Thursday 14 March 2024


 We love taking our kids to festivals and we usually try and book one in every Summer. Over the years, our favourites have been Camp Bestival, Gone Wild and Lamer Tree Festival but this year we wanted to try something different. 

Step forward...Carfest! Billed as the UK's biggest family fundraising festival, Carfest successfully blends motor shows with live music and entertainment for the whole family. It was founded by radio DJ Chris Evans and has raised millions of pounds for children's charities. It ticked all our boxes - lots of fast cars for Elliot to see, a huge kids area for Erin, plenty of yummy food and drink for my husband and an amazing line up of live music for me. We were excited to experience it all! 

Day 1 - Saturday

We had weekend tickets but decided to stay in a local hotel rather than camp. It just meant having to take way less stuff and who doesn't love a comfy bed after a busy day at a festival! We left bright and early from Poole and arrived at the festival site around 9am. We found it nice and straightforward to find the carpark and it was well sign posted from the main roads into Overton. Unlike Camp Bestival, the walk from the carpark wasn't too bad and it probably only took us around 10-15 minutes. 

We were soon picking up our weekend wristbands and deciding where to explore first. The festival is split into different areas including Starfest, Spafest, Adventurefest, Kidsfest, Foodfest, Retrofest and then of course the card and music! 

Our first port of call was the Costa area - Costa are one of Carfest's sponsors and we had heard great things about the giveaways! Paul was happy - coffee for him whilst the kids tried their luck on the digital spin the wheel. We didn't win the Nintendo switch but we did come away with bubbles, lots of coffee, brownies, biscuits and even a really nice travel mug. I'd definitely recommend visiting this bit with kids! 

One thing about the music/stage area at Carfest that we quickly realised was people pitch up in the morning with their chairs/wagons/flags etc and just leave their stuff for the day. This seemed to be a bit of a contentious subject on the Carfest Buddies FB group but for us, it made sense to leave our festival wagon. It gave us a central base to return to throughout the day if we needed to and saved lugging everything around! It also meant we were guaranteed a good spot for the evening music. 

We spent the next few hours exploring the cars and there was so much to see. We caught some fantastic displays and the roar of the engines and being up close to the race track was something else! Elliot is car mad so he was in his element. We even bumped into Richard Hammond at the Smallest Cog workshop which was exciting although Elliot got confused and thought it was Ricky Gervais 😁

Richard Hammond - The Smallest Cog Workshop

When we're at a festival we don't like to be too strict about timings and prefer to explore and see what we stumble upon but one of our must sees was kids favourite Andy and The Odd Socks in the Kidsfest area. We've been fans of Andy's since Elliot was a toddler and it's always great to see his band and their live show. And of course we had to get some selfies after the show 😎 

Andy and The Odd Socks - Carfest

The Kidsfest area was home to Pudsey's Spot and there were lots of chances to meet some familiar faces there over the weekend. We met Bluey and Bingo and I'm not sure who was more excited, me or Erin!

The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring the food festival area and there was something for every taste bud at the Farmers Market. Packed full of stalls selling everything from gourmet brownies to spicy sauces, we managed to pick up lots of yummy treats including some amazing scotch eggs. We also caught a few demos by Candice and Bryony from GBBO which was really interesting. There seemed to be a lot going on in this area such as foodie workshops, book signings, chef talks, cocktail making - even a pop up pub with live music. We could have spent lots more time here and feel like we only scratched the surface but there was so much more to see...

We spent some time checking out the cars - there are regular track shows through out the day and it's nice and easy to find a good viewing spot along the side. Even for a non car-fanatic like me, it was exciting seeing some gorgeous cars up close and the kids loved the theatrics of the skids and hand brake 360s! There are lots of car brands at the festival and many opportunies to pick up freebies...which, lets face it, who doesn't love a freebie. The kids were buzzing to win hats, air freshners, tote bags, mints and even a few pens along the way. 

Soon it was time to head back to the main stage for the evenings musical entertainment. There are plenty of food stalls near the stage for when you get hungry and although it was busy, we never really had to spend long queueing. Prices were quite steep however (think it was almost £30 for two lots of burger and chips) but it's a festival and you do expect this. We shared a couple of meals between us, plus I took lots of snacks to keep the kids happy. I did get talked into a very expensive milkshake though! 

