Weyfest – one off the bucket list

Neither of us had ever been to a multi-day music festival and we both had put attendance at one on our “bucket lists”. We had  missed the Wickham festival in early August, which was a real shame as it was close to home. Fiona spotted the Weyfest festival advertised and after checking the line up and the location we decided to buy tickets. Weyfest is held outside the village of Tilford in Surrey, which is about an hour away. Despite it being “out of county” we bought the various tickets, loaded our stuff into the ‘van, including  sufficient food and alcohol, topped up with clean water and headed off up the A3M on Friday morning, arriving at Tilford shortly after midday.

We had decided against paying for electric hookup (£36 for 3 nights! ) preferring to  rely on our leisure battery having sufficient charge to last the 3 days.

The campervan/motorhome park was no more than 200 metres from the main stage so we could sit out in the sunshine and still hear headline music from our camping pitch.

Weyfest is held at the Museum of Rural Life, which was a bit of a find in itself. Lots to visit there, including a prefab house, with all original fixtures and fittings. The museum also has some fascinating collections of craftsmens’ tools from a bygone age. We each noticed a resemblance to our Dads’ sheds/ garages. A real piece of nostalgia there. Also, there were modern day craftspeople, demonstrating spinning, and needlework. Not quite rural life, but there was a also a Dr Who exhibition which included real Daleks and Cyber men, as well as other props. Oh, and there is a small railway, which runs round the site- we of course had a ride on that.

Friday afternoon saw us take a wander around the venue to get our bearings and we had some tasty Nepalese curry from a stall. Later, we enjoyed the sounds of Mike Sanchez. After a break back at the van, we strolled  back to  watch and hear the music of Jeramiah Ferrari and finally some sounds of the 80’s when the Buzzcocks blasted out their repertoire.

The Buzzcocks were so loud that I don’t think I could hear properly until the following morning. I was beginning to wish that I had brought ear defenders or earplugs to protect my hearing.

Saturday morning was nice and dry, and  after enjoying a cooked breakfast in the morning sunshine we lazed around until 11:30 or so for the music to start. There were 4 stages all running concurrently, each with a different genre of music so there was plenty to choose from.  We spent a fair bit of time at the ‘Old Kiln’ stage, which offered music of a laid-back variety.

Harry Baker knocked out a number of soul/funk/chillout numbers. He was excellent and we thoroughly enjoyed his set.

Mid afternoon saw us head towards the main arena. Eddie and the Hot Rods were due on stage at 14:30 and we’d decided to give them a go.

Blooming excellent!

Eddie etc were superb. They were on stage for over an hour and really had the crowd dancing. Good to see a band who clearly still love performing. ‘Do anything you want to do’…..


From the comfort of the van we heard ‘Inglorius’ and ‘Brother Strut’ as we ate our dinner, a fine pre-prepared chicken curry, which was accompanied by a superb rose wine from the Carr Taylor vineyard that we visited back in July.

Saturday evening – this is the one I had come for: Alison Moyet!. And she didn’t disappoint. She really belted out those old Yazoo hits and many of her later solo hits as well as some new material.

An hour and a half of Alison Moyet. She started with one of my favourites “Nobody’s Diary” and it got even better from there.

I could have listened to her all night. Superb!

The sky was lovely and clear on Saturday night and the temperature plummeted;  it was freezing out in the countryside. We woke to a clear blue sky but rain was forecast for the evening.

The Sunday line-up included Ralph McTell and Jools Holland and numerous other acts that we would try and see.

We headed back over to the arena in the early afternoon after a cooked brunch. The acts playing on the Old Kiln stage again impressed us with performances from ‘Cousin Avi’ (funk/soul/pop) and ‘Jungle Brew'(ska/funk/swing/latin) after which we headed back to the main stage to listen to Ralph McTell.

Ralph played a number of his songs from the 70’s including ‘Streets of London’. By now the rain had started and brollies were being deployed as seen in the photo.

After Ralph, it was back to the van for a chilli con carne and more wine while listening to Hayseed Dixie from afar, and then back to the Old Kiln stage to listen to ‘Gilmore and Roberts’ (contemporary folk/acoustic).  It was hard pulling ourselves away from this group so we stayed for their finale and then rushed over to catch the start of Jools Holland.

Jools and his orchestra were sheltered from the cold rain, unlike the rest of us. Hmmm, I’m not into boogie -woogie music but Fiona was really enjoying herself.

