1940s Festival Welcomed Record Crowd to Woodhall Spa
* Soaring temperatures resulted in estimated 40,000 flocking to Lincolnshire village this weekend
* New parking measures welcomed but some challenges remain
Woodhall Spa’s 1940s festival attracted a record number of visitors this weekend – double the figure of 20,000 predicted just last week. Just five years in, the success of the 2016 event has now secured the festival’s reputation as one of the region’s most popular and unique fixtures.
An estimated 40,000 people attended this weekend’s Woodhall Spa 1940s Festival, which was this year sponsored by the Petwood Hotel and the The Golf Hotel & Aqua Sante Spa – Woodhall (with additional support The INN at Woodhall Spa and Woodhall Country Park. Feedback on social media suggests it has been an overwhelming triumph and many visitors have vowed to return next year.
The streets, venues, cafes, parks, squares, bars, hotels, halls and restaurants were packed all weekend long with those who wanted to celebrate life on the British Homefront in a beautiful Lincolnshire village. The choice of over 80 free festival events, range of food and drink stalls and exciting living history exhibits – not to mention the glorious weather – meant many came and stayed to enjoy everything on offer.
Comments by visitors on the festival’s Facebook page now run into the thousands, with the vast majority praising the quality, variety, efficiency, atmosphere, organisation and friendliness of the volunteer run and free-to-attend festival.
Chair of the festival’s organising committee Andy Hunter said this morning: “It’s been a truly fantastic weekend. We are delighted that so many people – many more than we could have imagined – came to enjoy all we had been working hard to arrange. The weather was exceptionally good, and the atmosphere was wonderful from start to end. I’d like to thank everyone who came for their enthusiasm, and offer a message of gratitude to residents for supporting the festival each year.”
Leader of East Lindsey District Council Councillor Craig Leyland, also offered some supportive comments, saying today: “I’d like to congratulate the organisers of the Woodhall Spa 1940s Festival. It has been the biggest and best festival yet. This weekend has been a massive success thanks to the many hours of work put in by the committee, but also the warm welcome offered by Woodhall Spa’s residents. It’s really something for us all to be proud of”.
It wasn’t just the mercury that soared high this weekend. After many months out of action, BBMF’s famed (and locally beloved) Lancaster Bomber, affectionately known as Thumper, completed a first test flight over the festival crowd during the Sunday morning of the festival. It even returned later in the afternoon to close the festival’s main proceedings, to much delight.
New traffic measures introduced this year were also welcomed by many, but there are some challenges to overcome given the new scale of the event. The closure of Station Road and Broadway – a safety measure new for this year – was met with very positive reviews, and the clear diversion to allow locals to pass through the Village also worked very well. Over 3,000 cars used the new park and ride facilities over the weekend. While many praised the system, there were challenges in getting the shuttle busses through the queue for the car park; further feedback from Woodhall Spa residents suggests that some visitors ignored the parking instructions and parked on residential streets despite restrictions, coning and clear signage. The festival’s committee has vowed to review the provision of parking before any decision is made on an event for 2017.
Andy Hunter says that the committee will seek to overcome the remaining traffic issues: “Putting on a show of this scale, which has grown very quickly, and providing the right park and ride facilities in a rural Lincolnshire village is always going to be a challenge. We worked very hard to put together a robust plan for this year, and on the whole it worked very well. But there’s clearly more for us to do to ensure that traffic flows more freely to and from the car parks and also to deter parking outside the designated areas; and we’ll be looking to the authorities to help us enforce the restrictions. In the meantime, I’d like to thank my fellow residents for their patience and support.”
The organising committee wish to thank all visitors, residents, businesses, performers, re-enactors and the festival’s main sponsors The Petwood and The Golf Hotel, and our supporting sponsors The Inn at Woodhall Spa and Woodhall Spa County Park.