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Thread: Minehead April/May 2018

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    cwathen Guest

    Default Minehead April/May 2018

    So,

    Got back yesterday from this years trip. As per other threads, I was on the verge of not going this year. A last minute upturn in the weather forecast followed by an exceptionally good deal led to me booking on Sunday and going the next morning.

    All in all, I did enjoy it more than last year. I think going twice in 2016 was overkill which meant the 2017 trip was itself well under a year after the last time and it was all a bit samey. Waiting for a whole year to go by made it seem a bit fresher. However, it certainly wasn't perfect.

    Much was being made by the staff that it was an exceptionally quiet week with only about 2000 guests on the camp. It certainly was the quietest I've ever seen it. It didn't even feel like there was as many as 2000 people there, felt more like a few hundred. However, Bourne then essentially punished those who did go by cutting back what was already quite a sparse programme. Basically, all the evening entertainment in Reds was cancelled and the venue was shut all week (apart for a couple of afternoon kids activities). This left evening entertainment as a choice between viewing endless tribute acts in Centre Stage or watching the Redcoat Showcase in Inn on The Green. The tribute acts were good when viewed in isolation, but to be offered the same form of entertainment every night was boring. The redcoat showcase, although going ahead, was also removed from the entertainment guide (presumably to try and fill out Centre Stage a bit more) and as a result had very poor patronage. So whilst the redcoats performing did a great job in what was a very difficult circumstance, you couldn't get away from the fact that with an audience of less than 10 people there was no atmosphere in the room. Outside of entertainment, the shops and some other facilities also ran restricted opening hours which could be frustrating, like when I fancied fish & chips for tea but found the chippy was already shut at 7:30. Led to me walking up the seafront a bit and getting some from outside the camp!

    I appreciate Bourne aren't going to pull out all the stops for a quiet week, but I'm sure they make enough money out of their sky high peak time prices to run everything that was advertised even with the camp being quiet. I'm not even sure quite how much they saved by cutting it back. The on camp staff are there anyway (and certainly didn't appear to get any extra time off - clearly the staff that would've worked Reds were sent to Centre Stage on top of the staff already booked to go there, it appeared ridiculously overstaffed all week), the venues are there anyway and with the same acts performing every week I doubt very much that outside performers are being paid per gig on a casual basis; the cancelled acts likely got paid anyway. Apart from the cost of a few light fittings, I can't think of where any savings came from.

    Drinks prices have shot up this year, all pints are now through the 4 barrier.

    But away from the moaning, they've done a lovely job on the new Beachcomber Inn (replacing the Sun & Moon). I was expecting a brief tarting up, but they've gone far further than that and it's now unrecognisable. Although the conservatory is gone it's still very light and airy and there is now more space outside than there was before. Overall a very swish and stylish refit, I ate there a couple of times and the food seemed better too. Only possible downside is it now feels much more like a restaurant rather than somewhere to just go for a drink, but then The Inn on the Green has largely taken over the 'family friendly pub' roll now anyway. When they still had the Swinging Shillelagh as more of an adult venue it made more sense to have the Sun & Moon as a pub, but what they've done probably is better for now. I was just pleased to see some money invested in something which everyone can use rather than just posh accommodation.

    Soho has got a new sign, but was in a bit of a sorry state inside, never seemed to have much to eat.

    The gaiety green entrance into The Boardwalk was closed for unspecified 'work' (they had people on site all day every day who appeared to be doing something to the doors, but what on earth they were doing that would take so long I can't imagine). Diversions were set up through the Inn on The Green, and through the back of Hotshots. At first I got all excited and thought they'd opened up the 'second mall' that got closed off in 1999, but sadly they just opened up the fire escape and there was nothing to see.

    The Highwayman is still there, still sort of a staff bar but not quite so guests can go in there. Surprised they haven't finally resolved that issue after all these years (and I don't see why the staff shouldn't have a dedicated staff bar to unwind without worrying about guests being around) but until they do I'm still happy to go and sit with a pint by the lake.

    Most of the old 4 sided 'you are here' podiums have been removed and replaced with 1960's style signposts. Looks quite nice and is a bit more informative. Still plenty maps of maps around showing Pacific Wharf though. They've also now finished painting all the buildings into bright colours that they started doing last year. A nice change from the drab grey they've been since 1999. Have to say that the Skyline is now starting to look very tatty, numerous tears and patches all over it.

    Not perfect but still an enjoyable week for a reasonable price.
    Last edited by cwathen; 05-05-18 at 02:31 PM.

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