Call me stupid, but in nine years of going to the Revival, I had never considered camping overnight. I have never actually considered camping anywhere overnight, to be fair, doing it only under duress as a teenager; now I earn money, I prefer that splendid thing called a five-star hotel. But then I saw a picture of an Airstream, a model at its height in the Fifties and Sixties, so perfectly suited to the Revival period of 1948 to 1966, and, crucially, I saw how luxurious it was inside, and I thought, let’s give it a go.
What a splendid, splendid thing an Airstream is, full of mod-cons that mercifully take the edge off the Great Outdoors. My four-berth job had two HD flatscreen TVs, one by the plush double bed, a lime-green bathroom with shower and funky circular sink, microwave and oven, black American fridge/freezer with blue lighting, Bluetooth-enabled stereo and a white Corian kitchen worktop. Home from home, or, rather higher-spec in many respects than my home. And thankfully all that riveted aluminium on the walls and ceiling means not a hint of claustrophobia.
I looked around my camping field right by the circuit, and saw the envy in campers’ eyes, although I’m not sure the bivouacked group of military actors to my right could have cared less; they were having far too much fun in the twilight whizzing about the site in period military Jeeps and drinking what looked like home-brew from a massive trestle table under the orange glow of campfire lights. And my immediate neighbour, in his towering RV, did not appear to be in for the whole weekend. When I finally wandered round the battlement to introduce myself, I found not him, but a pristine Ferrari Daytona parked next to his lorry. Only at the Revival…
The difference between experiencing this monumental three-day event as a day-tripper, and staying overnight, is immense. There’s no question: everyone must stay for the entire weekend at one point in their lives. It turns the Revival into a sort of Le Mans, where you bed down to the sound of racing and smell of engines, and wake up to it starting all over again. It’s full immersion, which gives you a wonderful feeling of belonging to a very exclusive festival. The thought of stepping back into the real world at the end of it all is not remotely appealing.
When the sun sets and the last of the brake lights has disappeared round the Lavant and Woodcote corners, the underlying spirit of this event comes to life. “Over the Road”, the name given to the entertainment area on the other side of the road to the race track, goes on until 10.30pm, with fairground attractions, shopping, live entertainment and eateries. And there’s plenty of action after dark on the campsites; it’s enough just to sit and watch as women in Mary Quant mini-skirts, NAAFI uniforms and Fifties rockabilly dresses pad back from the circuit arm-in-arm with their Teddy Boys, Beatniks and soldiers, weary but happy.
I shall have to find a way to stay again next year, but not under canvas; I fear I’ve been far too spoilt by my aluminium slice of Americana.
For more details on Airstream, visit the UK’s official dealer, airtreamandco.com. Erin’s four-berth Airstream cost £83,125, including shipping from Ohio and lots of optional extras.