Gallery: the best images from the VW Bus Festival in Hanover
Relive the action from the three-day festival here
Peter RawlinsPublished: 27 Jun 2023 External link to Top Gear Magazine Subscription – 5 issues for £5Skip 30 photos in the image carousel and continue reading1 / 30
Hanover. Home to the VW bus for more than 65 years, it was only fitting that the town played host to the VW Bus Festival 2023 over the weekend, with more than 6,000 buses old and new in attendance for the three-day festival.
They were joined by around 60,000 guests from around the world across the weekend, including TopGear.com. We’d made the 10-hour journey from London in a T6.1 California Ocean – a relatively short journey compared to some.
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The festival kicked off on Friday afternoon with a 75 vehicle convoy from the VW production plant in Stöcken to the festival grounds, featuring everything from very early T1s up to the present ID.Buzz, followed by live music throughout the evening. Much beer was drunk. Much currywurst was consumed. Much #vanlife living was discussed.
The next morning gave us the opportunity to explore the festival site further, where arguably the biggest spectacle was to be had – the camping sites themselves. Row upon row, VW buses stretched as far as the eye could see, and already there was a real party atmosphere. Some people were enjoying a morning coffee, some were drinking something a little stronger, while others, like us, were simply walking around trying to take it all in.
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Inside the festival site itself, over 70 rare historic buses were on display courtesy of Volkswagen’s Classic Vehicles department (the T1 Half-Track Fox, pictured above, was a particular highlight), along with various exhibitions, parts stalls, and festival attractions including a Ferris wheel and a giant inflatable blow up ID.Buzz. Things we love to see.
Saturday also saw the European premiere of the new seven-seat ID.Buzz, presented by actor Ewan McGregor, who counts a 1958 Transporter, 1960 T1 Transporter pickup and two 1967 Westafalia campers among his 30 strong vehicle collection. Safe to say the man loves his vans.
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“It’s an amazing car, and I’ve been excited about the longer one because I’ve got five children and I’ll be able to get them all in it at one time,” he said.
“It’s totally got the spirit of the old buses. It’s impossible to make the bus as it used to be, but [VW] did an amazing job with the front end, making it feel like it’s got the short nose, it’s a fun car, it’s a friendly looking car, so I think in that respect it’s full of the original DNA.”
We took the opportunity to try out the rearmost seats – all 6’2″ of us – and found it plenty accommodating, particularly for legroom. Cupholders and USB ports should keep the kids happy too. Stay tuned for our full review of that one.
There was a surprise still to come that evening however, in the form of an impressive drone display that saw the faces of every VW bus past, present and future light up the night sky. It was a fitting finale to what had been a hugely enjoyable weekend, though we suspect for some, the party was only just getting started.
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You can check out some of our highlights in the gallery above, or if you were there let us know your favourite moments in the comments below.
Photography: Alex Thomas
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