a 1980s sequin embellished silk dress) that they wore them two days running. In fact so many festival goers called into our stall after asking them where they'd bought their incredible outfits and being pointed in our direction that we should have paid them a commission in sales!

I wandered over to the main stage to catch some action.

....And called into my friends' shops along the way.

Corinne's stall IIRATTIC (which stands for If I ran away to the imaginary circus),  Cornbury neighbour Mandy's Chameleon dresses (which she designs herself), some super cool skull rings spotted on David and Kate's pitch Suay and one of the many stalls offering henna .

Tim and Caroline of the Glamping Shop and fabulous festival wings at Kuccia.

Oh look, more Kinky Melon purchases - Becky's wearing her 1960s sunglasses and Tim's rocking a Cuban guayabera.

Jessica is a professional singer, next month she'll be spending a year on board a round the world cruise, entertaining the passengers. She popped in every day to spread glitter and to make us smile. Nobody had shown any interest in my huge Barbie pink straw hat so I decided to keep it - their loss, my gain!

We loved our neighbouring stall, Kuccia. Owner Soraya (sizzling hot in the sequinned leotard) has previously collaborated with Topshop and clothed many celebs including the likes of Beyonce and Rita Ora. Her Mum was absolutely brilliant and living proof that age is no barrier to rocking the festival look. The fake fur trimmed sequinned kimono I wore on Saturday night is a Kuccia design and I bloody love it! 

At 9pm we closed the stall, packed the stock and sat with our trader friends on a blanket, drinking mugs of Moroccan mint tea and exchanging festival stories beneath an inky blue starry sky until the early hours. Yesterday morning we were up at 7am, disassembled the stall and headed back through five counties home to Walsall.  

Big love to all who bought, visited our stall and chatted to us over the weekend and a special bonjour to the lady who reads my blog over in the Languedoc.  

Today is only our second day at home in a fortnight. I've been up since silly o'clock and have already done three loads of washing and restocked the van. Next stop....Indietracks!

Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday & Judith, The Style Crone, Hat Attack #61.