The second weekend in July 2018 will see the very best of our region, as two highly successful events that celebrate Lincolnshire’s unique role in World War II will take place in partnership.
Woodhall Spa 1940s Festival and Thorpe Camp 1940s Weekend will – for one year only – take place on the same weekend, 7-8 July 2018. The “Blitz spirit” partnership forged between the two volunteer committees means huge opportunity for visitors to attend two of Lincolnshire’s best summer events in one fantastic weekend.
With excellent parking and free transport between Woodhall Spa and Thorpe Camp – a journey of less than 10 minutes – every visitor will have the chance to learn about the social and military history of the region, see exciting re-enactments, sing and dance along with the very best 1940s entertainers, feel the thrill of seeing the majestic BBMF soar overhead (and much, much more) across two very different locations.
Both events help put the region on the tourist map; Woodhall Spa’s Festival now attracts in excess of 40,000 visitors per year and Thorpe Camp’s event helps support the future of the museum as a must-visit attraction for years to come, and we can’t wait to welcome you to both sites.
We’ll be able to tell you much more about the partnership over the coming months, but for now make sure 7-8 July is booked in your diary, as you won’t want to miss this.
18 Jul 17
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45,000 Flock to Woodhall Spa for Village’s 1940s Festival
An estimated 45,000 visitors flocked to Woodhall Spa this weekend for its 2017 1940s festival, making this the biggest and best event in its six year history.
Despite a rainy start to Saturday, the total visitor numbers surpassed 2016’s record of 40,000, with Sunday proving to be the most popular day due to finer weather. Feedback given to its volunteer committee and to the festival’s Facebook site show the event was a massive success due to the range of entertainment, re-enactments, vehicles, competitions and the “electric atmosphere”.
Chair of the organising Committee Andy Hunter said today: “I’d like to thank everyone who came to Woodhall Spa for our Festival this weekend. This has been the biggest event yet, and it’s a genuine delight to see so many people getting into the swing of things and creating such a wonderful atmosphere across the village. It takes 12 months of work to put this show on, and it really pays off to see just how many enjoy coming along.”
Leader of ELDC Councillor Craig Leyland, Woodhall Spa and Kirkby on Bainechoed Hunter’s comments, saying this morning: “I think the organisers have done a wonderful job in delivering a successful, safe and enjoyable festival on such a huge scale. The level of infrastructure that an event like this now requires is significant, and the fact it is entirely organised by just a few Woodhall residents - all volunteers - says an awful lot about the strength of the community and just what a destination Woodhall Spa has now become”.
Highlights included flypasts by the BBMF on both days, crowned by a Sunday afternoon appearance by the Lancaster Bomber “Thumper”, based at nearby RAF Coningsby, a skirmish re-enactment in the grounds of the Petwood Hotel and regular sightings of a Winston Churchill impersonator who posed for photos with visitors.
Two film crews attended the festival – one filming for Britain’s Best Village for Channel 4 and the other for World War II Treasure Hunters for the History Channel, presented by Madness singer Suggs who happily met visitors on The Broadway on Saturday.
Given the number of visitors, the committee enhanced health, safety and medical cover for the weekend. LIVES responders successfully treated 24 people, mostly for minor injuries and illnesses. LIVES medics, Doctors from East Midlands Ambulance Service and an off-duty paramedic successfully resuscitated a man who collapsed on Witham Road on Saturday following a cardiac arrest. He was transferred to Lincoln County Hospital and is reported to be recovering well.
The upscaled park and ride system, which cost the committee £25,000, coped with the influx of visitors however some traffic challenges remain. Despite many residential roads being marked as No Parking, many flouted the temporary traffic restrictions and Lincolnshire Country Council Highways department issued 52 fixed parking penalties over the weekend.
Chair Andy Hunter said the committee is busy gathering feedback, and will then take a short rest before making a decision on a 2018 event: “An event of this size always requires review so we’re all assessing what went well and what can be further improved, from locals and visitors alike. We take all of what we’ve learned into account before committing to any future date, but we’ll make an announcement shortly”.
Thanks also go to sponsors Petwood Hotel and The Golf Hotel & Aqua Sante Spa - Woodhall Spa, supporters The INN at Woodhall Spa andWoodhall Country Park and to SRP Hire Solutions Lincoln and Nottingham.
28 Jun 17
We've just approved the artwork for our Festival newspaper showguide! That's always a sure sign that the weekend isn't far away.
A limited number of 1000 copies will be on pre-sale to Woodhall Spa residents from this weekend, available from Martin's, McColls, Vintique, Budgens and Tourist Information at Woodhall Spa Cottage Museum for just £1. Get your copy to plan what you'll do, who you'll see and where you'll visit when the show is on, and your £1 helps support the event.
The showguide will be on sale throughout the village during the festival to visitors from afar, so don't worry if you don't get one before the festival.
Press Release - 9 Jul 18
High Temperatures and High Spirits for Thousands at Massively Successful 1940s Festival
An estimated 40,000 people basked in glorious weather at this weekend’s Woodhall Spa 1940s Festival, and visitors and locals alike have taken to social media to praise the “seamless” organisation, excellent traffic and parking improvements and entertainments delivered despite the heat.
