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Your Favourite Ever CF Lives

Tomatron

Active Member
There's not much more than I can really add to all the awesome stuff that everyone's mentioned so far, but as the person who had the idea of getting a bunch of like-minded folk off the internet and together for real in 2003, it's been a huge part of my life. It's brought people together, been responsible for relationships, families, a few fights, and lot of Travelodge's repair budget.

From the very first live 17 years ago, through meeting the US/Canadian folks in 2007, Germany & Denmark in 2009, Italy in 2011, Finland in 2013, Sweden in 2014, the London meetups, all those Alton Towers and Ghosterforce meetups, and everything in between, there's been some amazing memories.

It's great to see they are still going strong with a great team behind them, and once we're all allowed to meet up I can't wait to be back at one.
 
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SilverArrow

Active Member
This is so hard so I'll join in in reminiscing over some good times.

I joined the forum way back in 2011 but didn't come to anything in real life because of stranger danger for a number of years! My first "live" was, I believe, one of the Christmas meals (2015?). Everyone is always so shocked when I say that now because it seemed risky but to me it seemed quite the opposite as I had told myself I could always bail and get the train home! Turns out I didn't need to and here we are now!

My first actual live, live was the Thorpe and Paultons weekend in 2016.
With highlights such as "cf visit a **** nightclub"
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and guess the caption games on the disc'o
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This was the beginning of a thing!

My next proper live was my first live abroad, Plosterix! This trip had a middling line up but was a fab trip full of wacky things.
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There was really no going back after this trip. I now had the bug!

Next was Ghosterforce 2017 which was an amazing trip with so many great memories!
One of my favourite cf memories ever was everyone absolutely bricking it when getting onto Karnan. I had been quietly freaking out about it all week once I had realised that it was "THAT ONE" and slowly as the week went on everyone else started admitting that they too were a little bit terrified. The park owners were super nice to us, gave us merch and took us up the exit and I thought oh dang, I really can't back out now, that's when the panic set it and the atmosphere at the bag drop, batching and loading was electric with fear and anticipation. That was really quite a ride, it's not everyday that a train of goons freaks out over a new coaster!
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Other highlights of that trip include my Taron and launch coaster awakening, the dolphin at Hansa and Movie park at Halloween!

Next up was Ghosterforce 2018! I had to leave early on this one due to uni commitments but this was still a fab trip! Highlights included the crocodile on the boat ride at Hellendoorn (and the ride in general), the rave "maze" and toverland being very foggy.
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Then it was the Fantasy Island live. Odyssey was gross at the back and we did the thing below. (Huss Magic)
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Then it was Walibi Holland and Bobbejaanland.
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(Mushroom's fab photo)

An the PA live.
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(Photo by MouseAT)
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and then we had a nice Christmas event as well (there are probably other Christmas photos but I don't seem to have them)
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Hard to pick a favourite but perhaps Ghosterforce 2017 as there was so much good stuff that was all new to me on that trip! All I know is I miss the lives and hopefully we can do them again soon!
 

MouseAT

Active Member
Well, this might take a while.

I suppose the best place to start is back at the beginning with my first Live. Fortunately, it was one of the really good ones: Yorkshire Tripper, 2008. I had a pretty good idea of what to expect going in – most of the attendees were forum regulars, and I’d seen a lot of the classic CF Live videos from the likes of Dan Farrell, Big John, and Martyn Hoyer, which could give you a pretty good idea of who the regulars were.

As a weekend, that first Live easily exceeded expectations. The weather was spectacular, the group incredibly welcoming, the ride line-up solid, and the antics endlessly amusing. Looking back, it’s like looking at a bygone era in many ways. There’s definitely a bunch of familiar faces that newer members will recognise, but looking back, there were also so many people that used to be regulars but that we either rarely hear from, or that have disappeared entirely.

There have been other Yorkshire Lives since 2008, and most of them were entertaining, but the earlier ones were definitely better than the more recent ones. Lightwater Valley always seemed to entertain, but Flamingo Land gradually went down the tubes and got more and more burdenous, to the point where it was tolerated as opposed to enjoyed. Still, a CF Live is a CF Live, and there were always memorable people and antics to keep people sane.

There’s a whole load of “regular” Lives that all seem to blend together a bit in my memories. Ones held at Alton Towers tended to be a bit of a mixed bag, especially on busier days with larger groups. Blackpool always seemed to work well as a Live, as no matter how busy the park got, we always seemed to be able to ride plenty of stuff, and have a really good laugh doing so.

