We were really looking forward to this. Casey's website had advertised the event in such a way that made you feel you were going to buy into the 'drive-in' experience.
Yes, we were in a field in Berkshire, in the middle of September, but we are hardy British souls, & we were up for it regardless!
Everything was fine going in - considering the number of cars, a fairly speedy entrance with the assistance of some very helpful traffic marshals.
With a (hungry) wife & 2 (hungrier) young children in tow, my heart sank when I saw the two very long queues for food...& then i spotted how many stalls (two) the queues were leading towards.
I joined the ordering queue, & about 15 minutes later, somebody further up that queue (rather than someone working there) informed us that the first queue was for ordering the food, & the second queue was for collecting the food.
Some 70 minutes later (& 15 minutes into the film itself), I was still queuing, & at this point there were still around 60 people in front of me waiting to be served. Another 100 or so were now in the queue for collecting their food.
I figured out (assuming they actually had sufficient food for everyone), that there was a good chance I would be spending the entire duration of the film queuing for food) & gave up at this point, & am grateful that we had the foresight to have packed some popcorn, drinks & other nibbles with us before we left.
We saw a number of cars leave well before the end, & can only conclude that the passengers that were hoping to buy some food, were now having to leave the field early in order to find some!
Before the film started, there were a number of announcements reminding us that the event was in aid of charity, which led to quite a few in the queue around me to comment that this was perhaps a ploy to ensure that not as many people would complain, because it would have seemed churlish to do so.
The film-watching experience was great, & weather-willing, we would do it again. But the food part of it was, a disaster. Even having additional tents selling pizza & hot dogs would have alleviated the queues significantly, & considering the number of people that wanted food, I have no doubt that all of the catering tents would have made a handsome profit on the night.
I see there is a mention on Casey's Facebook page effectively extricating themselves with how the catering-side of things went, by saying that they had informed the caterers of the expected numbers, & so it's not their issue.
However, if that is the case, they should have had iron-clad assurances that the caterers they had hired, would be able to cope with the demand.
A good reputation can be harmed by such occurrences, & I can only hope that Casey's ensure that future events have sufficient catering facilities in place.
So, in a nutshell, the film-watching part of it was brilliant - however, if you want to ensure that the hungry growls of your stomach do not interfere with your enjoyment of the film, then eat beforehand!
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