Two words sum up this years Farmyard Party .... Wet and Muddy. The weekend started nice enough when the majority of the Wakefield MAG contingent rocked up on site on the Thursday evening. It was warm and dry, we got our tents set up (in the dry) then Lorna and Pingy started the BBQ, and we all got ever so slightly sozzled drinking the tinnies we had brought with us. The Thursday evening used to be a bit of a special treat, as it was marshals only, but for the last couple of years up to 500 campers are allowed on-site (no fires field only for an extra fiver). However, they are confined to that field (which does have a bar and burger van). We, being marshals however, could enter the main area, where the cafe was open, and Crusty's (formerly the Blue Oyster Bar), where we met most of the other Yorkshire MAG stalwarts who run the rally. A good few more drinks (including Manny's dodgy home made chilli vodka) and a chinwag with a good few folks, before it was time to turn in for the night.
Friday morning started with rain, and that pretty much set the scene for the remainder of the weekend.
Jason & Kaylie arrived early, pitched their tent, then we started with the traditional Wakefield MAG FYP festivities - a walk into Helmsley, a full monty Biker Breakfast at the cafe on the square, a quick look at the market, then into the Royal Oak as soon as the doors open for an afternoon session. We rocked out of the Royal Oak around 4ish after several pints of real ale and a couple of Wet Pussies (best not to ask, but they aren't cheap !!!). A couple of hours kip to sober up, a bite to eat, then into the Blues tent for the Friday nights marshalling shifts. The rest (who were marshalling on the Saturday) carried on drinking, but had peaked far too early and most were tucked up in bed by around 10:30. Rock and Roll eh !!!
Friday night in the Blues tent was a most relaxed affair, the bands were chilled out and it was only about 3/4 full, meaning lots of space to walk about. The weather had obviously put quite a few folks off coming that day. The site by now, after a full day of rain, and lots of feet, was starting to resemble the Somme.
Those that were there had a belting time however. We didn't get to see ZZ Tops in main arena Big Top, but by all accounts, they were jolly good.
Saturday started much the same - rain !!!!! We marshalled the BSH custom show in the afternoon, which had to be moved from the main arena (as it was a mud bath of Glatonbury proportions), to near the Dyno truck, Rodeo Bull and Burn Out pit. The ground here wasn't churned up at all, and with lots of space, a near perfect venue. Despite the almost constant rain, a large number of people entered their bikes into the show, and there were some spectacular machines on display. The Porton 1340 'Fergusson' tractor bike deserves a special mention - a Harley styled like a traditional tractor (some would say all Harley's are tractors but this one was a brilliant concept). If we had a prize for 'Best Blathered in Mud', there were lots of contenders (people as well as bikes) !!!!!
The show was judged by Stu Garland, editor of Back Street Heroes magazine, who made the difficult decisions, then did a runner before there was any comeback. We had to delay awarding the trophies for 20 minutes whilst a downpour of biblical proportions abated, but everyone seemed happy with the show awards, which were:
Saturday evening the Blues tent was slightly busier than Friday, but still a very chilled out experience. Ian was most impressed with the bands that night, who were pretty well known on the Blues circuit (Paul Routledge who has booked the Blues Tent bands for the past couple of years certainly knows his onions !!!). The Big Top headline band were the Guns and Roses Experience, who we had seen at Wakefield Theatre Royal a couple of months previously, and were awesome - close your eyes and it could be the real McCoy; open your eyes and you see a portly Axel Rose lookalike in tight shorts (not as pretty sight, but seriously good musicians).
Sunday, absolutely typical and so predictable, was warm and sunny, so at least we could pack up in the dry. Everything however was sopping and covered in mud !!!!
The gate at the far side of the No-Fires field was opened up and once a few tents had been packed up, it was an easy trip off the site (looking at the mud strewn main drag, we were all rather glad we didn't have to go through that). The next week was also warm and dry so at least the crew on take down duty had better weather.
This was the 10th FYP we have been to, and the weather was the worst we have ever had to endure - the glorious British Summer eh !!!! The numbers on site were undoubtedly down, which is a real shame, as the efforts to put the rally on are exactly the same, come rain or shine. What is more of a shame is that we wont have broken any records this year regarding profits, as all the money raised goes to the MAG Fighting Fund, to preserve the biking lifestyle we all know and love (and we really need those funds to fight all the unnecessary anti-biking legislation coming our way).
It was mentioned that the rallies with terrible weather are often the best, as the Dunkirk Spirit comes through and those that have struggled through the worst nature can throw at you, are so determined to have a good time, they jolly well do !!!! There is an awful lot of truth in that.
Two other words really sum up this years Farmyard Party too - F*****g Awesome !!!!!
A huge thanks to the Wakefield MAG marshals for their most splendid efforts, as these events certainly don't run themselves.