Brighton Mod Weekender
Sarge reports on one special weekend.
The IOW is without doubt the UK’s largest scooter gathering and ironically the organisers of Brighton Mod Weekender (New Untouchables) were responsible for resurrecting and revitalising the Isle of Wight rally, following a few years’ hiatus after the notorious 1986 national rally and all its implications. As the Isle of Wight began to grow once again in popularity, New Untouchables headed to the south coast Mod Mecca of Brighton. Initially attracting a few hundred, over a relatively short time frame, the Brighton August Bank Holiday weekender attracted larger and larger numbers.
In recent times, New Untouchables evening and all-night events have gone from one host venue to three host venues. All of these are invariably full, and in some cases sold out in advance, leaving huge amounts of bank holiday weekend visitors with money burning a hole and with nothing much else to do. Entrepreneurial types have moved in, offering live music shows, alternative DJ nights and the like, cashing in on the weekender revellers. Plus, Brighton isn’t short of popular hostelries, regular mod weekender punters have their own ‘local’ of preference such as The Dorset and The Heart and Hand to name just a couple.
It’s the daytime though, where peacocking mod style goes into overdrive. Volks Bar on Madeira Drive, organised by New Untouchables, has been, and continues to be the focal point. Sunday traditionally is the daytime session where anyone and everyone descends on the seafront, scooters parked up three, even four deep on both sides of the road. Sunday also hosts the scooter competition followed by the rideout too. With the iconic Victorian cast iron arches having fallen into serious disrepair, so
much so they are now fenced off to the public. Which has pushed car parking spaces further out onto the roadway, making the mass rideout of scooters from outside Volks border on dangerous. The Sunday scooter count of machines parked on Madeira Drive was well over the 2150 mark this year.
As for the rideout, maybe Brighton council could, and given the influx of Mod money into the local economy, perhaps should do a bit more to ensure the rideout gets off to a decent start! With an even narrower than previous years’ gauntlet of tourists, as well as Mod weekender attendees lining the rideout route, it’s a tight squeeze for more than single file scooters to set off. Adding to the chaos are four wheeled vehicles entering Madeira Drive from the Marina end and impatient drivers deciding the exact moment of the rideout, is the time they need to cross the flow of scooters. Hence this year’s rideout, instead of being a spectacular visual happening was again disrupted by unthinking impatient idiots. The overall number of people in Brighton for the Mod weekender seemed to be equal to if not slightly more than 2015. The modern art gallery have now taken several units on the same row as Volks for a cafe bar. They also put on a mini music festival on the next tier up on the Sunday afternoon, which was targeted directly at those in town for the Mod weekender. For the thousands and thousands in Brighton for the bank holiday weekend, it was another top event all round.