I’ve attended a few GhosterForce Lives at Thorpe and Chessington over the years, and again, it’s all a bit of a blur in retrospect. GhosterForce was always a weird Live, in that you had a really strange mix of horrifically busy parks, with all of the faff and annoyances that come along with that, balanced out by a hilarious mix of awesome people, amusing antics, and a real sense of community once the sun went down and the glowsticks came out in force.

Going by the couple of Lives I attended there, Paultons seems to be a great park for a Live. The combination of a lot of fun stuff to do, along with a bunch of excitable goons is normally a winning combination, no matter where we go.

So that's most of the memorable UK stuff covered. On to Europe, in chronological order:

First up, Germany and Denmark, 2009. For me, it was an awesome trip, with an amazing bunch of people, and a solid line-up of parks. On the down side, the pace was perhaps a little too intense at times, cramming in two parks per day for the middle three days of the trip. This is something we’d all learn from, and dial down the frantic pace ever so slightly for the future lives, in order to make things a bit more tolerable, especially for the drivers, who were pushed to the limit on some days. It’s also the Live where I blacked out at Hansa Park, cracked my head off the floor, and ended up hospitalised in nearby Neustadt for several days, so the end of the trip is fairly memorable for me for less pleasant reasons.

Italy in 2011 was another amazing Live. Again, we had an awesome line-up of CFers, doing what CFers do best. This time, the pace was a little more manageable, with a single park each day, and a nice, chilled evening in Verona on the day of arrival to start everything off. Good times.

I think Furie already summarised the 2012 Germany Live far better than I could. Weirdly, I remember more about the group dynamics and antics than I do the park days from this Live. Even with photos, I’d struggle to give you a breakdown of what we actually did on park in any detail, yet I can still picture members of the group sat around drinking beers outside the guesthouse in Rust, and can still distinctly remember both Furie trying to suppress Ian’s snoring one night by crawling round the bedroom floor and spraying him repeatedly with a water pistol. The snoring would stop briefly each time, and then start up again a few seconds later.

Then came Finland in 2013, which is easily one of the best Lives I’ve ever attended. We had a solid four days of awesome parks and silliness, as well as a solid selection of rides. There simply wasn’t a bad moment anywhere on this trip. The quality of the parks and attractions varied a bit, but all of them were amazing fun for a wide variety of reasons, and I honestly think we could have argued for any one of the four days being the most fun, for completely different reasons. Most multi-day Lives have their natural peaks and dips, so this Live is definitely one of my all-time favourites due to it being so consistently entertaining from beginning to end. The entire group just seemed to gel so well throughout the trip, too.

The Sweden Lives are difficult ones for me to judge objectively. On the one hand, all of my Sweden trips have been amazing. On the other hand, they’re difficult to judge based upon the Lives alone. In 2014, the additional days in Gothenburg, at Tussenfryd, and then in Denmark afterwards with a smaller subset of attendees were easily as memorable as the Live itself, making the Live proper (consisting of Liseberg, Skara Sommerland, and Grona Lund) difficult to rate by itself. 2016 is equally difficult to rate, as only the Kolmarden day was officially a Live, yet many of us added on our own extra bits and pieces on either side.

The 2019 GhosterForce in Germany was a perfect example of bigger not necessarily being better. Four people with exactly the sort of mentality to get the best out of some rather quirky parks. This had to have been one of the most expensive European Lives I’ve attended to date, and yet it was worth every single penny spent to be a part of it. I’m not going to spend ages rambling about it here, but seriously, check out the trip report thread for this one if you’re not yet convinced of how awesome even the smallest Lives can be.

Which brings us to the finale - Port Aventura, 2019. Again, CFers doing what CFers do best. An unofficial, pre-Live evening in Ferrari Land, with walk-on Red Force, and amazing views over Salou at night. Two amazing, chilled out days at PA, with a load of amazing people, riding, faffing, drinking, and enjoying hilarious post-park goonery in the hotel bar.

If it's not already apparent from reading this thread, it really is the people who make CF Lives so great, and the humour and camaraderie that makes a Live so much more than just going to a park with a bunch of enthusiasts to ride stuff. Sure, that's a big draw, and it's one thing that we've all got in common, but the friendships really are the foundation that keep me coming back for more. 2020 has been a fairly quiet season for me, all things considered, but it's certainly notable that, whilst I've not really missed being able to travel to larger, destination parks all that much, I've certainly missed the people. Here's hoping we can bring back the madness at some point in 2021!
 
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