CarFest’s roving reporters AJ and Curtis Pritchard started the festival’s engines at the Big Early, the exclusive evening events for early camping ticket holders. BugFest’s Nick Wadham performed his Wild and Deadly Show, where children and adults alike gawked at and learned about a host of exotic creepy crawlies from across the globe! Afterwards, AJ and Curtis were joined by Chris Evans’ family to read bedtime stories for the eager listeners, before battling it out on the all-time favourite Silent Disco competition.
Across the weekend, the main stage was ignited by stellar performances from chart-topping artists like Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, James Blunt and Paloma Faith, who had the crowds singing and dancing to every beat! Kaiser Chiefs captivated audiences with their timeless hits, Ruby and I Predict A Riot, and guests put on their disco pants with ABBA tribute band, Bjorn Again. Molly Rainford gave a cosmic performance as her CBBC character Nova Jones, and the CarFest Supergroup, formed of Max Harwood, Freya Ridings and Rob Brydon (who stole guests’ hearts last year with a surprise performance with Gavin & Stacey co-star, Ruth Jones) took to the stage much to the delight of fans.
Paying homage to the motoring innovations of the 70s, CarFest showcased the spectacular cars of Jody Scheckter’s Formula 1 career, where visitors strapped in for the most exciting decade of motoring sports. Cars of all calibres took to the Kwik Fit-Michelin Track for daily shows, hosted by Mike Bushell and it was nothing short of electrifying! With over 120 cars from the past, present and future, guests had the opportunity to get up close and personal at the Kwik Fit-Michelin Paddock, as well as the chance to bag a dream ride at the Sporting Bears. The cinch Paddock housed an impressive range of cars to browse, test drive and buy, curated for a variety of needs such as school runs and business meetings. In support of UK charities, cinch donated £50 for every car sold at the festival, presenting a cheque for £50,000 for the event’s charity partners!
This year’s newest addition, SpaFest was brimming with everything mind, body and spirit steered by experts and advocates such as Tom Chapman, Dr Alex George and Simon Alexander Ong hosting discussions at the Inspiration Hub. Taking to the SpaFest stage was a line-up of celebrities and wellness gurus including Outta Puff Daddys leading a powerful talk on men’s mental health and Bryony Gordon sharing insights into her wellness journey. In The Studio, visitors quite literally laughed their socks off with Stephanie Hill’s Laughtercise class, and the Vegan Village housed a fantastic range of plant-based products from outlets across the country to browse and take home. After a jam-packed day of festivities, visitors could treat themselves to a glorious massage session courtesy of Soul Stretch.
StarFest boasted one of the biggest gatherings of celebrities from the world of TV, film and sport, with the likes of Laura and Russell Brand, Shaparak Khorsandi, Sally Phillips and Ronni Ancona, as well as Jimmy Carr drawing in crowds as far as the eye could see. On the stage, Chris Evans chatted with Hollywood star Minnie Driver, and sporting heroes Paula Radcliffe, Victoria Pendleton, Steve Cram and Matty Lee reflected on their acclaimed careers. At the brand new Author’s Stage, hosted by Costa Coffee, festival-goers got their noses stuck into books such as Giovanna Fletcher’s latest release, Walking On Sunshine, and Ben Miller’s How I Became A Dog Called Midnight. There was also a line-up of intimate readings and Q&As at The Costa Reading Room, with exclusive signed copies available for purchase at the on-site Waterstones bookstore. By the evening, StarFest transformed into the ever-popular Club CarFest, with the likes of Gok Wan and Danny Rampling getting everyone’s groove on!
FoodFest, a favourite amongst festival foodies, featured The Kitchen Stage with Napoleon Grills where a delectable roster of chefs and bakers, such as Matt Tebbutt, Juliet Sear, Atul Kochhar, Olly Smith and Dipna Ananad took festival-goers on a discovery of flavours and cuisines across the stage. Sophie Ellis-Bextor and hubby Rich Jones from The Feeling shared scrumptious recipes from their latest cookbook, Love. Food. Family: Recipes From The Kitchen Disco and Extreme Cake Makeover star Molly Robbins walked guests through how to bake and decorate delicious creations. New for this year was The Great British Cook Out with Napoleon Grills, hosted by BBC Big Cookout’s Sam and Shauna, where visitors brushed up on their BBQ and firepit skills.
Pudsey’s Spot hosted by Children in Need, CBBC and CBeebies was the true highlight of KidsFest featuring some fabulous performances by Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales, YolanDa’s Band Jam and Andy and the Odd Socks, keeping the children endlessly entertained. The fun didn’t stop there – the little ones also had the opportunity to develop their circus skills with The Flying Seagull Circus and get their creative juices flowing at the Artclub. And no festival would be complete without a good old-fashioned funfair! Families stepped it up a gear at AdventureFest with jaw-dropping BMX performances and getting up close and personal with exotic creatures at BugFest, as well as a range of exhilarating activities, including rock-climbing and a whizz down the zip wire. Hidden talents were uncovered at Upskill Alley, where festival-goers had a go at painting, pottery, T-shirt printing and lots more.
Guests were teleported back in time at RetroFest where acts Johnny Victory, Cats Got Rhythm, Lady And The Duke, Iron Tyger and We Are Synthetics took to the Nostalgia Stage for a series of dazzling performances. Families embraced their competitive sides with the old-school sports day hosted by the hilarious duo, Dolly and Gracie, as well as joining the Dress Up Sunday show to celebrate the iconic fashion of the Queen’s reign.
Founded by radio presenter Chris Evans, CarFest has raised over £20 million for UK children’s charities since its conception 11 years ago. Charity beneficiaries include BBC Children in Need, Comic Relief, Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, My Black Dog, Rainbow Trust, Starlight Children’s Foundation, Teenage Cancer Trust and Hampshire-based charities Naomi House & Jacksplace.
Chris Evans also announced plans for a bigger and better CarFest in 2023, bringing North and South events together to create ONE BIG CARFEST at Laverstoke Park Farm for the August Bank Holiday (25-27 August 2023).
Early bird tickets are on sale at 8am on 8 September until midnight on Sunday 11 September.