By Kate McCarthy Bedward of Classic Volks & York Classic VWs
After another week of checking the weather forecast every 10 minutes and seeing nothing but rain, rain and more rain we were beginning to wonder if this year’s Camper Jam would go ahead. We were due to set off from York at 2pm on Friday (6th July) and it was constant rain here in York. I called the show organisers in the morning to double check everything was okay and yes, it was very wet and very muddy after another torrential downpour overnight but they would most definitely not be cancelling. I for one had made the decision that as long as it wasn’t cancelled we would be heading down – I had been looking forward to this show for a long time and really din’t want to miss it.
We set off as planned at 2pm, the drive down was dreadful – the rain was pretty much constant throughout the journey, bear in mind we were in our ’69 beetle with wipers that do what they want, and the traffic was very slow with many tailbacks due to accidents and roadworks in different parts. We finally arrived at Weston Park at 7pm but this was not the end of our journey, it took an hour to get into the grounds and onto the camping area ‘Home is Where You Park It’.
We found a dry bit of ground to put the tent, in fact the whole of the area ‘Home is Where You Park It’ was pretty well drained. We had lost a tent pole in the wind at last week’s Volkspower and so I had arranged to pick one up from Lightening Leisure on arrival at the show. So, first stop over to the traders area to find them. The ground as we walked down to where the traders were located was extremely muddy and we were very grateful for the wellies had bought that morning! We found lightening Leisure in a foot of mud, picked up our new pole and went to get our tent up. Once it was up it was time for a wander round to see what there was on site. The first part of the show we came to was a good sized fairground with waltzers, bumper cars, a crazy bull ride, ghost train and much more, this we would definitely be coming back to later! Next there were the food traders and what a selection there was! – from the usual fish & chips and burger stands to Caribbean and vegetarian food, a cous cous stand and noodles amongst many others, spoilt for choice I think you’d say! In among this was a DJ in a campervan playing some great tunes – people were having a fantastic time here dancing away in the mud!
There were 2 very large marquees both with live bands – although The Beat who were supposed to be playing were unable to come due to adverse weather conditions (not as hardcore as us veedubbers I guess!). We had a good look around bumped in to a few friends and had a really nice evening. It was a real shame the The Beat couldn’t make it as many had been looking forward to seeing them, in fact a couple of our club members had only come to this show because they were playing. However, Saturday night’s band 16 Stone Pig were absolutely fantastic, I think I can speak for pretty much everyone that was in that tent to see them when I say, we all had a fantastic time – they played some great covers and got us all dancing and jumping around – videos will be uploaded shortly to our YouTube ‘Classic Volks’. Once they had finished we wandered over to where Druid’s Brew were playing from their split screen campervan – we sat there probably for about an hour, very chilled out acoustic music under a tree, there was a beautiful and relaxed atmosphere, I could have sat there and listened all night. After this we were relaxed and ready for sleep.
Unfortunately on Saturday night the organisers had to make the very difficult decision to not allow any day visitors in on the Sunday – although it had only rained a couple of times during Saturday, the times it did it was very heavy rain and any more vehicles coming in could have made it more difficult to get people out at the end of the show.
We awoke to beautiful sunshine on Sunday morning! So we decided the best course of action would be to have breakfast and then pack up the tent etc in case it decided to rain later. Once packed up we drove down to the show area so that we could get out easily at the end of the show.
The show and shine time was brought forward to give people time to get off the site and get towed off if necessary, some areas were still extremely muddy and this was most like to be the only way they were going to get off. Some of the traders and packed up and gone home before we even go down there – I think they were worried that if it rained again they may be stuck there until Monday – it had been mentioned at some point that this may have to happen, we weren’t sure if this was true of if it was just a rumour, but there were some that didn’t want to take the chance.
The show and shine was of a very high quality, some fantastic campers on show – both old and new, one of my favourites was definitely the split screen high top. Rob Henley with his T5 won best in show (his dogs had also won places in the dog show!), Rob Underwood (of VW Wedding Hire) and his split screen wedding campervan ‘Beryl’ also won a prize as did Rob Newman (of Dubtrips camper hire) with his recently restored split screen ‘Jeremy’ – both of these split screens were immaculate and were restored at Dubtricks of Harrogate, see accompanying photos!
The sunshine did stay all day on the Sunday and it was a beautiful hot day but still very muddy on the showground. We decided to leave after the show and shine to avoid the queues getting off the site as we knew our first stop was the nearest petrol station petrol station!
Despite the weather and the mud I have to say Camper Jam 2012 was a fantastic show and I think the majority of people there would agree that the organisers did a fantastic job keeping the show running and making it an absolutely fantastic weekend! We are already looking forward to next Camper Jam 2013 and come rain or shine we will be there!