The History of Bug Jam
Bug Jam was started by Brett and Cliff, and began as a one-day only event on a sunny Sunday afternoon in July 1987. After months of planning and advertising in the various car related magazines of the day, around 3,500 people made it to the event although considerably more than that claim to have been there!
How things have changed over the years since then! The event grew rapidly in the late 80's and the spawning UK dance scene found its home in the surreal surroundings of Santa Pod and thousands of VW's. Top DJ's cut their teeth and dance bands like the Prodigy had their first taste of outdoor gigs like Bug Jam, with dubbers dancing, chanting and waving Glo-Sticks whilst blowing whistles! Bug Jam has grown steadily since these early days, and although some of the original cars and faces
are welcomed back to the Pod every year, the popularity of Bug Jam has grown beyond the wildest imaginations of the original collective of VW enthusiasts.
The History of Bug Jam
(from the 10th Anniversary programme in 1996)
The event which started the whole 'New Wave' of VW shows began in 1987. This is a potted history of the best known of all the VW shows. The First Annual UK Bug Jam. was an event which captured the imagination of VW enthusiasts like none before. It combined the elements of a traditional British WV event with the type of activities usually seen on the west coast of the USA . Most of all though, the real California import in '87 was the sunshine.
If ever an event was guaranteed to be an enjoyable Experience, it Was the '87 Bug Jam. Once the day (yes, it was a one day show) got going, almost everyone there forgot for a while that they were in England, not California. The Dragstrip, the sun, the rad shorts and of course more 'Cal Look' VW's than anyone had ever seen in one place in the UK. The event itself was a laid back affair with 'Run What Ya Brung' and a few demo race cars on the Dragstrip, a Show and Shine which saw one Chris Jory being awarded the inaugural 'Europe's Most Beautiful VW' trophy. There were demos from radio controlled model buggy racers, plenty of traders, goodie bags and event T-shirts which sold out in 2 hours. At the end of the day there was no dissent what so ever, just hugs and kisses all round, and the demands had already begun for Bug Jam to become a 2 day event for the following year. The '88 event enjoyed more good weather and things began to move quickly in the 'Cat Look' scene, for the first time Bug Jam saw official VW Drag Racing, as the second round of the newly formed VWDRC Championship. Off road racing, a part of both the '87 and '88 shows, never got more bizarre than when Dennis MacEvoy took to the track in his off roading type II. It finally expired after nose diving into the track after a particularly high 'airborne' over a ramp.
The '89 show saw numbers grow to astounding proportions, as everyone it seemed, wanted to get into the Bug Jam act. 1990 was a critical year in the history of Bug Jam as the rights to the event were sold in April of that year to the new owners of Santa Pod, well sort of, but that's another story. For the first time in the history of the event, it's financial control was in the hands of a large company. Perhaps, since everyone was astounded by the attendance, it would have gone pear shaped on the weekend anyway. But it wasn't helped by refusals to take advice on the levels of security required. Some people managed to have a fine weekend in 1990 none the less. Certainly enough vowed to be back for more in '91. The attentions of the media, and the showing of the event video from the '89 show on BBC2's Yoof programme, DEF II. with the subsequent events of 1990, put the '91 show under the spotlight bigtime.
The reputation of Bug jam was saved in '91, due in no small part to the efforts of a group of interested parties including Brett, GCC, Volksworld, Paintbox, Thump Thump and Others! The '91 show saw rain, and more rain, and was repeated as Bug Jam instant replay in September.'92 was a good show. Bug Jam was back on the rails. '93 & '94 were also great years with the added attraction of the enormous dance act The Prodigy, '95 was rather a strange year as politics seemed to get in the way of people enjoying themselves. Hopefully all that is now behind us as '96 is how upon us, and Bug Jam in now celebrating it's 10th Anniversary. A historical year indeed!!!