‘The Old Bar Festival is not a festival to us…it’s our religion.’ ~ Tyra Maloney
Perfectly summed up by our daughter this week, the Kombi Festival as it’s affectionately known in our house is the Maloney Mecca. The first Old Bar Beach Festival was amazing, our kids were toddlers and we pushed them around looking at all the Kombi’s in their massive twin pram. It was heaven for Brendan to have a Volkswagen event in his own home town and each festival has been surpassed by the last, due to the efforts of a small group of dedicated, passionate people. And that has seen it grow year by year.
A die hard beetle driver all his driving life … the festival became the perfect excuse for Brendan to own a VW transporter too. We had Bones for a couple of years, a white T3, but the bug had bitten pretty hard so Bones was traded up for Angus, Bren’s red T3. Last year Brendan received the great honour of being lead car in the Kombi cruise, and I don’t think I had ever seen him so excited or proud (except for maybe when his babies were born.) Due to having lost his leg to cancer in 2015, our mate Josh drove him in what would become Brendan’s last Kombi cruise.
As most of us know, Brendan died from cancer on August the 31st 2017. In hindsight not making it to this year’s festival was probably easier on Bren than if he had been here and was too sick and in too much pain to get there. Missing his beloved Saturday Cruise and Sunday — Kombi day would have been awful for him. And yet I know he didn’t really miss anything this year – he was just watching on from a higher perspective.
It is at this point I want to thank the Old Bar Festival committee for honouring Brendan by allowing his much loved T3 to lead the parade again this year and for respectfully holding a minutes silence for him at the end of the day today. To Josh and Andy, thank you for making sure Angus was road worthy, ready to go and that you two were on hand to drive and make sure the kids enjoyed what could have been one of their saddest weekends.
Josh and Larz, after a seven year restoration your beautiful kombi was finally ready to go in the cruise and Josh you chose to drive Brendan’s car over your own — leaving Larz to drive yours. I have no words.
My sisters Sue and Deb, brother in law’s Andy and Mike and my nieces and nephews who have been my constant support and those who of you who were able to stand roadside with me (those who weren’t cruising in Angus supporting Tyz & Bades) to cheer the Kombi cruisers on, and to our friends who are family that shared this weekend with us – we love you all.
To the lovely VW people who decided that they would honour Brendan by tying black ribbons to their side mirrors and placing a photo of him on their windscreens – thank you from the bottom of my heart. To allow our children to see how well thought of their Dad was, was a gift of healing you gave them that you may not have even realised. I am sure they will both walk just a little bit taller from this weekend onward.
I can see Bren smiling now as he watched all the T3’s cruise from the front!
And to Baden and Tyra for being two of the strongest, bravest and most caring people I know. Your dad would be so proud of you both for how you handled this, our favourite weekend of the year, without him.
So Cheers to you all from us all — we are humbled by all that you have done. I guess we are now on a mission to keep Angus on the road — because we would love to be in the parade again next year. Luckily we have plenty of VW helpers, because our in-house mechanic now lives at heaven’s address.
We all miss you babe…I hope you know how loved you are and how many lives you have touched. After this weekend, there is no doubt!