Plymouth Brick Festival – The 1st of its kind…
For too long Devon & Cornwall had been waiting. For too long had the counties been a barren wasteland for the LEGO enthusiast. But on Saturday 19th March 2022 the wait was over, and GertLUG descended upon The Ocean city of Plymouth to share their love of LEGO and show everyone that everything really is awesome when it comes to the legendary bricks!
My story began on Friday..........
Because, as luck would have it, I work in Plymouth on a Friday so had loaded the car up with my display and hit the office early in the hope I could escape a little early to get down to the venue and set up. The occasional glance at Facebook showed me some Gertluggers had already arrived in the area and were enjoying the sunshine. Unfortunately for those that were leaving later in the day, the M5 around Bristol had turned into a car park and made an already long journey even longer!
I escaped work at 5pm and headed straight to The Guildhall, which was to be our venue for the event. It was a building I had walked and driven past 100s of times but never been inside. Parking up right outside and there were already plenty of people setting up and I soon found the organiser to ask where my LEGO Clone Army were going to form ranks for the weekend! George Mason was the man who had taken on the logistical task of putting the show on, and after a quick check of his spreadsheet, he pointed me in the direction of my tables and I got to work setting up. Once everything was inside, I took a quick look around and had a quick chat with a few of Gertluggers before heading home for the night.
Saturday morning arrived and a 6am alarm clock was necessary to give me the time to get back down to Plymouth and finish setting up ready for the event to begin. There was a real hustle and bustle at the venue now as everyone worked on making their display look perfect. Black tablecloths, the essential “Do not touch” signs and some quick dusting down with a makeup brush and the displays were ready for the LEGO horde gathering outside.
In addition to the LEGO displays from GertLUG members we were also joined by a local Plymouth LEGO Group who set up some of their collection just across from my display. I was able to take a quick look around before the doors opened and was impressed with the variation of displays as well as the quality of the MOCs that had been created. I’d seen picture of The Minecraft Death Star previously but to see if for real was just amazing. Epic work from GertLUG Chair Emily, just a few weeks after it had won “best in show” at Reading Brick Festival (Is it called best in show? Or have I been watching too much Crufts? Lol). Anyway it was quality, as were all the other displays. LEGO City, Star Wars, Super Heroes, Brickheadz, Minifigures, Trains, modulars, Space, Harry Potter, Ideas and some fan designed builds that meant there was something for everyone!
10am arrived and the doors opened. Fans flooded in and reports of the queue meant we were all in for a busy day (1600 people came and enjoyed it in the end!). Traders were also in attendance allowing LEGO fans to pick up those hard-to-find sets, parts, and minifigs. Luckily for my wallet I was too busy keeping an eye on my display to spend any money!! I was set up next to our very own Luke H and his family showing off his epic Zombie apocalypse MOC set up with some super cool references to The Walking Dead. It was great to catch up with Luke and we were able to keep an eye on each other’s displays when the other person needed to head off and grab a brew etc. The LEGO fans were loving the displays!! "How many clones are there??", "How long did it take you to build??", "How many pieces are there??" One girl counted the clones and she informed me there are 427, which was ideal as I had just been saying about 400!
It wasn’t until about 2pm that the surge started to drop off a little. The trader set up next to me had been nonstop for 4 hours and his inventory had been completely rinsed. With Luke kindly standing guard over the clones, I took another walk around the venue to see how others had faired. It was great to hear everyone’s positive feedback. Lots of sales, friendly visitors and just a great atmosphere all day. Some had traveled a good distance and were concerned it wasn’t going to be that busy, but happily, their concerns had been misplaced and many hoped this would become an annual event. I then took a closer look at some of the displays and chatted with the GertLUG members set up in the main hall.
When 4pm arrived we all began to pack away, and thoughts turned to food and a good old catch up to share stories of the day and have some LEGO related fun. Emily and Hannah, as always, had come up with some cool games to play, and for those that had pre-ordered food, pizza was incoming!! I took a stroll over to KFC to sample some of the Colonel's boneless box! Happy days with some of his dirty gravy. Might have bought the LEGO Star Wars magazine as well, purely because it had a clone with it, and you can never have too many LEGO Clones. Right!?
Once everyone was fed and watered, we were challenged to build a lighthouse out of 2x4 bricks. It was great to see the variety of build styles, and most were a good representation of Smeaton's Tower which is only a 5 minute walk from The Guildhall. This was followed up with comedy bingo. Comedy with regards to the random names Emily came up with for numbers. Winners celebrated and reveled in their LEGO prizes. Losers moaned and heckled the bingo master! Sadly, it was then time for me to head home so I said goodbye to the GertLUG crew and wished them luck hunting for LEGO on the beach on Sunday.
Big thanks to Hannah for organising our attendance at the event and to Emily for sorting the evenings entertainment. Also thanks to all the Gertluggers who made the trip down to my neck of the woods. It was great to hear that event raised a fantastic £3,281.95 for GOSH which is amazing! Surely this must be an annual event now.....
And if you've made it all the way to the end of the blog then you can watch this brilliant video (thanks to George!) to see exactly what happened on the day: