It took me a while to put this post together.
The reason for that is my mixed feelings about the whole festival.
The only things that are left now are flashbacks from the whole event.
The whole gallery of pictures available here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.387290441481069.1073741845.255778924632222&type=3
I really love the idea of the festival but unfortunately I have some remarks and I give C to the whole event.
If you do not want to read the whole article but skip to the summary, I invite you to scroll down, where I point out the biggest minuses and what I really liked.
Otherwise enjoy my full review below.
I have been invited for the opening of the Festival on Thursday by R&B Vintage Clothing.
I have accepted the invitation, thinking it will be a great feast for the eyes.
My expectations were very high, especially after what I heard about this event last year, and reading that this is the biggest retro market/event in Europe.
I was expecting an amazing atmosphere and amusement.
Unfortunately, when I arrived the first day there was none of this.
The halls were almost empty, it was very difficult to spot somebody from the staff, the stands were half prepared for the whole event.
It looked a little bit like it is the last day, not the first day and definietly not the GRAND OPENING PARTY that they have promised.
I spent there almost 2 hours just walking around and looking at the stands, cars and what they will have to offer for the next 3 days.
I think the fact that there was not much going on that day, and the price of 30€ at the door, when the event started at 7 p.m. was enough for people to stay home.
We haven't seen even one show during those 2 hours....
The stage that was set in the middle was sadly empty.
There was no information about the upcoming performances or start of the disco, etc.
The only place that was more less alive was the roller disco and the game section set up in the building next to the market.
Talking to some sellers I learnt that they are very disappointed as well, as the high price of the ticket took their clients away.
I have decided to come by only during the first and the last day, to have a clear view of what have changed and how the whole event developed.
On the day 3, I have arrived at 1 p.m. Due to the bad weather conditions, the concerts were moved from the stage outside to the Vintage stage.
How big my disappointment was, when I came in and was expecting dance classes.
Instead I saw a rehearsal of one of the bands performing later that day.
I have not seen any information saying that the courses were moved somewhere else, therefore I decided to go check the market hall.
It was more animated than few days before, this time some activities were announced in advance like book signing by Canadian artist Maly Siri or performances in the Golden Age Society tent.
Maly Siri,very talented, lovely lady, was signing her books while behind her dancers were performing.
That caused little bit of a mess, as the people who were lined up to buy her book, were mixed up with the spectators of the show.The size of the hall was enormous, which makes me wonder who decided to combine those 2 activities at the same time.
Some of the stands were empty for the whole time that I spent there during the Sunday afternoon.
There was no clear distinction between the decades. As the festival was dedicated to retro on general, you could see the stands from 40s-90s, which I think is ok but not managing them and placing them by the decades, makes the whole experience a little bit chaotic.
Another surprising fact was that the restaurant was closing at 5 p.m.!
If you have been at the venue for few hours, there was very little to do inbetween the concerts or shows. One would think that the restaurant will be a good option to fill in your spare time but no, apparently the owners decided that extra work and money did not make much sense.
On top of that, the service was running inbetween the tables like the bunch of headless chickens... They were mixing the tables' numbers all the time. They brought us 3 different dishes than we ordered and at the end, they wanted to charge us 2 times more than we supposed to pay!
Very, very bad organization! My note for it is F!
What I missed the most was the person who would lead it all!
The Baseballs concert started 30 minutes eralier and there was no information given at all!
Another thing was the ticket price!
Many people got really angry, as the tickets available in the pre sale were more expensive that the tickets at the door on the last day!
What do you call it pre- sale and early birds promotion if you decide to lower the ticket price over 10€ at the very last moment?!
Overall I can say it is a good idea to meet, get to know shops, sellers, stars and be part of this retro crazyness.
But if it's worth to spend so much money and come every day?
I would say no. Choose what you want to see and be prepared that you have to organize your time, food and inform yourself about all the extra things happening during the time you decided to spend at Brussels' Expo.
Now the summary for those who got scared at the beginning ;)
The biggest minuses were:
- very high prices of the tickets and food at the venue
-the price for the Sunday ticket was reduced to 13€ at the entrance, whereas first it was 30. Unfair for the early birds and people who bought tickets online.
- to buy food/drinks you needed special coupons
-no clear distinctions between the stands and the decades. Everything was mixed up and that was giving the impression that you have sometimes at the supermarket: you have to go through everything to find what you are looking for, cause like this we can maybe catch you in the net and earn more money with the things you not necessary need.
- the same case was with the cars. My fiancé decided to expose his car, that he worked on for the last 5 years. The car is from the 80s and was standing just next to the ones from the 50s and 60s.
-no clear information about the events and changes. One of the most expected concerts of The Baseballs was re-scheduled to start 30 min earlier and no information was given!
-what Golden Age Society prepared. They were super professional, funny and available for a chat or semi-professional photos.
- Maly Siri's book and the way she was signing it.
- possibility to meet with the online shop owners and photographers
- hair & make up stand
- candy store
- fact that many people really dressed up in the retro style
I hope the organizers, wiser after this year's experience will make the next festival more spectacular!