A Good (wood) Vintage

A Posh Festival

GoodwoodHang onto your top hats because Britain’s posh-est festival is about to come around  again.  The Goodwood Vintage Festival, September 13-15, celebrates music and culture from the 40s to the 80s, at no less a ravishing venue than Goodwood House, the home of the Dukes of Richmond for 300 years.

The 11th duke in waiting, the Earl of March and Kinrara, is hosting the event which features “something entirely different” as in tents and yurts with butlers, breakfast in bed, posh loos, hairdressers, and nice showers. (Ho, hum, actually this kind of luxury is becoming rather commonplace at festivals these days.) But nonetheless, Goodwood House can’t be bettered as a setting, whether it’s for Formula One Racing, Glorious Goodwood, or the Vintage Festival. And this festival isn’t for the faint-hearted in terms of their wallets. The price tag for deluxe treatment can be in excess of £2,000 for the weekend.

We all know that Goodwood is the most beautiful race course in Britain.  As you drive through the hedgerows and over the Sussex Downs where views take your breath away, your heart begins to beat rapidly in anticipation of Lord March’s most famous event, Glorious Goodwood.

This splendid racing week takes place at the end of July, and is without a doubt the racing highlight of the social season.

Instead of the top hats and millinery confections of Royal Ascot, the tone here is more low-key, more European.  Here the crowd is less flashy, and the linen suits and panamas give it a garden party feel.  Lord March doesn’t send out a dress code as is done for the Royal Enclosure at Ascot.  He assumes his guests will know how to behave, and they do! Everyday during his ritual he entertains 55 for lunch in his private box and dinner for 25 in the evening back at Goodwood House.

Otherwise known as Charles Gordon –Lennox, the 55-year-old earl has youthful energy and Hollywood looks.  He is a brand leader in demonstrating how grand, aristocratic families can survive in today’s world and even boost their fortunes.  Descended from an illegitimate son of Charles II, who created the dukedom for his heir, the house boasts historical and colourful documents such as the guest list from the 4th Duke of Richmond’s ball in Brussels the night before the battle of Waterloo.  This glittering event features in Thackery’s Vanity Fair in a memorable scene of the revelling young officers rushing off to battle still in their white ties and tails and dress uniforms.

In the category of Keeping Up Appearances…and getting more interesting as you age, Lord March is the best in show.  And now he seems to have licked the “assets, no income problem.”  A good Vintage, like vintage wine, could be the ultimate taste of autumn, if you can afford it!

Mrs M

Vintage at Goodwood
Goodwood House
Chichester, W. Sussex
PO18 0PX

01243 755 055


September 13 -15, 2013

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