Wednesday, 8 September 2021

The End of the Road, 2021


When we took our stall down after End of the Road 2019 little did we know that it would be two years to the day before we sold to the public again. In the height of the pandemic, we couldn't get our heads around the thought of ever being around crowds of people again but happily, last weekend, we were back in the Dorset countryside alomgside 15,000 festival-goers, drinking, dancing, hugging strangers and selling vintage clothes like the last nineteen months had all been a bad dream. I'm still wearing my festival wristband just to remind myself that it really happened.


We left home at 6am on Wednesday morning, it was still dark with a distinctly Autumnal nip in the air. When we stopped at Michaelwood, halfway into our journey, we realised that it was the first time we'd visited a motorway service station in two years and the furthest Jon had driven since 2019. We arrived at Larmer Tree Gardens at just after 10am, showed our vaccination status and ID to the box office staff and, after catching up with our long-time trading neighbours, Shilpa Silver, spent the rest of the day setting up our pitch. At 9pm, after a bowl of noodles and a stiff drink, we collapsed into bed and slept until 8am. 





The End of the Road festival opens to the public on Thursday afternoon. Usually, we don't see many customers before 6pm and spend the day exploring the site & hanging out with our trader mates but, from the minute the gates opened at 1.30pm, we were inundated with customers. By the time we'd rolled down the shop front at midnight, we'd smashed all previous first-night takings records.






Friday continued in the same vein and we were busy as soon as we rolled up the shop front at 10am. It was so exciting to catch up with regular customers, many of whom were wearing clothes they'd bought off us two, three, four and even seven years ago!


Festivals are a bit like airports, it's never too early for a beer. The Kinky Melon bar opens at 2.30pm and the first drink of the day always tastes so good!



The vast majority of shoppers leave wearing their purchases (that's why I'm so particular about laundering our stock) although we were so busy we only had time to photograph a handful of festival-goers in our wares. The shaggy cardi, bought along with an early 1970s Topshop at Peter Robinson maxi dress, was one of the first sales. The 1990s faux suede maxi coat was purchased from us back in 2019 and the beautiful buyer has worn it non-stop, this year she snapped up some 1970s heeled wellies and a 1980s cotton velvet bolero with puffed shoulders. We loved how well our 1850 Viyella tartan waistcoat went with Roro's Vivienne Westwood kilt and so did he, he left the shop wearing it.

This couple fell for this pair of 1960s Sammy pure silk pyjamas and some 1950s braces and agreed to share them. Simona snapped up one of our 1980s mohair hand knits which matched her gorgeous 1970s printed cotton dress a treat and the lady at the end always buys something from us, this year it was a 1980s sequinned silk cocktail top.


Dean bought the boots from us in 2019, this year he snaffled a 1950s collared waistcoat in worsted wool. Our blonde bombshell bought another of our 1980s mohair jumpers along with a limited edition Adidas top and this incredible 1960s plush pea coat in retina-searing lime green.



I bet Grayson Perry would have loved how cool this chap looked in this 1960s sugar pink maxi dress he bought from us.


These gorgeous girls are regulars. This year Frances purchased the strappy Estevez for Saks, Fifth Avenue maxi dress, a 1960s Tissavel fake fur and a Welsh wool tapestry maxi cape. Her friend in the middle bought the silk chiffon Jean Allen number (which was mine for many years). The lady on the end bought the cherry blossom chiffon maxi back in 2016 and still gets inundated with compliments every time she wears it.



Saturday was another busy day and with having to take our lateral flow tests and wait 30 minutes for the result we didn't even manage to take a photo of each other outside the shop. (Result? Negative!) Here's another regular customer, lovely Nicky, who we've known for a few years. This year she treated herself to a 1970s Sears' cotton prairie blouse and an incredible 1970s London boutique label sundress printed with hydrangeas, dahlias and dandelions. 

Like the previous evening, by the time the main headliners came on stage (Damon Albarn on Friday, the wonderful Sleaford Mods on Saturday) business had slowed to a trickle so we rolled down the shop front and spent a couple of hours exploring the festival.


We love wandering and spotting all our old favourites. Mr Fox, the bear on a bicycle, the ship bar, the stage in the forest set up like a grandma's front room, the karaoke kiosk and the woodland disco.


The art installations are always gorgeous. The origami birds were made from the EotR 2020 festival programmes which, of course, never happened. The plants in illuminated test tubes, suspended within the Victorian folly opposite the Garden stage, were particularly magical.



