The famous Goodwood Revival prides itself on being the world’s premier historic motorsport event. It is a three-day festival held each September since 1998 for the types of road racing cars and motorcycle that would have competed during the circuit’s original period—1948–1966. This year marked 50 years since the circuit originally closed.
Tickets for the Revival sell out rapidly every year. It’s no wonder, as this event is not only known for its excellent wheel-to-wheel racing around a classic circuit, unspoiled by the modern world, but also for exceptional period outfits, great dining and music providing a perfect weekend away for anyone. Every year, thousands of enthusiasts are disappointed to miss out on snapping up tickets.
However, many classic racing fans don’t realise that you can enjoy this event from a completely different and maybe even better perspective. You can apply to be a volunteer for the Revival or Festival of Speed.
So what does volunteering at the Goodwood Revival involve?
The pros are quite obvious:
- You get to enjoy all the action without the price of entry – although you still need to get yourself there, find some spare change for period-appropriate outfits.
- As a volunteer you will get a site plot in the official Goodwood camping site, with showers and sanitary facilities provided. Occasionally they even have an outdoor cinema there.
- You get to meet loads of true car enthusiasts – well that goes without saying. Who else would give up their own free time to be there?
- Quite often, you get access to areas that are off-limits to the public. For example, the paddock areas and some hospitality venues.
- If you not a late sleeper and get there super-early, you can see all the cars really close up before the crowds start pouring in.
- You leave the event with the sense of achievement, and a few days later when you watch all the pictures and press publications, you find yourself thinking “Oh wow, I played my own little part in making this event happen. How cool is that?”
The cons, or shall I say technicalities:
- You have to be prepared to devote up to seven hours each day for volunteering. This means starting early or finishing late, doing the jobs that Goodwood Estate employees may not be able to or choose not to do – you are a volunteer, after all, and the main purpose of you being there is to help event organisers with all the last-minute things.
- As the organisers are busy making sure that everything runs smoothly, don’t expect them to spend much time with you. So it’s best if you come with fellow volunteers, or else after you finish all your good deeds of the day, you will be wandering about on your own, probably unable to afford a nice glass of champagne (unlike at the Festival of Speed, at the Revival they only sell Champagne by the bottle with a £100 price tag).
- You have to make your way to event quite a bit earlier. There is transport between the campsite and the circuit, but the event is very busy and you may have to wait for quite a while before the next bus arrives (although I must say for the Revival, the buses seem to run more frequently compared to the Festival of Speed).
- You will have to pay about £150 deposit up-front before you enter the event. This is to stop fake volunteers who, in the past, used to register as volunteers simply to get free camping and entry to this amazing event and then chose to forget to fulfil their duties. The deposit is refunded to you within ten working days.
- Oh, and last but not least, unfortunately in most cases your camping pitch is not next to other volunteers, which is a bit of a shame as you lose part of the good deed spirit of being among fellow workers.
However, in my personal opinion, any cons are far outweighed by the pros. The few pounds that you may have to pay out of your own pocket is a super small price to pay for such an amazing event as this – full of Britishness at its best.
P.S. An added bonus if you are a female volunteer: You are treated super-nice. I know it sounds a cliché but let’s be honest, there are not that many ladies who genuinely like racing cars – I mean, seriously take interest in them – so within this particular motoring world, this lady car enthusiast was always greeted with enthusiasm and respect.