Chris Evans hosts the fifth of his entertainment-packed CarFest festivalsTrack Sprint topped by the broadcaster’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ FerrarisLive music from Jools Holland, Seasick Steve, Erasure and Simple MindsAll raising significant sums for BBC Children in Need
The sun has now set on the first of this year’s two rip-roaring CarFest family extravaganzas, sending more than 55,000 festival goers home with smiles on their faces and springs in their steps.
Staged at the scenic Oulton Park racetrack in Cheshire, CarFest North was another spectacular success with record crowds of all ages refusing to let the wet weather on Friday and Saturday dampen their spirits. They joyfully experienced a feast of spectacular cars, the finest festival food and great live music all washed down with lashings of fun-filled entertainment and sideshows.
The award-winning CarFest concept was dreamt up by BBC Radio 2 broadcaster Chris Evans little more than two years ago to be the ‘perfect family festival’and, with the indefatigable media personality leading from the front, the clouds were never going to spoil the amazing show.
“We danced the rain away!” said the ever-bouyant Evans. “Sure, we splashed our way through a few puddles but the party revved up and rocked on. Most importantly, though, we have all raised yet more money for BBC Children in Need. A huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who came along: the parents, the children, the performers, those who provided all the fabulous cars – all those who came to the CarFest party and made it so special. Best of all, though, we are going to do it all over again at Jody Scheckter’s farm in Hampshire later this month. The festivities rock on… ”
To date the four CarFest events staged in 2012 and 2013 have raised more than £2 million for the charity helping to change the lives of disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.
All three days kicked off with an extraordinary and eclectic showcase of cars. Evans himself opened all five Track Sprints driving both his magical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang before switching to Ferrari’s sensational new LaFerrari hypercar. Notable among those revving up in Evans’ wheel-tracks was Pink Floyd drummer and renowned car enthusiast, Nick Mason. A selection of wonderful and priceless cars from his collection including a priceless Ferrari 250 GTO, Ferrari 512 and Maserati 250F wowed the crowds. The 2007 World Superbike Champion James Toseland was in action, too, behind the wheel of a significant Honda NSX once driven by F1 legend Ayrton Senna.
Other motor sport highlights included several F1 cars, various iconic rally cars plus the unique Rover-BRM gas turbine car that was raced at Le Mans by Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart back in 1965.
The extended Track Parade wasn’t all about racing and rallying, though. For film lovers there were cars from Transformers plus the amazing pink six-wheeled FAB 1 from the 2004 Thunderbirds movie. Honda’s world record beating 130mph mower was another whacky crowd pleaser, as was an array of past and present Ford Mustangs celebrating the American icon’s 50th birthday. Then there was a selection of tyre burning hot rods and dramatic drifters, a mouth-watering line-up of supercars including Lamborghini’s latest Huracan and some weird a wonderful creations topped by Edd China from the Discovery Channel’s Wheeler Dealer programme riding on a motorised bathroom on wheels!
BBC Television presenters Paul Hollywood and Louise Minchin were are among the famous faces taking to picturesque Cheshire circuit – Hollywood helped to judge the ever-popular Cakes v Pies competition. The loudest cheers from the packed crowd – and thus overall victory – went to the Pork & Egg Pie with wholemeal hot water crust made by Sally Heywood from Anglesey.
Indeed, festival food is another of the key ingredients at CarFest with many of the UK’s top caterers serving up the best possible festival food while the ‘Britain’s Best Tent’ once again hosted many of this country’s finest small food and drink producers as well as a host of workshops for foodies.
With copious air displays, anniversary parades, sideshows, shopping stalls, car club displays, stunt riders, jousters, the Lamb National sheep races plus a multitude of children’s entertainment it’s easy to see how CarFest once again more than lived up to Evans’ original dream of the ‘perfect family festival’.
Then, as the chequered flag fell on the Track Performance, so the music struck up on the Main Stage. Erasure and Eliza Doolittle topped the Friday night line-up with Simple Minds, Tom Odell, Scouting for Girls and the inimitable Seasick Steve – described as the world’s best current live act by Evans – all got the crowds dancing on Saturday evening.
Sunday’s cast was every bit as foot-tapping with Texas, 10cc, The Feeling, Sophie Ellis-Bexter all performing before Jools Holland and special guests Marc Almond, Melanie C and Ruby Turner sent everyone home in high spirits.
All the live acts were, of course, introduced by the omnipresent and ebullient Evans. CarFest now moves to Laverstoke Park Farm for the sold out CarFest South to be staged over the August Bank Holiday weekend (22-24 August).