Event review: ‘Brilliant’ inaugural Motoring Literary & Art Festival

The weekend saw a unique event at Silverstone, a first literary and art festival dedicated to the automotive sector, writes Guild member Ian Wagstaff. The man behind the venture was Guild member Philip Porter who, with his team at Porter Press International, put together a most professional and impressive happening.

The Guild was an Event Partner with a number of other members involved in the running of the weekend including John Brooks, Mark Cole, Ben Edwards, Andrew Marriott, Andrew Noakes, James Page, Martin Port, Steve Rendle and Ian Wagstaff.

Ben Edwards hands out the microphones to (left to right) Tony Southgate, Howden Ganley and Mike Pilbeam (© Ian Wagstaff)

A wide variety of publishers and artists took stands in Silverstone’s Wing complex with an array of cars – including, thanks to Girado & Co, the 1963 and 1964 Le Mans winning Ferrari 275P/250P – downstairs in the pit garages.

Three ‘theatres’ hosted a regular stream of talks featuring such as Gary Anderson, Ian Callum, Peter Stevens, Lord Hesketh, Tony Southgate, Mike Pilbeam and former Grand Prix drivers Jackie Oliver, Howden Ganley, John Watson and Karun Chandhok.

Andrew Noakes’ automotive journalism students from Coventry University also assisted in the management of the talks.

As Philip says, there are many literary festivals out there but this was the first dedicated to the world of motoring. The feedback from visitors the following day was particularly positive, one commenting on the damage done to their credit card by the number of books on sale [including Ian’s own title, ‘Formula 1’s Unsung Pioneers’, pictured here – Ed].

Guild member Steve Rendle (right) with publisher Eric Verdon-Roe (© Ian Wagstaff)

There was also much meeting of old and new contacts, not always the most obvious. Where else was one likely to see Donald Campbell’s grandson Don Wales in conversation with such as artist, and Guild member, Michael Turner or with Formula 1 designer Pat Symonds.?

Perhaps the best way to sum up the weekend would be to quote Roger Spurr’s comment on Facebook: ‘Brilliant day after digging my car out of the snow in Derbyshire!

‘The GT40 and BRM talks were fresh and educating. Stallholders and artists very chatty and a nice selection of metal on the ground floor to take up any spare minutes. Not that many fanatics attended and those that dithered over spending a few quid missed a treat and should make it a diary date for next year.

‘Well done Porter Press, hope to see you in 2024.’

Main image: Ian Wagstaff (right) hosts a talk by racing driver Ian Flux (© Mark Lee-sing)