The music for the evening was brilliant, kicking off with the Bootleg Beatles. I loved hearing the crowd singalong to Hey Jude! The star of the evening for us though was undoubtedly Rick Astley. Never realised just how talented he is - he doesn't just sing but plays a multitude of instruments. Elliot really likes his songs so he was so excited to see him live and Rick didn't disappoint! It was such a great atmosphere with the lit up funfair behind us, and families of all ages singing along. 

We headed back to the car after a long day of festival fun but couldn't wait to do it all again in the morning. 

Day 2 - Sunday

After a quick charge of the car and a Mcdonalds brekkie at nearby services, we were heading back to Overton and looking forward to seeing what was in store for the day. We had no set plans but did want to explore the areas that we didn't visit yesterday. 

Our first port of call was to set up our chairs and area in front of the main stage. We then spent a bit of time exploring the Retrofest area. You can find all sorts here, like retro clothing stalls, cars, games and we even stumbled upon some energetic aerobics displays featuring lots of lycra! Some of the highlights of Retrofest included an area set up with old war vehicles and weapons. The kids were allowed to sit in the landrovers and even hold the guns, Elliot was living his best Fortnite life! We also found The Deloreon which was pretty impressive - the owner was so knowledgeable and we loved all the little bits of memorabilia inside such as a hoverboard and hologram photo.

We caught a few car displays and especially loved seeing the Ghostbusters car doing the laps! The track winds throughout the festival so it's not hard to find a spot to watch the live shows. 

We found ourselves in the Adventurefest field and this was probably one of our favourite areas. There was a large scouting section run by Hampshire scouts and the kids made a bee line for the climbing wall - rather than than me! We had a go at archery, and the kids added their Beaver/Scout troop to the Scouting map. 

We were also very fortunate to catch Tim Peake who was chatting to the scouts - Elliot managed to say hello and shake his hand which made his day! My husband was rather envious that he missed him but he did get to watch a Q&A with Tim later on in the afternoon at the Discovery Hub stage. 

Meeting Tim Peake at Carfest

Adventurefest was also home to Bugfest which as the name suggests, was a great place to get up and close to lots of creepy crawlies. This was one of the few paid for activities we did, and I think it was £5 per person to enter the Bugfest tent but the kids loved it and it was money well spent. There was no time limit and they were able to hold a tarantula, millipede, stick insect and many more. 


We dipped back into the Kidsfest for a quick bounce on the giant bouncy castle and we made sure to pick up some freebies from the Capri Sun and Pip Organic stalls. We also headed back to the farmers market where we couldn't resist another scotch egg! 

With the afternoon almost over, we decided to spend some time exploring the Motorsport Paddock where Elliot was in his absolute element! It was a chance to get up close to some of his favourite cars and he thoroughly enjoyed spotting lots of Aston Martins. Aside from seeing Rick Astley, I think this was probably his favourite part of the weekend. 

Back at the main stage, we grabbed some food and settled in for the evening. There was a real variety of acts including Alex Horne's Horne section, Ricky Wilson from Kaiser Chiefs, The Feeling and The Village People. Unsure of how many of the original Village People line up were left but it was entertaining nonetheless! (Even if they did take an awful long time to start their performance)

The Village People - Carfest

Texas were the headliner for the Sunday night and I would have loved to have stayed to see their entire set but we decided to call it a night a few songs in with some very tired children in tow. We did  however stumble across a silent disco at the Bp Pulse tent so of course we had to stop and have a little boogie! 

We had such a brilliant weekend at Carfest and there were so many memories made - too many to mention in this blog. Highlights included meeting Tim Peake, dancing to Rick Astley, and hearing the roar of the engines on the track. 

Carfest certainly lived up to it's reputation and I feel like we only scratched the surface of the activities on offer. The kids are already asking if we're going again this year. We might even be brave enough to camp 😃

Ticket are already on sale for Carfest 2024 and can be found here

*Disclaimer - We were gifted weekend tickets for Carfest but all thoughts and opinions are honest and we genuinely had a fantastic time! 

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