‘They started at the Bottleneck and now they’re here.’
It’s hard to believe, but it’s now been a fortnight since the end of one of the most memorable TT’s of recent times.
Whilst we reminisce mournfully over that now departed orange orb in the sky, we can also reflect on the Bushy’s TT Village and what an indisputable triumph it truly was.
Bushy’s founder, Martin Brunnschweiler, was again the brainchild behind the concept, just as he was for the original Bushy’s Beer Tent. So unassuming is Martin, if you passed through the TT Village this year, you would doubtless have seen him cleaning the toilets, picking up rubbish or mopping floors. Yet make no mistake, this was his vision.
The original Bushy’s Beer Tent was synonymous with the TT itself: it was a rite of passage to have a few ales after work and catch a local band; to chat with German bikers; to queue for seemingly endless stretches of time and to bask in the giddy bliss that TT fortnight bathes us in.
The Bushy’s TT Village took the essence and soul of what made the Bottleneck so special and injected vitality, fresh impetus, ideas, flair and an even stronger community feel.
Ask anyone who went there – how incredible was that atmosphere? It felt akin to being at a burgeoning UK festival. The rays bouncing off your aviators as you lay on the grass, ice-cold beer in hand, listening to the hub and chatter of thousands of pleasure-seekers as the local band rock out: pure joy.
The opportunity afforded to so many of those bands – all local – will surely be keenly appreciated by our local music community. To play to audiences of as many as 4000 people must have been spine-tingling, the once in a lifetime moment for those rock-star dreamers, who got to live out that fantasy for one glorious moment. Martin and Justin from ELS went all out on the stage, sound and lighting, giving the full festival experience for performers and audience.
The festival vibes were enhanced further with the wide array of fantastic food options for all local businesses. Martin and Harry (his right hand man) selflessly opened their doors to a tonne of local, thriving businesses. This collaborative effort meant we could gorge ourselves on some outrageously delicious smoked brisket at Train Smokers or salivate with anticipation as a Salty Dog Pizza was bubbling away in the Black Dog Oven.
Not to mention allowing yours truly the chance to transform the Villa Marina Colonnade into Gef’s Big Top, which was the most fun had since records began.
Ultimately, it was the social experience that set the Bushy’s TT Village apart. On the busiest days as many as 12,000 people went through the doors. It truly captured the imagination and resonated with locals and tourists alike.
It’s not hyperbolic to state this was the social experience of the year – where else would you see your mates, your Mum, your boss and your old primary school teacher on the same night?
Upon the initial announcement, Martin had stated he hoped the village would be a kind of ‘coming of age party’. Now, as we reflect, already with bittersweet nostalgia, we can say it was all that and more.
It was a grand, joyous carnival; a fizzling burst of merriment and mirth that put smiles on faces and brought people together, all the while showcasing what this fine Island has to offer.
You can’t ask for much more than that.