Old Warden crowd size
Discussion forum for all things Shuttleworth
Fri 03 Nov 2017, 5:01 pm
Good evening All,
Does anyone know what the crowd capacity is at Old Warden? I have a figure of around 6,000 in my head but would be grateful for any confirmation.
Fri 03 Nov 2017, 9:35 pm
7k is max.
Fri 03 Nov 2017, 9:45 pm
Tue 07 Nov 2017, 5:13 pm
st24 wrote:7k is max.
Out of interest, is that 'ticket sales', i.e. not including children who enter free, and don't get included on a headcount, please?
Mon 07 May 2018, 9:56 am
I wonder how many were there yesterday for the Season Premiere, seemedlike a lot more than 7k to me...!
Never seen it so packed which although great for SW revenue did spoil it a bit for my partner who I’d convinced to go for the first time on the basis of “it isn’t like normal airshow venues, it’s much more relaxed and not crowded”.
Mon 07 May 2018, 10:01 am
Post on FC says they had 7,600 yesterday.
Thinking about it, when was the last sold out show? The Vulcan's final appearance? That was 2015, before they had to move the fence back at the right hand end of the crowdline. That's probably why it felt so much more crowded.
Mon 07 May 2018, 10:14 am
Certainly seemed like there was more than 7600 in there yesterday.
To me it seemed like it was a lot busier than last year when they had the Red's and the Vulcan's last show in 2015. (which were also sell outs).
Mon 07 May 2018, 10:25 am
Sounds like, flying-wise, yesterday was another OW triumph. And for the coffers in terms of visitors through the gates.
As for the crowd size, OW has almost become a victim of its own success. The great charm was that OW was a venue where normal airshow "rules" didn't apply. You didn't have to be there at sunrise to get a position on the crowdline, getting in and getting parked up were no problem, the people who attended were knowledgable, polite and knew how to respect personal space, and the atmosphere was civilised and refined. The "vests and tattoos brigade" had no interest in what was on offer there, one burger van and one beer stall was plenty, and OW felt like a venue for purists. A graden party with aeroplanes, flown so close you could touch them.
What's happened since is that forums like UKAR have made those with any air-mindedness whatsoever aware that Shuttleworth shows are simply the best on offer. With other venues dying out, or severely neutered since (treads carefully with proceedings active...) "what happened at Shoreham", Old Warden is a throwback to how airshows used to be. Booking "family friendly" acts like the Typhoon or the red moron-magnets guarantees bigger-than-they-used-to-be crowds, which is great for the Collection's bank balance, but absolutely wrecks the atmosphere of the place.
Here's hoping that we're not about to see the début of the shed stall, the win-a-giant-Tigger stall or cheap fake perfume sellers at the hallowed old place.
Shuttleworth needs bums on seats, or feet on grass, but equally it needs to remember what makes the place special and unique to so many in the first place. Those customers are the ones who'll turn up for a relatively thin evening show with a mixed forecast, not the sort who want to see the Red Arrows and go home when they've finished.
Mon 07 May 2018, 11:15 am
Dan O'Hagan wrote:What's happened since is that forums like UKAR have made those with any air-mindedness whatsoever aware that Shuttleworth shows are simply the best on offer.
Fair, but what about those knowledgeable, polite, civilised people who learned about and regularly participate at Old Warden shows through forums like UKAR? I daresay a lot of people, myself included, have UKAR reviews and photos hosted here by members to thank, those that had their curiosity piqued. Wasn't that how you first heard about the place? I thought I remember you saying that you used to call it "Old Boredom" until you went.
"vests and tattoo" brigade indeed... Some of the most cultured men and women I know wear vests and tattoos. I know where you're trying to get at (as does everyone else) because there's a crumb of truth in it, but don't tar everyone with the same brush. Otherwise Old Warden will lose that polite courteous civilised demeanour, and be seen as a hostile place that's snobby, arrogant, lofty, and intolerant. The Collection's coffers will long for days like yesterday if that's the veneer they build themselves.
Dan O'Hagan wrote:Shuttleworth needs bums on seats, or feet on grass, but equally it needs to remember what makes the place special and unique to so many in the first place. Those customers are the ones who'll turn up for a relatively thin evening show with a mixed forecast, not the sort who want to see the Red Arrows and go home when they've finished.
I agree. Overall, I think one of Shuttleworth's USPs (amongst an excellent based collection and fabulous photography conditions) is its charm and relaxed approach. I still think that'll continue. I recall similar objections were made when the Red Arrows performed at the Premiere in 2016. It was pretty full then, even with CAA tomfoolery, but subsequent shows have retained the same je ne sais quoi that has always been there, I feel.
Mon 07 May 2018, 11:28 am
Although I agree, the atmosphere at Shuttleworth is it's great selling point, the "old" atmosphere can easily be kept at the Evening Shows that are never going to see the same attendance as the main shows. It's great to see Shuttleworth investing again this year, perhaps because of the higher attendance in recent years, in the Miles Speed Six.
