Photography by Percolated Design

In late May we’re always busy at Dewslake Farm preparing for the bustle of half term. This year we had even more to get excited about as we were to be hosting Pembrokeshire’s first VW festival. As the days rolled into June a stream of vans and cars from all over Wales and beyond made their way down to the campsite. The gates opened up and in they rolled. A steady stream of all shapes, colours and sizes, bumping onto the grass to take their pitches up for the weekend. Drivers from near and far set up camp, lit their stoves and boiled their kettles. A seemingly constant supply of hot tea flowed from camping kettles to tin mugs and passed from one hand to another. Those arriving early sat back and watched the festival unfold and were gradually joined by fellow club members, friends and people they’d met along the road.

As a family friendly event, children had the entire festival site as their playground. They were able to roam the fields, cart in the wheelbarrows or wear themselves out on the bouncy castles. There were circus workshops, street dance classes, a magic and balloon show and disco. There was even a customised VW ice cream van to hand which provided refueling and refreshment for the long days in the sun. Parents were able to sit back and watch from the shade of their awnings. Until later in the afternoon, when they picked themselves up to browse the abundance of trading stalls and fabulous vehicles that had arrived on site.

The festival weekend was blessed with glorious sunshine, which lasted long into the evening. As the sun went down people drifted from the fields over to the barn. Visitors were greeted with smells and tastes from a selection of food stalls. Local producers Slow Pig were handing out their deliciously spicy quesidillas, using chorizo made on their own farm. An impressive van fitted with an oven churned out woodfired pizzas, topped lavishly with delicious garlic, mushrooms, meats and thick melted cheese.
Inside the barn there stretched a long bar, spacious and well staffed so no one went thirsty. Local band 4coustic kicked off the music on Friday night and the standard was kept high right through the weekend. Headliners The Blims played to a cheerful crowd to close on Saturday. There were no bedtimes that night, as friends, families and festival staff danced and sang long into the night. Reluctantly spilling out from the barn when the music stopped, back to the cosiness of their vans and tents.

The Show n’ Shine on Sunday was a magnificient end to a wonderful weekend. There was an array of vibrant sights and sounds as vans and cars kitted out with sound systems, plush seats, new engines and lights paraded around the show field. No two vehicles were the same and with each one having their own individual style it was tough to make a selection for the prize giving. The gleaming cars and vans evidence of the pride and enthusiasm that members of the VW club hold.
Visitors left gradually throughout the day and the ever efficient festival team worked hard to make sure everything went smoothly. The site was kept pristine and ordered for the duration with not a blemish on the ground. Never once was there a queue of vehicles waiting to get on or off site. Just a flowing channel of smiles and waves as visitors passed by, out of the gate and over the hill towards home.