These days, the British summer isn’t so much the silly season, but the time for festivals. Each year, we’re told to pack our tents, pull on our Hunter wellies, muss up our hair and hot-foot it to the nearest green field for a weekend of music and mayhem. Acres of column inches are given over to festival fashion, festival food, festival etiquette, festival celebs, which festival has sold out, grown up or become the new kid on the block.
But with the myriad of festivals from behemoth to boutique is there a danger that they’re all becoming a bit, well, samey? Yes, indeed there is says Wayne Hemingway, of Red or Dead and Hemingway Design. Which is why he and wife Geraldine have come up with Vintage at Goodwood, a festival “celebrating five decades of British style.”
Taking an altogether holistic view – working on the premise that music can’t exist without fashion, film, art and design – Hemingway reckons that Vintage at Goodwood is the new Festival of Britain. Stirring stuff, especially when he’s up against established festivals such as The Big Chill, Secret Garden Party, Latitude, Bestival and Glastonbury that have come out of the muddy mosh-pit to appeal to a wider ( some would say mainstream ) crowd, become more family friendly and included art, literature, theatre and film as well as music.
But Hemingway’s festival is, he says, different because “it’s not just about headline acts that are used to sell tickets, it’s about intelligently assembling a line up of performers, fashion shows, art and design content that will delight, surprise and hopefully prompt visitors to want to find out more about a band, an artist, a designer, a film or an art movement that they had little prior knowledge of.”
He and Geraldine have 20 years of festival-going under their belts and his verdict is that “we are underwhelmed with what’s on offer …Underwhelmed by the lack of design thinking, underwhelmed by the lack of glamour, underwhelmed by the locations, underwhelmed by the lack of curating and the ‘scattergun’ approach to the booking of performers and underwhelmed by the attention to detail.”
So, he’s ensured that at Vintage at Goodwood everything may look eclectic, but it all ‘fits‘ into a style that is quintessentially British, stylish and pretty damn cool. Expect treats from every decade from the 40’s to the present: Burlesque performers, mobile cinema showing movies from Ealing comedies to Absolute Beginners; tea dancing, fashion luminaries Pearl and Daisy Lowe and Brix Smith Start giving their take on style, a vintage fashion bazaar and ( my favourite ) a roller disco.
Oh, and the music. Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Paloma Faith, Sandie Shaw, Swing Out Sister, Heaven 17, Martha and the Vandellas and a MASSIVE DJ lineup including Jazzie B, Danny Rampling and A Guy Called Gerald.
The only problem now is what to wear, because those ubiquitous Hunters won’t cut it with the Biba fashion scouts….