FEMA Festival 1999

27th - 29th August 1999
Yorkshire MAG

Click on any of the following photo's for a bigger version.

The FEMA festival was supposed to be the first of an annual international event to raise money for FEMA. Previously the Euro Demo's held every two years had helped with this but it was decided that, for various reasons, it would be better to have a Euro Demo only if there was some legislation to demonstrate against and to have an annual festival once a year. I was a bit suspicious that these plans were not going well when I realised that nobody from Windsor & District MAG wanted to go despite the fact that there's usually a good showing for the Euro Demo's. After booking three tickets for myself, Siôn and Cathy I found that there wasn't anyone going from the whole Thames Valley area! Well at least there would be lots of people from all over Europe which would make for an interesting atmosphere.

The journey

So we set off on the Friday over half an hour later than planned but still with plenty of time to get there. I think Cathy had some plans to avoid the rally because, after delaying the journey, she tried to take us the wrong way down the A15 from the A1. I should have been suspicious when she asked "Who's got the map then". This put a bit of a downer on my plan to just follow Cathy who had planned the route out in some detail a few days earlier. Still, we made the journey pretty easily because Siôn took the precaution of bringing a map and what a nice journey it was too. The A15 is pretty good after Peterborough and it was a nice sunny day. We went over the Humber bridge on the way which is a pretty impressive bit of engineering. Some of the information on the MAG UK web site had mentioned that the rally was in a place called 'Blubberdale'. To our disappointment, we found that this was a mistake, we'd been looking forward to taking pictures next to the sign!

onway.jpg - 58 Kb Stopped for some nosh somewhere.

The grounds

A beer tent with a stage for the bands, a food stall and one other stall. Not an impressive list even for a 500 limit rally. A few more stalls turned up on the Saturday though. There was a huge hill on one side with some trees at the top which looked really nice - especially at night when the full moon lit it all up from behind.

view.jpg - 38 Kb This was on the Friday. A lot more turned up later and on the Saturday.

Friday night

We hit the bar rather early at around 6pm, not surprisingly, we were about the only ones there! After going back to the tent and helping Cathy out with her bottle of wine we headed back to the bar. It had started to fill up and we had a really good night. The band was playing early 80's stuff which is the kind of stuff I like. They played some Undertones and "Into the Valley" by the Skids and loads more which I can't remember! The DJ played a variety of music which included the Levellers and some more early 80's stuff. There was some older music too and even some rave music.

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At one point Simon Milward (sp?) and Neil Liversidge said a few words. At this point it was revealed that there was some people from the continent - a handful from 3 different countries (I think). Observation showed that most people were from the Yorkshire area or the North East. (Lots of "Iron Horse MCC - Teeside" T-shirts and "Durham MAG" ones). Not exactly the continental feel that I had been expecting!

cath nfl.jpg - 42 Kb

dancers.jpg - 16 Kb

There was one problem with the bar, it didn't shut! This may not sound like a problem but combine this with Cathy's insistence that it's not polite to leave until it's closed and my complete lack of resistance to alcohol and you can see my problem! I eventually left at 2.30am leaving Cathy and Siôn dancing away and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. I heard later that Siôn decided to climb the hill before going to bed!


Neil Liversidge (NFL) was seen riding pillion facing the wrong way shouting something about a mass ride out to York in 10 minutes. We were nursing hang-overs trying to figure out what to do - there was no way we could ride out just then. So we set off a little later. Siôn had to drag us around York as we followed him, Cathy curing her hang-over with some more drink and me stopping every 15 minutes attempting to throw up (I knew I'd feel better once I'd achieved this).

rep.jpg - 68 Kb Carrying on the great tradition of other WADMAG reps.

Siôn went off for a ride over the North Yorkshire moors while Cathy and I had a bit of a rest. Two chaps kept us entertained though - "Mr BareArse" and "Mr Whippy". It was almost like a stand-up comedy act, at one point "Mr BareArse" pulled down his trousers (hence the name) and insisted on being whipped by "Mr Whippy". Then there was woman who walked up the campsite wearing some skimpy black underwear and some leather chaps. We don't know why she did this but I didn't bother complaining.

For some strange reason, considerably less alcohol was consumed by us that night. The band was not so interesting for us so perhaps it was better that we'd partied the previous night. NFL was working behind the bar and even served me! I might have a famous left hand soon because Ian Mutch took a photo of NFL as I handed over my dosh. Reminds me of Siôn's claim to fame which is a famous foot - it got in a rally picture in AWOL a few years ago at the Lion Rally.


Another nice ride back although Siôn eventually gave up the challenge of keeping up with Cathy (I had the same problem at the bar) on her trusty XS650 so we all got a bit split up near the end. Siôn wanted to keep his licence or something. Cathy was blissfully unaware of losing us due to only having one wing mirror that flapped around happily in the wind - at least that's what she claims.

bridge.jpg - 46 Kb About to get on to the humber bridge.

So that was it, the first FEMA festival. Not as popular as I thought it would be, but as promised, held in a much nicer place than the Euro Demo's which end up being near huge cities. We've got our "historic rally badge" with "1st FEMA" on it - wonder where the next one will be?

I discovered that all the insect bites on my lower belly were spreading to other smelly parts of my body which means I had caught German Measels! At least this is what my other half thought and she confirmed it after speaking to her mum who was a nurse. German Measels is a highly contagious disease which can cause pregnant women to lose their babies, so not something to laugh about really but I couldn't help smiling when I remembered a brief conversation on Friday night. The pint glasses had a deposit on them and you were expected to use the same glasses all night, at one point they got a bit mixed up when a round was ordered so someone said "Ah well, you haven't got anything have you?" We all said no!

So that got me out of doing the gardening on the Bank Holiday Monday (can't be in the sun with German Measels) and I missed Tuesday morning at work but it turned out that, after visiting the doctor, they were just rather a lot of insect bites!

People we met

Tony - from SHMAG. We saw the "South Hants MAG" T-shirt and spoke to Tony because he was the first non-northern person we'd seen! Turns out he was the only person from the Southern MAG region as far as he knew and he was only there for the one night!

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Neil Liversidge - Who turned out to be friendly, polite and got involved with everything. Quite a surprise after only having had insulting letters from him in the past.

Piglet - An X-Windsor & District member now living in York.

FEMA concept (21/02/99) - contains the original information from MAG regarding the concept of the FEMA festival and the reason for it's creation.

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