On the topic of "tattoos and vests" I have and indeed wear vests and have tattoos. Been going to airshows for 28 years now, certainly have a very keen interest on what's going on there.
Tue 08 May 2018, 9:48 am
Sure it was busy but I just didn't get the elbow rubbing space invader feeling many have mentioned about Sunday. My reserved bit of grass by the tower was there with plenty of room around to swing my cat and a quick few steps to the front to shoot taxing and take off/landing stuff through the gaps of straw boaters and Red Arrows and /or Typhoon baseball caps. The only time I wished I had a bit more room was during the Puma departure when, and rightly so, the crowd massed to see a big chunk of helicopter take off. Otherwise it was still perfectly charming and even the great Lincolnshire unwashed behaved well after being let out of their pens...
Tue 08 May 2018, 10:12 am
You could still move around, but it was a lot more difficult than it usually is.
We arrived at the gate just before 9am. It was a further 20 minutes or so before we were parked and the crowdline was already taken, so we pitched up behind a couple of empty chairs where the Spitfires we're going to park (overheard the marshals saying they would be there with the Blenheim, so knew that's where I wanted to be).
Just before flying started, the occupants of the chairs arrived back with their bags and unpacked some mammoth lenses and tripods, scuppering my hopes of a view of the runway, but it was way too late to relocate by then. It was very difficult to get an angle on the sunny side of the MkI Spitfire once it had been turned, just too many bodies there.
Happy for them to have sold out, but I prefer it under more "normal" circumstances.
Tue 08 May 2018, 10:36 am
Maybe had a T&C's that only people with Bentley's, Morgans and any other Pre WW1 motors are allowed in. Straw Picnic baskets only with Silver Cutlery. That should keep em out.
Symptoms of a n Ever Diminishing UK Show scene really, At least there is still a Wow factor about the flying here thankfully.
Tue 08 May 2018, 10:37 am
LN Strike Eagle wrote:Happy for them to have sold out, but I prefer it under more "normal" circumstances.
Likewise. Not quite so upset at missing the show now, although I would love to have got a topside shot of the Lanc, been trying for that for more years then I care to remember! I had been hoping for something similar from Sally B last year.
Tue 08 May 2018, 10:40 am
I can understand that its nicer when its less crowded. Of course it is, anything is. The alternative is to cap the attendance lower and raise the ticket prices. Which would no doubt lead to disappointed people who couldn't get in. They're stuck between a rock and a hard place.
As for Typhoon and Reds bringing in somehow less desirable spectators (and putting aside the snobbishness inherent in that attitude) I don't buy it. Not for a minute. I think Shuttleworth shows benefit from the added variety, spectacle and entertainment. It doesn't take anything away from the historic aircraft. And modern displays at Shuttleworth events goes back a long way - the military pageant especially - if you ever witnessed a Harrier display there you'll never forget it.
I'm still convinced the sound and stable weather forecast was the biggest ticket seller, plus maybe many of our enthusiast community bringing along their families rather than coming on their own. Because with a bit more variety than usual and the sun in the sky it was a a great opportunity to do just that.
Tue 08 May 2018, 12:29 pm
I think they key thing with OW is getting the balance right between the need to bring in income and keeping the "village fete" atmosphere that makes it so special. Stories/complaints re the catering are a regular feature over the years and I'm sorry to hear they had issues over the weekend. Especially as they new exactly what figures to cater for.
The easy option would be to book a whole fleet of burger vans etc to reduce the queues or contract the whole task out to a specialist caterer but that would harm the whole experience IMHO.
Hard to get the balance right.
Tue 08 May 2018, 8:39 pm
The only thing I hope to God Warden will never ever introduce; exclusive elitist viewing enclosures like the ones at Duxford and Fairford, usually placed in the centre of the crowd line. That really would kill it for me.
Tue 08 May 2018, 9:25 pm
On that point, I seem to recall some kind of enclosure at the last Fly Navy show. I remember it being a little bit of a pain as it meant you had to go all the way around it to see the static aircraft parked further away.
Tue 08 May 2018, 9:51 pm
Chucking my 2p in - I discovered Old Warden when I came along to a show where the Reds were performing (think it was the Season Premiere in 2016) and discovered an amazing venue with these glorious vintage planes and lovely atmosphere. On my second visit I then discovered that on top of that there's a charming Swiss Garden too.
I have to say, Sunday did feel alot busier than my previous two visits, although if they have one show a year where they have a big draw to attract the masses (Typhoon, Red Arrows) to keep the bank balance in the black I don't think we can begrudge them that.
There will be other quieter shows for the vintage enthusiast - of which I count myself very much a part of, almost exclusively because of Old Warden.
Now, how to negotiate a pass for the Saturday evening show....?
Tue 08 May 2018, 9:55 pm
PirateTrickster wrote:Now, how to negotiate a pass for the Saturday evening show....?
Haha, they need to stop hosting so many good shows only weeks apart!
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