Temperatures soared as high as the four Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flypasts, and visitor numbers also rode high. Attendance was on par with 2017’s event, with only the England v Sweden World Cup fixture drawing numbers slightly down on Saturday afternoon.
Feedback given to its volunteer committee and to the festival’s Facebook site overwhelmingly show the event was a massive success. With the huge range of entertainments, dances and parties, re-enactments and living history groups, vintage and military vehicles, competitions, the event has been deemed an “amazing weekend” by visitors to the village. Many have also praised business owners and the Woodhall Spa community for their enthusiasm and welcoming nature.
The additional spend on traffic management kept roads free of queues, and the increased number of shuttle buses ferrying visitors to and from the four car parks paid off, with reduced waiting times at the car parks and shuttle bus pick-up points.
Chair of the organising Committee Andy Hunter said today: “I’d like to thank everyone who came to Woodhall Spa for our Festival this weekend. We take care of all the organisation but it’s the visitors who make the atmosphere and the residents who welcome so many to our village that keeps bringing people back. The feedback we’ve heard so far seems to suggest this has been the best festival yet, and while there will always be tweaks and improvements to make I’m delighted with how this weekend has gone.”
Councillor and Leader of ELDC Council Craig Leyland echoed Hunter’s comments, as he Tweeted “the organisation and generosity of the volunteers who make it happen…” as the highlight of his weekend.
Highlights included flypasts by the BBMF on both days, crowned by a Sunday afternoon appearance by the Lancaster Bomber “Leader”, based at nearby RAF Coningsby, a skirmish re-enactment in the Pinewoods and regular sightings of a Winston Churchill impersonator who posed for photos with visitors. Operationally, the event ran very smoothly thanks to the year-long planning by the volunteer committee and locally-based support services they put in place;
• Dave Skells Traffic Management from Louth delivered the complex traffic plan
• Coningsby-based SRP Hire Solutions Provided crowd barriers, toilets and porta-cabins for the crew
• East Lindsay District Council issued 42 fixed penalty fines for illegal parking
• Horncastle-based medics LIVES treated 50 people over the weekend (60% of which were for heat-related ailments) – double the number treated in 2017.
Thanks go to the festival’s main sponsors The Petwood Hotel and The The Golf Hotel & Aqua Sante Spa – Woodhall Spa, our supporters Woodhall Country Park, The INN at Woodhall Spa and Eclipse Photographic, Dave Robson LBIPP EFIAP and SRP Hire Solutions for their logistical support.
The organisers also wish to thanks the many individuals and groups who create the re-enactments, displays and living history features, the performers who entertain the crowds all weekend and the many volunteers who assist in the delivery of the show each year.
Press Release - 4 Jun 17
Wartime Woodhall Spa Festival Announces Local Allies
One of the region’s largest and most successful summer events is gearing up for its biggest ever event thanks to support from two leading local hotels.
Woodhall Spa 1940s Festival, returning for 2017 on 15th-16th July, is all set to take place for its sixth consecutive year. The free festival, which celebrates and commemorates life on the British WWII Homefront and now regarded as one of the leading 1940s events in the UK, welcomed 40,000 visitors in 2016, with as many expected to descend on the village in July.
As a result of its success, costs associated with infrastructure such as parking, shuttle buses, health & safety and insurances have significantly increased and the organising committee has sought support from local businesses to deliver the event.
Owners of the world famous Petwood Hotel and the perpetually popular The Golf Hotel & Aqua Sante Spa - Woodhall Spa, both based in leafy Woodhall Spa, have once again stepped in to provide much-needed financial sponsorship for the second year running.
Organising committee chairman Andy Hunter expressed his gratitude to the two hotels, which have been named as the festival’s “Allies”: “We are extremely lucky to be able to count on the support of two such well known and generous businesses as The Petwood and The Golf Hotel. The scale of the event means we have had to put in place the appropriate level of infrastructure, and that comes at quite a cost to what is a free to attend and volunteer-run festival. This has been made much easier due to the financial support of local businesses and the generosity of several local land owners, who have made their land available for car parking. Every effort has been made to ensure our visitors enjoy the festival and leave Woodhall Spa with an experience to remember.”
Petwood Hotel Director Emma Brealey said she feels supporting the event is “a great way to put Woodhall Spa on the map”: “There is absolutely no doubt that the 1940s festival has been a real boon for the village. We see our guests returning year after year just for this weekend, lots of them book their room for next year as they check out. It is a huge credit to the volunteer-based committee that the Woodhall Spa 1940s Festival is a key event in Lincolnshire’s tourism calendar as well as the national 1940s scene. We are delighted to offer our support to keep the festival in the calendar”.
Further essential support has come from The INN at Woodhall Spa, and other local establishments are set to become sponsors. Numerous donations from shops, restaurants, bars and businesses based in the village have also offered generous donations and other methods of support.
To find out more about the 2017 festival including What’s On, parking and visitor information, and special event tickets, go to https://woodhall-spa-40s-festival.com/.
Festival 2017 poster
Woodhall Spa 1940s Festival Press Release
17 Jul 16
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.