Chris Evans’ CarFest North was hardly a green car event, but it took place at Cholmondeley Castle, where Green Car Guide ran Green-Car-Guide Live! in 2011, so we were there to support it.
CarFest North took place at Cholmondeley Castle in Cheshire over 8-9 September 2012, combining some of the world’s most iconic cars with live music, great food, lots of entertainment for children, and perfect weather – and so putting Cholmondeley, and the North West, firmly on the map as a perfect venue for such an event.
Even with a huge collection of very expensive supercars, the highlight on the circuit had to be 2003 World Rally Champion Petter Solberg’s rally driving display in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC within the confines of the narrow track, which ended up setting the hay bales on fire
The second of BBC Radio 2 breakfast show presenter Chris Evans’ fundraising CarFest extravaganzas celebrating great cars, scrumptious food and rousing live music was another huge hit with more than 25,000 festival goers savouring two-days of dazzling entertainment in the sunshine at Cholmondeley Castle in Cheshire.
Following fast in the wheeltracks of the inaugural CarFest held at Jody Scheckter’s Laverstoke Park Farm in Hampshire over the August Holiday weekend, CarFest North (8-9 September) once again showcased the radio and TV personality’s three greatest passions with Evans himself right to the fore throughout the fun-filled weekend.
The action kicked off on both days with Evans opening the show from behind the wheel of his iconic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and concluded with him on the Main Stage revving up the crowds by introducing a series of chart-topping live bands on both Saturday and Sunday evenings as well as DJing between the acts.
Stars among the cars were Evans own ‘Magnificent Seven’ collection of Ferraris, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason in his own Ferrari 512S which starred alongside Steve McQueen in the Le Mans
movie plus some incredible driving displays from 2003 World Rally Champion Petter Solberg in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC. Once the dust settled on the track, music took centre stage with stirring live performances from bands including Texas, Paloma Faith, The Proclaimers, The Magic Numbers and Razorlight.
But while the groups of classic, competition and supercars parading on the course and bands performing on the Main Stage were right at the heart of the event, CarFest North was very much a family festival with hundreds of different sideshows and displays to involve and entertain those of all ages.
The Main Arena hosted crowd-pleasing jousting displays plus the Dancing JCB Diggers as well as a host of whackier activities such as Welly Walling while the blue skies above Cholmondeley Castle witnessed a huge number of displays and fly-pasts featuring more than eight decades of aviation history. The amazing Vulcan bomber drew huge cheers from the crowds on the ground while other legendary aircraft such as the Spitfire, Hurricane, Lancaster bomber, Gloucester Meteor plus a pair of RAF Tornados all had their own special admirers.
As wished by Evans, fabulous food was another major CarFest highlight with culinary delights on offer throughout the festival from an amazing variety of enthusiastic caterers. Many of this country’s finest foods and drinks were on offer in the busy Britain’s Best Pavilion which also hosted the early rounds of the ‘Cakes v Pies’ competition. No fewer than 50 pie makers and 50 cake makers went head-to-head with the top 10 of each going through to Sunday’s grand final judged by Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood from the BBC’s Great British Bake Off on the Main Stage. And much to Evans’ obvious delight, pies were a clear winner in Cheshire!
“CarFest North and South have been a dream team of food, music, cars and fun. The jackpot has been the family atmosphere dictated by the children themselves,” enthused a delighted Evans as the curtain came down in Cheshire. “Happy smiling faces from dawn till dusk and beyond. Reminding us adults how to play! Both venues were fabulous and we thank our hosts very much, the Scheckters and the Cholmondeleys. Here’s to next year and by the time we’ve counted all those CarFest pennies, Pudsey and BBC Children In Need should be very happy. Thank you again one and all.”
Lord Cholmondeley joined the thousands of party goers and clearly took much pleasure in hosting such an outstandingly friendly event. “It was both an honour and a delight for us to host CarFest North on behalf of Chris Evans here at Cholmondeley Castle,” he said. “CarFest was a truly wonderful weekend packed with first class family entertainment. Wherever you looked there were thousands of happy faces and it was particularly pleasing to see so many children of all ages really enjoying the estate. Through the annual Pageant of Power, Cholmondeley is already firmly established on the motorsport map; now the huge success of CarFest North has not only added another string to our bow but also enabled us to play our part in helping Chris to raise significant funds for BBC Children in Need.”
Two contributors from Automotive Comms/Green Car Guide had this to say about the event:
“A great all-round event – brilliant cars, accessible at close quarters – the track at Cholmondeley is just genious. Having Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was superb (James, aged 3, quote, “It doesn’t really fly daddy, it’s a car!”) and taking rides in some top motors was a popular pastime, hopefully raising lots of money for Pudsey; fantastic music; superb family entertainment. Kids loved the Fun Bus in particular; and the Cheshire Police stand, where they were allowing the children to ‘drive’ the simulators with beer goggles on – at the ages of 3 and 4! And the Merry-Go-Round, the big wheel, and the pink Cheshire Fire Service Fire Engine – to name but a few. The catering was also fantastic, and the kids topped off the afternoon off with delicious fish and chips! We were gutted to be going home without experiencing the overnight camping extravaganza, but the kids were asleep in the back of the car by the time we got to the main road – a testament to a great day. To sum it up – a first class event – and the sun was shining at Cholmondeley! Please ask Chris to get the tickets on sale for next year asap!”
– Paul Aston, Automotive Comms/Green Car Guide
“A fantastic family-focused fun day out, helped by the unseasonably good weather in a beautiful setting. The mix of fast cars, aircraft displays, great food, live music as well as the a fairground meant there was something for everyone. Highlight for me has to be Petter Solberg taking Paul Hollywood for a spin in the Fiesta WRC. Only disappointment was having to get the kids home to bed before the main acts hit the stage – next year it’s the Glamping package for me!”
– Matt Terry, Automotive Comms/Green Car Guide
It is estimated that this summer’s two CarFest events will raise more than £800,000 for BBC Children in Need and a final figure will be confirmed later this month.