Dubbed by some as “The Glastonbury of Sport” Rugby Monthly spent the day recently at the Bournemouth 7’s to see if the event actually lived up to the hype.
Having never been before we didn’t know what to expect but what we encountered on arrival left us under no illusion that this was a BIG event by any standards! Stewards and security are instantly visible from a mile away to ensure your arrival is as smooth as possible given that an expected 30,000 people turn up!
Once on site your senses are instantly assaulted by the sheer scale of everything and what there is to do to keep you entertained all day….and right into the early hours.
The statistics are pretty impressive; 400 teams taking part in Rugby, Netball, Hockey & Dodgeball playing a staggering 1,500 games over 2 days. 12 Festival Arenas and a V.VIP Lounge with live performances from such names as Brandon Block, Mistajam, Little Giants, Kriss Kross and The Artful Dodger. 8 Rugby pitches, 10 netball pitches, 2 Hockey pitches and a Dodgeball Arena.
For rugby lovers there is definitely something for everyone. There is a competition for Men’s and Women’s teams of all ages and abilities.
The Viper 10 National Cup is for the elite amongst the men and attracts such teams as British Army 7’s, RAF Spitfires, The Viper 10 Lions and……The Jamaican Budgy Smugglers!
The Big Boys 10’s is for over 35’s and provides a more sedate level of rugby for the more mature man. Teams include The Big Badgers and The 13 Minuters.
The Cider Cup and The Beer Cup are home to a much more social side of the game for the men. There are 7 competitions for Social Sides over 2 days so you can imagine how messy things get!
For the Women the Ladies Viper 10 Cup and Ladies Beer Cup enables teams of all abilities to play rugby. In the Elite group there was some amazing talent on show with some teams boasting several International players, although not sure if these were representing such teams as The Dodgy Birds, Team Titty Pretty or Ruck Me Silly! We did spot England Women 7’s coach Susie Appleby putting the eventual winners, the England Development Team, through their paces.
They beat The Moody Cows in the final who boasted their own contingent of Internationals and even had the luxury of currently injured England Women’s XV International Poppy Cleall as their water girl!
We also spotted a few Celebrities on the day. TV presenter Nick Knowles was actually helping out the Rugby 4 Heroes 10’s team and told us “I have been given the dubious role of Coach for the team today although I’m not too sure what pearls of wisdom I can pass on. I absolutely love rugby though and am a level 2 qualified coach and have played the game as far afield as America and Samoa! It’s great to be able to come here today and just enjoy the rugby. I am an Ambassador for Rugby 4 Heroes and am glad to help out when I can. Please don’t ask me to get the boots on again now though!” Ex-England international Lewis Moody was also in attendance promoting his amazing Lewis Moody Foundation.
During a VERY rare quiet moment we caught up with the Founder and Owner of the Bournemouth 7’s Roger Woodall who told us “I can’t believe we are now 10 years old! I started this event because I knew there was a gap in the market having seen the Dubai and Hong Kong 7’s but I had no idea if it would catch on here.
I had been hosting music events all over the UK prior to this but nobody had really combined music with sport. I planned the first event out of my garage with no staff and having re-mortgaged my home! I took a huge risk by signing a 10 year deal with the site so it had to work.
Thankfully we have never looked back. We now have 7 full time staff planning each year and the positive financial impact on the local community is worth around £2.5 million.
I am VERY proud of what we have all achieved and just want to make sure the event gets bigger and better each year giving our customers the best experience we possibly can.”
When the sun goes down the party animals truly come out to play. Fancy dress is definitely the order of the day and anything and everything goes! The music is pumped up to the max and the whole place is absolutely buzzing. Whether you like Urban or Garage, Dance or Karaoke your tastes are catered for. For the more discerning the V.VIP tent hosts a hedonistic set from legendary DJ Brandon Block.
However, if you just want to chill and relax the VIP & V.VIP Glamping areas provide a peaceful retreat from the full on mayhem where you can enjoy a chilled beer or 10 around the fire pits!
All in all, I think we can definitely agree with the tag “Glastonbury of Sport” having experienced the festival for ourselves. If you have never been then it has to be on your Bucket List even if you don’t play sport! Get yourself a weekend ticket and make sure you pack your flip flops and budgy smugglers…..you won’t be disappointed.