 Despite the forecast being abysmal, the weekend's weather turned out to be utterly glorious - as it often is at End of the Road. I'd packed Autumnal gear and boots but with the front and back of the trading tent rolled up it was deliciously breezy in our little spot between our living space and the shop and, despite the 24°C heat, I was just right in my cotton dresses. 
 

Traditionally festival Sundays are slow but not this year. People came back for clothes they'd fallen in love with on Thursday night and when they'd discovered they'd sold had another look and bought other things instead. 


The Woods stage is directly opposite our pitch so although we get a brilliant view it's lovely to wander down further and be in the thick of it, all the more so after nineteen months spent in near-isolation. How I've missed crowds! 




Sunday's headliner was British rapper, Little Simz, who was phenomenal.












At 10pm we rolled down the front for the last time, packed what little stock we had left (we'd sold over two-thirds of it) and tumbled into bed. On Monday morning we counted the takings, squealed with delight (best festival trading ever), took the stall down in 27°C heat, hugged our festival friends goodbye and at midday headed back home to Walsall (and the lads). 


What an incredible weekend! We loved every moment and I think everyone else did, too - next year's tickets sold out in ONE MINUTE!!!

See you next year, End of the Road.

38 comments:

  1. What a phenomenal weekend for you both. I am very pleased for you. I hope all had a great time, and all are safe and healthy in the weeks to come. I forget form your posts of old-do you sleep in Gilbert, or do you have a little tent behind your stall? I really want to camp more-but as I age, rethinking my lodging so wondering if we just get a blow-up bed for the back of the Equinox, or camping cots. No more ground sleeping for me! When is your next opportunity? I will love following your restock shops.

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  2. Oh how fun-fun-fun-fun-fun, Vix!!!! Looks like my kind of event, for sure. The COVID cases in the United States are 300% higher now than a year ago, with 2x higher deaths, so I wouldn't dare go to something like this over here. But oh, to dream!! Thank you for these glorious pictures. ~Andrea xoxoxo

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  3. I've been keeping my fingers crossed that you had good weather. Glad to hear that you had a great trading weekend and a thoroughly lovely time.

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  4. I am so glad you had a great weekend both for the business and yourselves. Stay well and have fun restocking the shop. When is the next event?

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  5. Yay fantastic. So good to see you doing what you do best and having a ball doing it.
    I’m clapping my hands with glee for you both whoop whoop xxx

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  6. Fabulous! Glad you enjoyed it and that it was your best selling festival yet!
    Plus the sun shone for you too! Happy days.

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  7. OMG You live on another planet to me. Our little country is still battling with Delta but only one portion. 😊 The rest of us are level 2. Our brilliant Jacinda Odern PM has got rid almost of a devastating wipeout of all of us bless her. So very thrilled you had such a wonderful time. Hard to believe. So happy for you. Our news is just be careful for the whole time. One forgets there is gaiety and fun and living. Sooo happy for you in this uncertain time. Must be lovely to go to bed tired and wake up happy. What a great posting to read when alone in the middle of the night. ❤️❤️❤️🥰

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    1. I can’t believe my computer jumped. Our Prime Minister is JACINDA ARDERN in NewZealand.

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  8. Good on you both!! Evening Vix, great to hear it all went well and boy you better get re-stocking girl for the next one! I bet you slept so well and I bet it seemed surreal! Big fat hugs Shazxx great pics by the way!

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  9. Welcome back Vix! Great to hear you had a successful trading weekend and got to see some music in between. Don't all your dandy regulars look brilliant!!! I think I would be hanging out at the stage in the forest that looks like grandma's living room. Love the test tube plant installation too. Lulu xXx

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  10. Oh what a lovely reintroduction to festivals and Kinky Melon back in business :)

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  11. So glad it went brilliantly and that you enjoyed the experience! Arilx

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  12. Hello Vix, lovely to say hi to you again at EOTR, really good that you did so well with your sales etc. Pity I don't have the figure for your lovely retro clothes -
    best wishes - Jill x

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  13. What a brilliant weekend! I knew you'd sell well, that's what I was saying about running out of stock.
    Thank goodness you managed to pack so much! Everyone looks fab in their purchases.
    The festival looks wonderful. I'm so happy it was able to go ahead.
    A bit of normality at last 🙂 xxx

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  14. So fantastic for you both!! Yay!!!! Life is back xxx

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  15. What a fantastic event and what a great sales opportunity for you two, well earned, I bet you worked your socks off - when I visited your stall way back I was too shy to pick anything out, let alone try it on! won't make that mistake again - you had some amazing things there (pea green coat looked fun) hope you have a well earned rest and at least you won't have to water the garden - its going to be torrential for few days! Betty x

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  16. This looks absolutely amazing! If there were still tickets available for next year I'd be going based on your photos alone. Congrats on breaking your records!

