Festival Fever

We take a quick look at the new wave of summer sessions providing outdoor potential!
The outdoor business is normally experiencing a special kind of buzz around this time of year. Glastonbury season. Historically this is a great chance to boost sales, with a frantic demand for tents and camping gear. Then of course there are all those waterproofs and welly boots or general “down on the rain sodden farm” type footwear.

Not this year though. Because this year Glastonbury has been left to the tourists who actually go to see the real place, rather than those trekking down to see some of the biggest names in rock and roll perform.

But it’s not all doom and gloom because for some time now there has been a new breed of festival, a little bit Woodstock and a little bit watersports. The action sports festival and, particularly, the surf and even wakeboard events that host fans in their thousands. Not just those inspired by the sports, but those attracted by headline music acts or the chance to see some of their action heroes…in action.

NASS (National Adventure Sports Show) has become a firm and favourite fixture on the European action calendar and 2006 is its tenth anniversary. From humble beginnings, creator Tony de la Haye has taken his event and thoroughly maximised its potential. With backing from music veterans and Glastonbury and Reading organisational experts, Mean Fiddler, NASS has grown from a relatively “core” event for enthusiasts, to a massive occasion. Moving away from its traditional home at the Bath and West Showground, NASS is running this year at the Birmingham NEC on the 29th-30th July and this year two of the largest names in action sports will be making the headlines there – Skate megastar, Tony Hawk and his BMX counterpart Mat Hoffman. Over 50,000 people are expected for NASS, which has much of its audience appeal in the up close action from its stars and provides skate and bike addicts with the ultimate facilities to put their own skills on display as well as check out the massive retail village.

Now rolling into its fourth year, the Animal Beach Ball is regarded as the ultimate feel good surf festival which hit Newquay’s famous Fistral Beach this month to provide four whole days of an unrivalled mix of surf, music, beach entertainment, partying and inspiration! This is not only a showcase for some of our greatest surfers (and plenty to look at both in and out of the water), it’s a real example of community partnership. School kids from 10 schools across South Cornwall will travelled to Newquay to showcase their talents and compete against all their counterparts in a range of fun beach contests including a tag team surf contest, a dance off, beach volleyball and a battle of the bands. The winning band were given a unique opportunity to play on stage before the presentations on the final day of the Animal Beach Ball event.

These are just a couple of the many alternative festivals that are both filling the Glastonbury gap and will be adding to it when our most famous music event takes centre stage once more in 2007. Alongside Reading, V Festival, T in the Park, Download, Isle of Wight and many others.

Of course no festival is complete without the right gear. And it may get dusty, even dirty, but there are still style standards to be maintained. Blacks and Millets have had it spot on with their designer collaborations, providing some of the funkiest and fastest selling tents and camping kit on the market. Forget green, or navy, think floral and fun! The KK tepee and Cow and ridge wave tents have been exceptional buying successes for Millets, alongside their Cath Kidston range and for Blacks, the Ted Baker Fish print chair and tent have been equally popular. Certainly proving that people love a bit of great outdoor style!

You can’t of course mention surf style without mentioning Reef. No buts about it, this is the brand that you are likely find on every one’s feet because of its iconic image. Classic styles of shoes and boots are continually reinvented with a twist and the footwear, and now apparel, is in high demand for its sheer creativity . What’s more, these aren’t just any flip flops. These are technical, comfortable and full of style flip flops.

Rocket Dog is a hot new footwear brand with a dash of Californian style & a touch of British sass. This bright and breezy collection includes pumps, flip flops and wedges, spotted on celebrity feet and sure to become a must have summer name.