When Chris Evans teamed up with Jody Scheckter, a former F1 champion and the man who owns Laverstoke Park Farm, the venue for CarFest South was set over four years ago.
It was back in the Spring of 2012 that BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show host Chris Evans first dreamt up his concept for the perfect family festival. The inaugural event would feature a mouth-watering medley of great cars, fabulous food, live music plus an intoxicating mix of entertainment to enthral and inspire all ages.
Such was the public’s enthusiasm for the initial three-day event – hosted by former F1 world champion Jody Scheckter at his award-winning bio-dynamic and organic farm near Basingstoke – that a CarFest North in Cheshire was immediately added to the bill.
Having first visited in 2013, and returning again for 2016, I have to say this event has grown, improved and made itself a weekend holiday destination for all the family. With prices starting around £70 for a one day adult ticket, and climbing to little short of £5000 for a 'bells and whistles' luxury weekend camping experience, CarFest South offers something to suit varying needs - and with so many great acts on offer, it is a pretty good deal when compared to the average gig price for just one headline band.
This year on Saturday night at CarFest South we were treated to not just one, but a collection of great artists and bands including Alison Moyet, James Morrison, Rick Astley, Richard Ashcroft and the Stereophonics. And the crowd loved it all!
"Oh my goodness; time really does fly when you're having so much fabulous fun - I can't believe we've now reached double figures! I know we've said it before and I hope we'll say it again but these CarFests just get better and better and better.
I just had a crazy idea one morning and now five years on, thanks to so many wonderful people, the reality has wowed hundreds of thousands of CarFesters and raised many millions for BBC Children in Need. What's not to like about that, other than the fact we have to raise the bar even higher in 2017."Chris Evans
Families with young children danced well in to the evening, with many younger ones asleep in specially supplied carts that were available to hire throughout the event. Many were decorated with lights and tassels, and sleeping children were cosy and tucked up inside while their parents and carers enjoyed a medley of songs.
A huge selection of different food outlets and stands meant that all tastes were catered for, with prices no more than standard for many events, ranging from between £6 to £9 for a meal portion. Bars supplied the booze yet with so many drinks available we were pleasantly surprised to note a distinct lack of people who had over-indulged. Family really did come first throughout the event, with baby change areas clearly visible, and toilets that were consistently clean with plenty of paper present.
A fun fair and countless commercial and trade stalls supplied entertainment and shopping pleasure, even if you simply wanted to browse. And for the car enthusiast, CarFest was all they needed... with a huge range of car companies promoting their ranges, as well as classic and iconic cars taking to the 'tracks' for viewing pleasure.
The weather held for the most part, but even rain would not dampen the enthusiasm of this event and the visitors, many of whom had camped out for the weekend. This year's sell-out audience soaked up the summer sun, enjoyed a captivating collection of cars, adrenaline-fuelled activities, fabulous food and timeless tunes.
All the latest CarFest news can be found on the festival's official website www.carfest.org