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20,000 VW enthusiasts flock to Camper Jam at Weston Park

By Jamie Brassington | North Shropshire entertainment | Published:

Volkswagen camper vans filled Weston Park as 20,000 people enjoyed a festival celebrating the iconic vehicle.

Spectators came as far away as Europe for the 12th instalment of Camper Jam.

Hundreds of vans lined the 17th century grounds with many sporting unique paint jobs and decals.

There was also a good dose of live music, food and fun fair rides for festival-goers

Amongst the crowd was singer and song-writer Tom Dibb, aged 34, who made the trip from Bedfordshire.

Tom is a big fan of the Volkswagen culture, having travelled to Australia in his camper van which is nicknamed 'Pickle'.

He said: "This is one of my favourite festivals to do.

"I do a fair few on the circuit but this is probably one of the biggest shows.

"We have a good mix of folk and there is lots going on. It is a nice friendly crowd.

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"I called my van Pickle as the number plate is PKL.

"That was the first thing that came to my mind 11 years ago when I went to pick it up. We have been inseparable every since.

"I have driven it to Australia. She is still chugging away and she has done me right."

At Tom's festival parking spot, he set up a marquee around his camper van, with cushions on the floor, so people could stop by and watch him perform songs.

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He was especially looking to forward to performing at sunset: "You always seem to get some cracking sunsets here every year."

He added: "If it wasn't for the V-dub community culture then I wouldn't be making a living out of what I love doing.

"The majority of my following are Volkswagen owners and people passionate about the lifestyle. You know freedom, getting outdoors. They are a magic bunch, friendly, welcoming to everyone."

This illustrated the mood of Camper Jam - one that is laid back, easy going and a family friendly environment.

The camper vans formed an informal exhibition of sorts with revellers streaming past and admiring the different designs.

This camper van had a unique appearance

One camper van had a grass style skin, while another had sirens on the wind shield and many had custom alloys.

It was a family friendly event with parents attending with their children in push-chairs and people bringing their dogs on leads.

That is the environment organisers have sought to create and why it makes the festival popular.

One of the cool camper vans on show

When it started, Camper Jam had 200 people turn up on the first year in 2008. Since then spectator numbers have increased ten fold.

Event director Shelly Mears said: "This is essentially a family friendly festival with a love for the Volkswagen bus.

"We actually have people come a far as Europe. We have special displays on the Saturday where we have a couple of hundred buses line-up which are very, very special and unique models.

"And people will travel really far and wide to showcase their bus in that kind of environment."

She added: "I am a VW fan now. When I first started out 12 years ago, I knew very little about Volkswagens. It is fair to say you can't really work in the industry and not develop a passion for them."

The show-piece camper vans were located on a show field where crowds walked by and admired the variety of custom designs.

Sam Cunningham from VW Festival, in a stylish Dubcraft van

Among them was Louis Standley, 25, from Telford, who attended with his girlfriend.

He said: "I have always been into Volkswagens growing up so as soon as I found out it was on, I was like 'I really want to go'."

Overlooking the show field was a huge music tent where bands performed. The festival line-up included tribute acts for Bon Jovi and the Spice Girls.

And towering above it all was a tall ride which span people in a huge vertical circle.

Not everyone was there just for the camper vans.

Tracie Price, 50, who travelled down from St Helens near Liverpool, said: "We come every year. Our friends come. It's just a big party. We like the VW culture but it wouldn't matter what it was. Everyone gets on and you never see any trouble."

Jamie Brassington

By Jamie Brassington
Senior Multi-Media Journalist - @JamieB_Star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star. Contact me at jamie.brassington@expressandstar.co.uk.

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