Apologises for the delay in writing this, the hot weather has been giving me headaches so I’ve been hiding away from sunlight and computer screens a fair bit. Speaking of hot weather the Austen & the Abbey event was boiling! It was uncomfortably hot, I even decided against wearing a wig in the end but lots of other Lolitas were dressed head to toe in their finest outfits and looked lovely. I bought the sneak in special ticket for the Saturday which allowed me entry on the Saturday only (it was a 2 day event) between 11am and 5:30pm. I had decided to take a few items to sell on the bring & buy stall, a good idea in theory but when its hot and they are heavy all you want to do is dump them somewhere. Typically when I arrived no-one was on the desk to sort my ticket so I had to wait a while, then I couldn’t seem to find the bring & buy stall, I asked a member of staff and they said it was located in a building in the middle of the park….ok. So off I set with my friend in the boiling heat to find it but there didn’t seem to be anything anywhere. We bumped in to another Lolita who was also looking for it and had been told the same thing so we wondered around together a bit more before deciding to just head back to the main bit and ask for better directions. We bumped in to another couple wondering in the park on the way back, they were also looking for this mysterious bring & buy stall. After trying to look the info up on their phone and ringing a friend we gave up and headed back to the venue, this time though when entering I noticed a lot of commotion to the side just as you went through the door towards the hall. There’s the bring & buy stall! Why did we get sent to the park? Crazy. Anyway, it was a lot smaller than I expected and was located sort of in a doorway so it was extremely hard to get more than 2 lolitas in the space at once especially with petticoats also as it was hot all the doors were open so confused people kept peering in and sometimes just wondered in. There also weren’t enough hangers so items were piled all over the place and to begin with there was an issue with the float too so you could only purchase stuff if you had the correct change. I don’t know where exactly the changing rooms were either but it wasn’t the ‘Department Store Experience’ it was quoted to be. Anyway that was sorted so off we went to look at all the lovely stalls.
Here’s a general video of the event that someone filmed and put on youtube:
The main hall in the Royal Pump Rooms had been set out to have a small stage area in the centre and then the stall holders were spread out around the rest of the room. A rough timetable of events was put up online beforehand but nothing actually ran to time on the day and a few advertised events didn’t happen. I know they had a few issues that apparently were out of their control, quite what they were I’m not sure but nothing was really explained and announcements were very late coming. I know some items got stuck in customs too so that spoiled a few things.
The first event of the day happened at around 2pm and was a performance by Coco from Die Milch. She has a really lovely voice and is an excellent piano player. She’s such a lovely living doll. Here are some photos I took and there’s some footage of Coco performing on youtube:
This was then followed by the Community Fashion Show, this allowed individuals to show off their own J-fashion outfits, as well as including older lolitas, brolitas and brand as well as off brand outfits. Here are a few of the outfits:
*Apologises for some of the photos, trying to get the right angle to avoid getting people in the audience heads in shot etc was difficult plus the models never really paused so my camera struggled to take the photos quick enough*
The next fashion show to take place was ‘Dwellers from the Forest’ a Mori-Girl fashion show. I haven’t seen a Mori girl fashion show before, in fact I think it was the first of its kind in the UK.
This was then followed by a long delay before we had a talk on the Regency period. The talk was really interesting, sadly I can’t remember all that was discussed so hopefully someone else will do a write up or something. I think when this talk finished it was already about 5:30pm which is when the daytime event should have ended and yet we still had the brand fashion shows to go. We were then asked to go wait outside while the brand shows had a quick run through. We were then treated to a fashion show by Fairy Wish who do very lovely romantic clothing and then Atelier Pierrot who are much more Gothic (I love their clothing).
The brand fashion shows were great, it was worth waiting for. People were already arriving for the banquette and ball when the fashion show finished at about 7:20pm! No break for any of the staff as it was then straight in to the evening activities, it also meant some people didn’t get chance to go and change but they also didn’t have to leave the venue and find something to do to pass the time either. Unfortunately it was time for me to leave though now.
Quick Sum Up: Overall considering I only paid £13 for the day I think it was a great event, good value for money and it also turned out to be much longer than I (or anyone else) expected. If I had paid more though I think Imay have been disappointed. I know they all worked extremely hard to make this event happen and that a lot of things that went wrong were out of their control. The location was really lovely, though not the easiest place to get to which could explain why the attendance was small which is a shame. Communication throughout the day was very poor, no-one knew what was supposed to be happening, when they should be at a tea party or in a catwalk show, when the next event would take place so as hardly any announcements were made you just wondered around the same stalls again. It didn’t help that it was so hot either as if it had been cooler you could have walked about more outside. There were supposed to be horse & carriage rides too but I don’t think this happened, I never saw one around. It was really hot so maybe they had to cancel? Overall I had a good time as did my friends, we did some shopping, met new people and ate cake so I think if they hold another event in the future lots of these issues will propbably be avoided. I have heard a few more stories since the event from people that went for the full weekend and attended the evening meal & ball, there were lots of problems and issues with these aspects too and from the sounds of it these people generally seem to be dissapointed. I didn’t go to these so I can’t comment but it does sound like the organisers have a lot of work to do if they intend to hold future events. My main issue was the lack of updates, info and communication – if things aren’t running to plan let people know and apologise, don’t just leave them to wait around.