Carfest South 2012 – The Write Up.

When Chris Evans announced his new summer festival ‘CarFest’ on air in May this year, a few of the TWUNTs noticed. Only one of them thought much more about it.

Fueled on by more confidence than a bull in a particularly fine china shop this enterprising TWUNT seized the opportunity to let the show know that, in no uncertain terms, TWUNT were the band for them.

To everyone’s absolute surprise, they agreed! TWUNT would be playing CarFest on the 26th of August 2012.… and more to the point, we heard Chris Evans say TWUNT on Radio Two!

After the initial excitement generated by securing the gig the TWUNTs prepared by continuing with their strict drinking schedule and by playing the CarFest set at various local gigs… At some of the gigs the audience even outnumbered the TWUNTs, fancy that!

It only started to feel like it was all real on the morning of the big day…

The TWUNTs set off at 7am on an auspiciously sunny day, some of them notably bleary eyed from the sensible early night they should have got the night before. Everyone was very relieved when the last straggling TWUNTs made it onto the celebrity tour bus, but understood the ordeals that Charlie faced in the two minute walk she’d had to make from home to coach. With 25 TWUNTs and various ‘crew’ on board (including the probation officer, legal advisor, holistic nutritionist and off-shore tax avoidance strategist) the TWUNTs were officially on tour.

The trip passed peacefully, only broken by the occasional snoring TWUNT. As a new festival, CarFest was an unknown, nobody had any expectations of what would meet us at the gate…  Still, one can feel fairly confident in suggesting that as the tour bus grew closer the TWUNTs were fairly impressed by the *huge* scale of the festival… the endless fields of tents… a stage bigger than all of our egos combined… a happily waving Chris Evans driving past in a car.

After getting in the artists’ entrance (tee-hee), playing it super cool with the artist liaison people (ahem) and definitely not getting over excited and playing with the festival buggies, we were given our ‘Artist – Main Stage’ wristbands and shown to our dressing room, the sign to which disabused us of our previous belief in the spelling of ‘ukulele’.

The Tunbridge Wells Ukele Night Thing members were then left with a few hours to prepare themselves physically and mentally in any way they saw fit. Luckily the beer tents opened fairly early, so it was apparent that this feat would be easily accomplished. In addition to the TWUNT’s musings upon beer tents (my next poem) people made various expeditions around this site, highlights of which included six-deep crowds watching tractors dancing to the Pet Shop Boys; the sheer size of the arena and stage becoming more obvious; a ‘name that poo’ competition and; some shiny cars or whatnot.

Having completed their tours the TWUNTs regrouped for the rehearsal and sound check, though not before Pudsey bear got a bit star struck and demanded that we be photographed with him. It’s a price you have to pay. The rehearsal went well, in that the TWUNTs fell to absolute pieces because they were entirely distracted by a spectacular display of planes doing loop the loops overhead.

Climbing the stairs to the stage for the sound check made everything go from feeling real, to feeling horribly, stupidly real (definitely not trying to get a ‘reel to real’ reference here). After milling around, trying to look confident, and putting the all-important chairs in place we were asked to sing and play to get our sound levels correct and we benignly agreed to do so.  However, with this technicality out of the way, most of the sound check involved the TWUNTs training numerous cameras at the crowd to ensure that the best possible view of their performance was recorded. Once this task was completed they duly TWUNTed off the stage.

Waiting backstage before the performance TWUNT excitement had been ramped up to 11 and various small groups could be spotted dancing and singing to ‘Soul Sister’ in preparation, that song has never garnered so much enthusiasm from so many TWUNTs.

…and so it came to pass, Tunbridge Wells Ukulele Night Thing rocked CarFest 2012.

The TWUNT entrance to the stage was awe inspiring, in that the usual twenty minutes of milling around, figuring where everyone was going to go and what songs were going to be sung was omitted and the half hour set passed in a blur…people in the crowd singing… happy TWUNTs on stage… friends and family smiling and calling out to us…the Magic Numbers watching *us* from backstage… cheering audience… Chris Evans singing ‘Delilah’ with us…and finally, calling to the crowd, ‘Let’s hear it for TWUNT everybody! … Now get off!’.

With the excitement of the performance over the TWUNTs may have reasoned that the day had peaked but the honour guard of cakes (for the ladies) and pies (for the gents) that greeted them as they walked backstage quickly changed their thinking.



The rest of the day was a jumble of disjointed wonderfulness. Some of the highlights (which hopefully convey the marvellous day) include:

  • The skill and coordination with which TWUNT members consumed/concealed every single can of booze which was supplied backstage in order to secure further supplies.
  • Mary Berry being very complimentary about a TWUNT lady’s décolletage.
  • Razorlight being stopped and checked by security on the way to the ‘Artist only toilets’ as TWUNT’s Charlie swanned though.
  • Young TWUNT singing a song for Chris Evans backstage (video)
  • The winning cakes and pies, of ‘Cakes vs. Pies’ fame being distributed post haste to the TWUNTs immediately after Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry had blessed them on stage (I’ve never seen a group of TWUNTs move so fast).
  • *The* Vulcan bomber performing just for the TWUNTs in truly ridiculous low, slow and growling flypasts.
  • Watching the very lovely Magic Numbers backstage (with celebs including Chris Evans and John Lennon).
  • Razorlight taking photos of *us* backstage.
  • Watching Helen get more excited about Razorlight as the day progressed.
  • Watching Helen attack Razorlight backstage as they came off in preparation for their encore.
  • Watching security wrestle Helen away from Razorlight.
  • Gaining access to the hallowed turf of the VIP area and the sacred booze therein (without even having to wear red trousers or hold a copy of the Daily Mail).
  • Singing the unedited versions of our songs for *two hours* on the way home in our celebrity tour bus.

Seriously, it’s unclear how the day could have been better and since then we’ve received really lovely feedback, not only from our friends and family who came with us and did such a good job at supporting/putting up with us but also from real interweb people:

“Saw you at Carfest today. Brilliant! You were the top of the bill for us! Great fun & lots of really great comments about you. Well done!!!!”

“You really rocked at Carfest. It was a great gig. Well done! And a special big Hi Five to the little dude! How cool are you?”

Well then, what’s next for TWUNT? – Who knows 😆

Video clips.

The First Song.

The youngest TWUNT member and Chris Evans

Here’s a few more photos of the fantastic day.


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  1. Pingback: It’s quiet round here… | Simon Reeve

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