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.


  1. First!
    There's so much packed into this fab post! It's great that so many people bought things from Kinky Melon that they so genuinely love. Your silver dress is amazing by the way, and those wings would have been so fun to glide around in. Xxx

  2. wowww, I love so much to see you rocking your festival season!, and looking so fabulous! your own festival outfits (and your happy costumers) are the best advertisements ever!. The people and atmosphere look really lovely and it didn't rain, so it's a total success! Love to see you enjoying all these fabulousness! and also selling lots of amazing clothes, spreading style all over the world!

  3. So much festival fun----I especially love your white dress & the cat ears!!!! And the silver disco number!!

  4. scorching hot - not only the weather!
    your stall looks so very inviting, gorgeous to see all the happy customers. and you in that fab dresses! so sweet and cool with sparkly cat ears and rainbow wings....
    here´s for another fantastic festival!! xxxxx

  5. This looks like a much more relaxed venue.

    The cool thing about your job is you work hard for your money but you have so much fun doing it! : )


  6. Bonjour from the Languedoc, Vix! I sent my friend Richard to say hi once I saw you were there and so thrilled to get a mention! I love your blog but have always been shy. Love your festival posts and seeing all the glorious outfits. So lovely that people come back to show you how they style their purchases.
    Is it possible to buy your headbands online? I would love one!
    I'll be sure to keep commenting now.

  7. I can see why you and Jon are your best adverts - you both look amazing, and so happy in vintage! Thanks for sharing this Festival with us. And PS - love the cat's ears, xox


  8. What a wonderful weekend you’ve all had. I love how anything goes outfit wise. It’s so nice to see so many people doing their own thing.
    A million years ago I made a short black version of your silver dress and caused quite a stir in it as it was quite daring at the time, especially in this country pub we used to go in heehee xxx

  9. It sounds a lot like Latitude.
    It's lovely that customers come back to see you and show you their purchases. I love that sequin embellished silk dress, and how amazing does Georgia look in it? I have to say that Caroline's (Glamping shop) pink maxi has my attention.
    You look fabulous with wings Vix

  10. Every lady should own some wings :) So many great looks!

  11. Love your photos of festivals Vix....so bright and full of glorious colour.
    Today I am green.....green with envy that you saw First Aid Kit. I love them and have all of their albums.

  12. The Gardens are beautiful! And you look fantastic in every single outfit - accessorized with cat's ears and pink hat no less! I always love how favorably you talk about people - your customers and colleagues, a sure sign of someone who is comfortable within herself.

    Lots of love!

  13. The silver evening gown has to be the ultimate in festival dressing but I know you'd wear it to do the shopping as well. I'm glad it went well. I love the idea of family centred festivals...if only I had a family willing to do festivals ;)

  14. That looks like the kind of festival I could actually attend! Not too crowded, a little bit more chill. I am a HUGE fan of First Aid Kit, and would love to see them live someday! I love all your outfits, both yours and Jon's, Vix - you guys are such great ads for your booth. Glad to hear it went well - what a grand adventure!

  15. What a magical setting! The rainbow wings are quite magical too. Love the silver dress and the racy 1970s maxi, and what a coincidence that they're both Bernshaw creations! Glad to hear trade was brisk in spite of the heat. But then again, your stall and stock look so inviting! xxx

  16. what a beautiful place. I have a couple of sets of those wings in my shop. I have no idea who bought them or way. Perhaps we'll stick them in a show some day, they look amazing

  17. Looks like you had a fabulous time ,Hope the next one is just as good xxx

  18. You wore some fabulous festival frocks Vix, especially loving the silver number. Sounds like you both really enjoyed this festival...of course the brilliant weather helps! Xxx

  19. Love your pink two piece - shows off your tiny waist beautifully. Nice to see some of your customers too - stylish ladies!

  20. Check out your gorgeous weather!!! So glad you are having fun in the sun on your festival tour selling so many of your finds and meeting fabulous people. The venue looked amazing!!

  21. Ah this looked like fun. I love the big wings and the blue skirt and halter top with massive flowers is show stoppingly gorgeous, I really love it.
    Hope Indietracks is as good.xxx

  22. I felt exhausted just reading your blog post! So much fabulousness, colour and style! All your outfits were amazing and I love your wired headbands. What a brilliant advertisement for 'Kinky Melon your happy and oh so stylish customers are.

  23. Wow - the weather has been perfect for festivals - no wellies needed at Ely this year! Hoping its the same for next month when we head off to spend 1 year of wedded bliss *vomit* at one of our favourites. Am determined 2019 I will end up in the same field as you two - somewhere!!

  24. That looks like a lovely, laid-back festival. You and Jon are the best walking adverts for wearing vintage. Your dresses are freakin' spectacular!!!!

  25. A veritable fashion feast for the eyes Vix! Explosions of color and fabulousness. So fun to see all the customers in their purchases. And that silver maxi, swoon!


  26. Oooh, it is lovely to see Larmer Tree again after I went there for my friends' wedding in April!!! That's where I saw all the peacocks BUT I never saw the macaws
    Oh, the wings are incrediblee!!! How beautiful they are- my Mum would love a pair!
    Love seeing your amazing attire!!! You rock that silver dress and well, ALL of the fab items. Those pajamas must be wonderful to wear in this hot weather!!!
    I love seeing all your customers in their purchases. Hope you made lots of profit!

  27. Wish I could be there. It all,looks so colourful and such fun.

  28. This post was a feast for the eyes!! You had quite the wardrobe for this festival, I am sure that also enticed punters in. I've been to EOTR, fabulous setting isn't it? Xx

  29. So many fabulous outfits and photos. I loved those wings (not sure what to call them!) with that silver maxi dress...pure magic.

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  31. It's so good to see people having fun! They all look so happy and lovely.

    Isis wings are used by some burlesquers, but they're bloody difficult to work with. Vicky Butterfly uses them amazingly, they're in keeping with her late Victorian-to-Jazz-Age style.


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Lots of love, Vix