On the 29th and 30th of September Cotswold Airport will once again throw open its gates to the public for its vintage and wartime extravaganza, the ‘Cotswold Airport Revival Festival’. To mark the centenary of the RAF, as well as Cotswold Airport’s RAF roots as RAF Kemble, the organisers have launched a major initiative to get 100 aircraft to fly in over the two-day event.
Jo Welch, Head of Events at Cotswold Airport said: ‘This initiative is really exciting. We hope to attract many many different types of aircraft over the two days for everyone to see. We especially are interesting in vintage and military themed aircraft, including helicopters, light aircraft and large and small jets. We are offering free landing for the duration of the event for these aircraft and free parking. Pilots and owners are welcome to camp if they wish to stay for the two days and bring any display materials to tell visitors all about their aircraft.’
Each aircraft will be booked in in advance so there will be constant movements throughout both days for people to see in the skies above. (As with all aviation activity, this event is weather dependant – many vintage bi- planes for example are unable to fly in bad weather conditions.) On the ground there will be a dedicated display area for visitors to get close to the planes.
Cotswold Airport started-out life as RAF Kemble 80 years ago and was the first home of the famous Red Arrows. The airport still retains its military links and actively supports associated service charities. This official RAF100 event is set to be a nostalgic commemoration of the centenary whilst also acknowledging the airport’s own RAF roots.
The festival was started as an informal fundraising Open Day for 500 people last year, and ended up as a major event with over 10,000 visitors! Building on last year’s success, the airport teamed up with ‘Live Promotions Events Ltd’, a major events organisation that has run Truckfest, Pistons & Props and many big-name concerts featuring Tom Jones, UB40 and Billy Ocean, for over 50 years. The organisers hope to make the festival one of the UK’s top annual events with visitors from all over the country.
The festival will include dramatic re-enactments and demonstrations and vintage air displays, as well as exciting rides and experience flights. Hundreds of vintage and military vehicles are booked in as well as full-size and miniature steam engines. To top it off there will be plenty of entertainment, including live bands playing period music.
Star features not to be missed include:
- A huge display of vintage, military and emergency services vehicles and planes
- Vintage plane flypasts and fly-in
- A kids’ play zone with giant inflatable slide, toddler play zone, vintage pedal cars
- Winston Churchill speeches throughout the weekend
- A funfair
- Wartime re-enactments
- Simulator experiences
- Steam traction engines
- Pleasure flights in light aircraft and helicopters
- Model aircraft static display
- Boeing 747 pop-up WWI and RAF100 museum
- Airport fire crew crash demo of a rescue from a burning aircraft
- Rescue demonstrations by a lifeboat hovercraft
2018 is an especially important year for in addition to RAF100 it is the centenary of the end of WWI. With this in mind, fundraising will focus on the Royal British Legion and Flying for Freedom, two charities that support the armed forces and veterans. The aerodrome celebrates its own anniversary this year as well: 15 years in the ownership of Ronan Harvey, an ex-RAF engineer.
Tom Siddall, Event Director at Live Promotions Events, said: “Live are very much looking forward to working with Cotswold Airport to take the revival event to the next level. We have so much planned and are currently busy confirming all of the fabulous entertainment for the many expected visitors to enjoy. The fact that we have so many anniversaries to celebrate at this year’s event including the RAF Centenary makes the prospect of organising the show so very exciting.”
Images by Bob Parker and Tim Shepherd