Yesterday (23 July) I called to the 2016 Llangollen Bike Festival – Llanfest 2016. I didn’t t really know a great deal about the event, other than to say it’s a relatively new annual event and that it’s located in a part of North Wales that I’m pretty familiar with and that is something of a mecca for bikers.
Other than reading the info on the web site I wasn’t really sure quite what to expect or whether or not it would be worth the effort. Although the weather yesterday was ideal for a ride there from my home in Manchester I actually drove across with my wife and two grandchildren, as the event is billed as a family friendly festival it seemed worth giving it a go.
I reckon most bikers in the North West (and doubtless many from beyond) will be familiar with Llangollen. the Horseshoe Pass and the many fine roads around Bala, Ruthin, Ffestiniog etc – so if nothing else a ride out to this event means your surrounded by decent roads.
My overall view was that it was actually quite good and it absolutely did have a ‘family friendly’ feel to it.
There was a decent variety of side stalls on site – some of the usual things that you would expect at any bike event – stalls selling bike bits/paraphernalia (but not too much to bore the non enthusiast), burger stands, tea, coffee and cake stalls, stunt bike, wheelie bikes and a reasonable display of machines.
There didn’t seem to be a significant manufacturer’s/dealers prescience although Triumph were pretty well represented and there was a good representation from various clubs along with entertaining displays from trials bikes and an extreme mountain bike team – that was pretty good and provided decent entertainment.
The outdoor displays and stalls were located around the central displays that were set out in the Llangollen Pavilion and it was here that the great man himself Giacomo Agostini made his special guest appearances.
The Pavillion itself was full of bikes – mostly old but some new and I was glad to be able to see the new Moto Guzzi V9’s which until yesterday I hadn’t actually seen ‘in the flesh’
Entry was £10 per adult, £5 for under 12’s and free admission for under 3’s and I think that was a fair and reasonable price. There was ample (free) car parking and separate dedicated bike parking. Refreshments seemed to be pitched at a reasonable price and it seemed that there were plenty of opportunities and space to camp out there if that’s your thing.
Its fair to say that the Llanfest meets its family friendly billing, with a pretty relaxed sort of feel to it all – we stopped for pictures with the George Formby tribute act, the Llangollen Town Crier and had coffee and cake at a 1950’s themed refreshment stop which provided great service with a smile and decent value as well.
All in all it was pretty enjoyable, my grandchildren enjoyed the experience and came home with carrier bags of bits and pieces (like you do at any bike show), I enjoyed wandering around looking at the bikes, my wife who doesn’t normally come to bike shows with me also enjoyed the visit, and surprisingly perhaps found herself quite liking the look of the Triumph America that was on display there.
There’s plenty of space to have your own picnic (great if you’re with children), the pretty and bustling town of Llangollen is literally on the doorstep and if you’re on your bike then its quality riding on the surrounding roads.
There was plenty there that we didn’t really give our time to – due in part to the constraints of having our two small grandchildren with us – but if you check the Llanfest website you will have an idea of what else was on over the weekend.
It’s not a glossy annual NEC type show and its not like the annual Manchester Bike show – but you know what, it’s actually alright and I think it’s got its place in the annual calendar, with it’s different setting, ‘authentic’ feel and its all round family friendly type atmosphere it has a certain charm to it – I guess to some extent the weather could make or break it for you – but yesterday the weather was great and added to a really enjoyable day out.
I know the organizers have confirmed that the event will take place again in 2017 (early August I think) … so will we go back next year?
In a word – yes.
I have posted a whole bunch of pictures from the show below and clicking on the first one will open a scrolable gallery.