I’ve heard nothing but good things about Carfest over the years and weekend of 26th to 28th July saw CarFest North make its long-awaited return to the Bolesworth Estate to celebrate its eighth year of fantastic fundraising, with a weekend filled with kindness, happiness and generosity… despite the most challenging weather conditions the festival has ever experienced.

Let’s be honest is it even really a festival without some mud? The bad weather didn’t dampen the spirits of my gang along with thousands of CarFesters from across the region as they took out their wellies and raincoats to make their way around the festival throughout the weekend, whilst helping raise even more money for UK Children’s charities. We left the festival with lots of fond memories and would definitely return next year – irrespective of the rain the kids would like to camp for them weekend so I better start researching a campervan as I don’t sleep under canvas! 

CarFest, was created by Chris Evans in 2012 with the sole purpose of raising funds for UK children’s charities has over the past seven years successfully raised over £13.5million for BBC Children in Need. This year the festival has added a further four charities to the mix and alongside BBC Children in Need who will receive 50% of the funds raised, with Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust, Rainbow Trust, Starlight Children’s Foundation and Teenage Cancer Trust receiving 10% each*. The final charity to receive 10% will be announced shortly.

The days were packed with thrilling track performances, with over 100 cars including monster trucks, hot rods and movie cars taking to the Michelin/Kwik-Fit track each day. Plus, British Touring Car Champion Jason Plato celebrating 30 years as one of the country’s foremost racing drivers with a hand-picked selection of cars that hold a very special place in his heart, it was a weekend made for petrolheads!

Evans took to the AutoTrader Main Stage each day, rousing and entertaining the crowds in his own inimitable style and showing that his passion and commitment remains as strong in the festival’s eighth year as it was in the first. CarFesters were even introduced to Walt and Boo, the two newest members of the Evans’ family as his sons Noah and Eli co-hosted the Main Stage through the weekend, showing that they are certainly a chip off the old block!

The weekend saw Bolesworth Estate rocking to the sounds of musical legends, taking CarFesters on a musical journey through the decades with performances from Alex Horne & The Horne Section, Beverley Knight, Clean Bandit, Faithless and Sister Bliss, Hacienda Classical, Jools Holland, Kaiser Chiefs, Noasis, Sister Sledge, Texas, Tom Odell, Tony Christie,  The Jacksons and the CarFest Supergroup featuring The Feeling, KT Tunstall and Sophie Elis-Bextor.

However, the moment that truly stole the show featured children from each of the selected charities, who joined forces with Rock Choir, to perform two tracks that reminded the thousands of CarFesters why the festival exists, celebrating the strength and resilience of young people battling against the odds.

Each of the charities also brought their amazing work to life in the Tent of Inspiration with speaker sessions and a range of family fundraising activities including special appearances by the much-loved BBC Children in Need mascot Pudsey accompanied by Blush joining TV presenter Ade Adepitan on stage; Ed Sheeran lookalike Joseph Doran and performing poet Toby Young representing Teenage Cancer Trust; Godfrey Haire, father of 7 year old Henry talking about his amazing fundraising efforts for the Rainbow Trust; 10 year old Sophie Williams and 30 year old Dan Walker on the impact of Ellen Macarthur’s confidence building sailing trips on their lives for the Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust and a selection of storytellers for Starlight Foundation.

The three days were packed with new and exciting activities for the whole family, in new worlds of fun and adventure including Eden, Kids Kingdom, Vintage CarFest and Car-Feast featuring the new BarFest Arms hosted by Timothy Taylor. The Kitchen Stage featured a line-up of celebrity chefs including Great British Bake Off favourites Briony May and Candice Brown, TV chefs Glynn Purnell, Jose Pizzaro and Parveen Ashraf amongst a host of others.

Chris Evans said of the weekend: “What can I say? This was a weekend that reminded me how truly amazing the British are! Wind, rain and mud couldn’t put our CarFesters off! So, a big thank you from me and the whole family that bring CarFest to life. The heart, commitment and support that visitors have shown this year is mind blowing. It makes me incredibly proud and I felt very humbled to see thousands gather against the elements to help us raise funds for our chosen charities. So, again THANK YOU ALL!”

CarFest North will be followed by CarFest South at Laverstoke Park Farm in Hampshire from 23rd – 25th August 2019.

Limited tickets are remaining and available to buy online from www.carfest.org