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  17. I'm so happy for you that it went well. That's really wonderful.

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  18. Gosh, that sounds like tremendous fun and a great success on every level. You must both be exhausted now and I hope you enjoy a few days rest whilst apologising to The Lads for abandoning them 😉.

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  19. an incredible weekend indeed!!
    sounds like you both had tons of fun and kinky melon huge success! wonderful!
    i did not miss the crowds actually - but i love to see your photos of all the magic in the dark - i just have to imagine the sound....
    xxxxx

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  20. A gazillion miles away from my parochial little life, with only a cardboard postman for company!! lol So glad it was so lucrative for all you and Lord Jon's massive efforts - I was knackered just reading about packing and unpacking the van! xxx

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  21. So happy to hear you had a fantastic time trading at the festival. Who says you cannot mix business and pleasure? So great you had lots of sales. It must have been very satisfying seeing old customers still wearing clothes purchased from your store years back and having the chance to reconnect with them as with other traders.
    I loved seeing all the photos of you two and your customers!

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  22. Absolutely delighted to see TEOTR festival met your expectations! The new Kinky Melon tent is literally a large improvement over its predecessor: more space for more stock and more customers! And one caught a glimpse of the new changing room in the corner -- very inviting, Jon! Thanks for sharing the pix of you with your customers. No doubt they were relieved to see you back in form!

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  23. Utterly fabulous - so glad you had the best time xx

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  24. Oh Vix, I can feel your happiness clear over here! So nice for you to reconnect with 'old' friends (and sell so much!). Love that greenery in the test tubes, might try to mimic that. I was so excited for you and it reads like the weekend was all you could hope for and more. Here's to more travel in the near future. Karen

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  25. Great to read your positive story as one of the traders who make this festival so great. I see your stall, looks great, but only ever buy liquorice !

    Pleased you did so well and your photos are fantastic. It was a wonderful long weekend.

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  26. Looks fun.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

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  27. What a fantastic few days you have had - loved seeing all the photos.

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  28. Well done , I am so glad you did Uber well. You two deserve it

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  29. Isn’t it strange how we fall back into the same routines no matter how long it’s been. It sounds wonderful and it’s a good indication that life is getting back to normal!!
    Xx

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  30. I'm glad you had such a great time! It looks like everyone had brilliant fun.

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  31. Incredible, I'm glad you're able to get back to a semblance of Normal Life, proof of Vaccination is something they're heading slowly towards here across the Pond, long overdue, we still have a lot of Anti-Vaxxers who are extending our Pandemic and making things dismal. Loved coming Virtually to the Festival, your Booth looked amazing and your Customers such Fun!

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  32. Wow, what a crazy few days you had there, Vix! I thoroughly enjoyed catching up and living vicariously through you. I do not do "fests" as I can't handle the crowds at all, but I love reading about your adventures. Love your fun looks, and so happy to see folks getting into dressing up again! Woo hoo!

    Enjoy a calm and relaxing weekend - Dr. Sheila prescribes some cheeky beers, lots of Scandi-noir telly and chilling with Jon and the lads.

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  33. Wow! I'm thrilled it was such a successful weekend for you. I imagine it must have been quite an emotional experience to be back at a festival once again. I keep trying to persuade Lily it would be a good idea but she's not buying into it...yet. X

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  34. I'm so glad you had a successful festival and sold so much stock. I'm still not ready to be around crowds, even when they are outdoors, but it's nice to see people enjoying some semblance of pre-covid normalcy.

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  35. How much fun you and Jon had! I'm jealous (but happy that you two can do this)! I recognised your purple Jean Allen dress right away! How unusual to see you clothes on someone else but I guess you're used to that. X

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  36. So glad to hear that not only all went swimmingly and you had a great time, but that it was your best festival trading to date as well. I admit to doing a double take when I saw that lady wearing your Jean Allen dress, as I saw you wearing it in person when we met in Chester! xxx

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Lots of love, Vix