The first weekend in February was set aside for the 12th annual VDub Camp Fest, and the biggest gathering of Volkswagens in the Southern Hemisphere would take place come rain or shine. That’s a great attitude to have because rain it was, lots of it, almost enough to rename it to Damp Fest. Some mad enthusiasts arrived at Forever Resorts Warmbaths on the Thursday already, these are mad people. The VAG Café crew decided that Friday would be the right time to head to Bela Bela in convoy, as did about fifty-12 thousand other VDub nutters, and while most campers usually only make the effort on the Saturday, the resort started filling up fast. The Cum Laude crew were ready for this and so the venue was prepped, and there was even a party set up to keep the many Dubbers entertained a day before the massive Saturday night party. Of course loads didn’t bother attending any parties and instead made either the camp site, the chalets or the hotel their party spot. The VAG Café chaps did all of the above.
Friday was rather wet and gloomy, as you’ll see from the few pics taken. Not many cars were going to be snapped by cameras, either still dirty from the long trek to the venue or still under covers on trailers to keep them as clean as possible for the show side of things. It’s normal for people to trailer showcars to an event, we spotted loads of them parked around, but we also noticed that some people trailered other cars to the event, as in non-VW cars. It really does boggle the mind as to why you’d go through the effort of arranging a tow car and a trailer to tow an E30 BMW to a Volkswagen event. Enthusiasts are a weird, weird bunch. No word of lie. Saturday was an early start for us to get in the usual morning campsite drive to see what we could see, and we saw PLENTY. The campgrounds were quite full, but not quite packed yet, which we attributed to the weather and also the fact that many people were only starting their journey to the venue. We were right judging by how full the campgrounds were after lunch time when we went back for an update. The vibe was electric again, oddly not as mad as usual, but it was there.
By 10:00 on Saturday the main display arena was filling up fast, final preps were taking place to the stage and the rotating floor and vendors were setting up to sell their goods. There was plenty happening, and some great looking cars were starting to filter in. Of course, full bias included, the VAG Café stand was pure fire. Take a look at the pics to see all the VAG Café Equipped cars on display covering the coolest Audi and Volkswagen models with the best of the best parts and accessories fitted. While most chilled around and socialised, the judges tried to get started with the judging process on the main stage. With around 140 cars to get through in two days, time would be rather tight. Not that anyone else seemed to care too much, not even 20 cars were inspected throughout the day which basically meant that Sunday would be properly manic. Saturday’s weather also played a part though, the clouds remained heavy and opened up every couple of hours making for a wet, gloomy and miff-looking day. Thankfully all manner of food and drink (the latter being the important one) was on hand to lift spirits, in some cases a little too much. The rain didn’t do much to the evening’s planned activities, the party was madness, dubbed The 2020 Camp Fest Social Afterparty or “Afterfest” was hosted as an outdoor affair with impressive line-array sound and intelligent lighting and the entertainment included a variety of celebrity acts performing from the one-of-a-kind Amsterdam VW-themed DJ booth. While it’s called Afterfest, it was pretty much in the middle of fest. While it was packed there, the campgrounds were also rocking, as were the chalets thanks to many opting to rather kick it from tent to tent and chalet to chalet to catch up with friends and drink copious amounts of whatever could be found… or smoked.
The Saturday jol was actually a blessing for the judges because more than a few people were too hung over to clean and display their cars, never mind taking them on stage to be judged. Judging was billed to start at 08:30 but as is the norm with Camp Fest, the first car ambled up closer to 10:30, and then for the first few hours MC Vic Pardal had to pretty much beg people to line up. When a cut off time was announced, it did force a few people to line up, but there were still loads that missed out on being judged because they simply didn’t take to the stage in time. Weird how some people believe their time is more valuable than anyone else’s. While the stage shenanigans were going on, the VAG Café ensemble chilled under gazebos watching the action and drama unfold.
Yes, drama. As usual, plenty of that. Loads of cars won loads of categories, but for the car of the show it was between previous winners, Jacques Barnes and his insane Mk5 GTi and Marlin Abrahams in his Black Magic Mk1. Both guys have been on the scene for years and have won many, many shows between them. This time the points went the way of the Mk1, and that was when the proverbial shit hit the fan. Out of towners were upset they didn’t win, locals wanted the Mk5 to win because overall it looks like a winner, but when the nitty gritty was examined it lost out by pretty much a single point. No, the crowd didn’t choose it, all 5 judges did, and they all know what they’re doing out there. As expected, social media exploded with aggro people convinced their car, or their friend’s car was more deserving to win. Good thing they didn’t inspect every single car up close like the judges did or they’d have some hard truths to tell their friends. At the end of the day it was Marlin who took the in with his immaculate Mk1 on the cleanest wheels ever seen at fest, and an R32 swap under the hood. Many cars in many categories sported VAG Café parts and accessories in some way or another and one of our own crew, Ruan Grobbelaar, took home top honours in the Mk7 category. Well deserved, the passion from Ruan and his son Zuan is 2nd to none!
Overall Camp Fest Twenty-Twenty was yet another power event. A huge thanks goes to everyone involved in making it a success, and to all our friends and customers that carry the VAG Café name high and proud. Also a thanks from myself, Krutch, to the awesome Siya from Volkswagen South Africa for hooking me up with the Amarok Canyon for Fest weekend. That thing attracted mad attention and was really, really hard to give back.
Check out the VDub Camp Fest page on Facebook for a list of class winners, it should be up sometime soon
Are y’all on again for Camp Fest 2021? VAG Café surely is…
Check out the gallery below, but catch all the images over on the the VAG Café Facebook page, but you already knew that of course. You can catch the Friday ad Saturday pics if you click here and the brighter, better weather pics from Sunday over here.