Brighton Mod Week­ender

Sarge re­ports on one spe­cial week­end.

Scootering - - Contents - Sarge

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.

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