By now the rain was torrential and only God knows how many hundreds of people stood in the downpoor for 90 minutes listening to Jools with his Rhythm and Blues orchestra and guests including Chris Difford from Squeeze, and Ruby Turner.

It continued to rain until the early hours of the following morning. Hundreds of cars, vans etc leaving the grassy field parking,  together with inches of rain,  equals loads of soft, slippery mud. On my way back from the shower block I spied a MoHo slipping around in the mud, unable to gain traction to leave the field and thought “I hope that doesn’t happen to us”. Bugger, it did happen to us. Embarrassingly, we had to be pushed out of the mud. Grateful thanks to our fellow campers for that one.

So, our first music festival, and we chose a good one. A great atmosphere, lots to do and see, as if the music wasn’t enough. Weyfest has been running since 2007, and there are many return visitors. Lots of people wore t-shirts from previous Weyfests….that moment when you think “ooh, I’d love to see them live!”…oh well, we’ll be waiting to see next years’ line-up, hopefully we’ll be back.

English wines? Why not?

For my 60th birthday Louise gave me a ‘Vineyard Tour and Tasting with lunch for two‘ voucher that I could use at any one of a number of vineyards in the south of England. We looked at the map and decided to use it at the Carr Taylor vineyard which is found a few miles north of Hastings in East Sussex. I booked the visit for the 12th July and then searched for a place to stay nearby for a couple of nights as we intended to stay in the ‘van and use our bikes to get to the vineyard. We chose the Meadow View campsite as it seemed to be closest to the vineyard, and we reserved our space for the 2 nights.

Our drive to East Sussex was uneventful; it was dual carriageway for most of the way. The last 12 miles or so to the campsite was not so easy; our satnav took us cross country along some very narrow and steep roads. Thankfully the oncoming traffic was fairly light and gave way to let us pass.

Parked up and ready for the tour of the vineyard

The weather had been scorching for the previous couple of weeks. A change was forecast. It started raining shortly after we arrived at the campsite and it rained very heavily all night. This was a worry for our cycle ride. Thankfully, the rain stopped by about 6am.

Hmmm…the bike ride was a little harder than anticipated. The terrain around Sedlescombe/Westfield is very hilly and not brilliantly signposted. One wrong turn and we ended up cycling about 4 miles further than intended. Somehow, we managed to arrive on time.

The tour of the Carr Taylor vineyard itself was well worth the visit. The tour group was about 20 strong, the guide was very knowledgeable, explaining how the vines were planted, which varieties were grown and why, and he had heaps of interesting information about how a vineyard and wine producer works throughout the seasons.

The wine tasting was an eye opener for me. I had only tasted English wine once, and that was enough. My experience was limited to tasting an English red wine from a local vineyard. Carr Taylor doesn’t produce red wines, the reason being that we don’t get enough sunshine in England to ripen the grapes, so they stick to white and rose wines, and to fruit wines including apples, elderberry and others.

The tour lasted for a couple of hours but the time passed quickly as our guide was very  entertaining. It concluded with a wine tasting- then lunch with a glass of still white wine.The tasting comprised  sparkling brut white and sparkling rose, followed by still white and still rose and then a selection of their fruit wines. Carr Taylor is planted with mostly German sounding grape varieties as well as some Pinot and Chardonnay Their white and rose wines, and the fruit wines, are really very good, so good in fact that we bought a bottle of rose and two bottles of apple.

Tucking into the buffet lunch complete with stilton, pate and local wine.

The cloud had disappeared by now and it was starting to warm up a bit. We had decided to buy a couple of bottles of the local produce and were discussing with the tour guide how to get it back to the ‘van when he mentioned that the vineyard operates a ‘BritStop’ camp site on the premises. So, we could have parked in their campsite/carpark just yards away from the tour start point! Oh, yes, and we discovered there had been a Groupon offer at the campsite…missed that, too! Oh well, at least the vineyard tour was a gift!

These three beauties will go into the wine fridge for a while, but they won’t have to wait too long before being opened.

So, we loaded 3 bottles into the pannier bag and attached it to my bike, then it was back to the van for an afternoon relaxing in what was left of the summer sunshine. 

Very tasty home made chilli accompanied by French cider for dinner. The chilli had been in the van freezer since the beginning of June so was ready to be eaten.