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Review: Van Life Festival proves a crowd pleaser at West Midlands Showground

Van Life Festival 2023

More than 2,000 vans descended on Shrewsbury last weekend for Van Life Festival 2023.

The promise of live music, fire-pits, traders, display vehicles, street food, kid’s entertainment and outdoor activities proved to be a huge pull for both campers and day visitors.

Many turned up for early camping from Thursday, with many more still arriving throughout Friday and into Saturday morning to camp for the weekend.

While camping tickets sold-out ahead of the festival, day tickets were available on the gates for those that wanted of a taste of the festivities – and what a festival it was.

Full-time and part-time Van Lifers, families, couples, and singles all contributing to the ‘good vibe’.

Vehicles varied from brand new motorhomes and factory fresh campervans, to inspirational one-of-a-kind builds, an American School bus, a 1930s cattle railway car, classic caravans and everything else you can possibly imagine.

Entertainment was held across the weekend with the main stage playing host to reggae, dance and Britpop while a second stage, courtesy Campervan Live Lounge, offered a chilled alternative with blues and folk from an array of singer songwriters.

Offering something for everyone, the festival delivered a wide range of workshops, inspirational talks, traders and activities, including canoe hire, rock climbing, fun fair and even donkey riding – although the donkeys seemed to be on strike by the time Van Life Matters’ youngest apprentice showed interest on the Sunday afternoon.

Plenty of food options kept the foodies happy and the weather was just right for chilled cider.

Van Life Festival marshals were seen working hard throughout the event, regularly emptying rubbish bins, and on litter picks.

A genuine ‘good vibe’ atmosphere was present throughout the show, despite some uncomfortable political mutterings on social media.

Questions are already being asked about 2024 tickets. While full details are yet to be announced, Van Life Matters understands that the West Midlands Showground is to become the ‘home’ of Van Life Festival, as plans are underway to find a second venue for 2024.

Featured image: @dudes.n.drones on Instagram.

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