If there’s one thing you learn from spending an exorbitant amount of time with free champagne, watching people in the VIP tent, it’s that there’s always another tent: culminating, finally, in the one to which you are politely but forcefully rebuffed.
Just as you think you’ve entered the inner-most sanctum; just when you think you’ve finally made it, you see a door on the far side of the room with a red velvet rope blocking access. What’s in there? Better champagne that is also free? Bigger celebs? Larger hats? Your imagination runs rampant, opening Russian nesting dolls of opulence.
Good is never enough for us – everything has to be glorious.
The British are better at this kind of social stratification than anyone. They’ve simply had more practice. The titled aristocracy was running garden parties like the one at Goodwood long before Canada became a country.
Goodwood, therefore, is the ideal place in which to wander from tent to tent, sipping and tasting the life that lies behind the velvet rope.
Charles Gordon-Lennox, Earl of March and Kinrara — but you can call him Lord March — is himself a distant descendentof King Charles II and his French mistress, Louise de Keroualle. He’s also the owner of the Goodwood Estate, and the founder of the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The event is unlike any other: part classic car gathering, part garden party and, in recent years, it has effectively taken on the role of the British Motor Show. But, that description doesn’t come close to capturing what Goodwood is actually like.
It takes place on the Lord’s 12,000 acres of inherited land which includes: an aerodrome, an organic farm, two golf courses, one famous motor racing circuit, a horse racing track, a hotel, a health spa, the headquarters of Rolls Royce, and the Estate house, a 300-year-old country home.
In the good Lord’s words: “At Goodwood, everything we do reflects our passions and our desire to share them: our obsession for perfection; our spirit of adventure and daring; and our desire to create an experience which is both truly pleasurable and uniquely English. Good is never enough for us – everything has to be glorious.”