What happens when you pack a pile of camper vans, a relaxed atmosphere, live music and an absolutely breathtaking location into one weekend? You guessed it: an unforgettable event that is always worth repeating. That is why the Go-Van team and the founder, Julien Roussin Côté, organized the third El Campo van meet. At the end of September, van enthusiasts from every corner of the continent gathered with their favorite vehicles at the Domaine du Radar, located not far from Québec in Canada. Beneath the shining sun, the guests met at the foot of a small mountain surrounded by two lakes. There was no advance booking because every van owner or camping fan was welcome. In the end, 227 vans arrived at the camping area, twice as many as the year before. The event shared the same motto as the previous years: Good Vibes Only!
Julien knows what campers like because he has lived in his own van for two years now. He is far from the only one to choose this nomadic way of life. The desire for freedom, spontaneity and adventure has created an entire culture: the van life movement. He founded the Go-Van website to create a platform where stories are shared and like-minded people can link up. But the idea was also to create a space to meet outside the Internet: and so the idea for El Campo was born. The organization is not always easy, says Julien. The innumerable small jobs and challenges such as booking the artists, the light installations or obtaining sanitary facilities all have to be taken care of. Plus, the planning does not always correspond with the reality. But once all of the unpleasant surprises have been handled, the event provides another unforgettable weekend every year – for the team and the visitors alike.
Sprinter, buses and camper vans, everything imaginable turns up at El Campo. But these three days are not about presenting one’s favorite vehicle to the world and comparing it with other coveted vans. This is far more about the passion and the people – and what they share with each other. This means the love of the nomadic lifestyle, of course. But there is far more to it than that. Although people may arrive alone on Friday evening, they are not without company for long because El Campo means being part of a family – even if just during this amazing event. It is all about spending the weekend with old friends and new, having fun and also what they take home: new travelling companions, new insights and perhaps even one of the many presents won in the numerous competitions and draws.
The three days also held a number of surprises – not only for the visitors. Anthony offered some special entertainment: although he joined the event as a guest, he wanted to do more than just be there. He quickly asked for permission to also perform as a musician. What a question? Of course! He chose a parking area with 25 Sprinter vans located a short distance away from the normal camping area as the site for his performance. Without any hesitation he held a private concert and inspired the crowd. In the evening, fireworks at the other end of the lakes brought the weekend to a crowning conclusion. Because on Sunday it was once again time to tie down the luggage and take to the roads for the journey home.
Among the numerous visitors, there were also seven Conversion Van Clubs from Québec, including the newly established Sprinter Québec Club. Naturally, there was a lot to admire thanks to the 227 vans. In addition to the Mercedes-Benz 409 D, a true rarity in America, the vans included a converted ambulance, two Wanderlodge buses and numerous modified vans that all had their own unique charm. For example, they had fur upholstery or were equipped with high-end stereo systems. All of the visitors who registered their interest were won over the moment they saw the incredible sight of these so many different vans. At the end of this unforgettable experience and the positive atmosphere, there is only one thing left to say: Until next year!