“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill.
As you read this, the final Epic Militaria sortie into parks and farmers fields across England, is over. Now, as the troops return tired but not beaten, from War and Peace in Kent, we reflect on what was ultimately, a successful campaign over a 3 month period.
Our show season mission started on May 11th – 13th at a show new to us, Temple at War, Braintree, Essex. As this was an indoor setting, the Epic stand was more compact but it proved to be a nice warm up event in a stunning, 13th century barn. The show itself welcomes over 900 re-enactors from all over the UK and this year had some brilliant activities for children including bayonet practise with (but not on!) WW1 re-enactors and deactivating a (hopefully!) fake WW2 bomb.
For more info; http://www.templeatwar.co.uk/about-the-show/
Just a few weeks later on May 26th & 27th, we were at another show new to us, Ironbridge WW2 Weekend, near Telford, Shropshire. Set with an imposing but strangely beautiful, cooling tower backdrop, Ironbridge was one of my favourite locations of 2018. The atmosphere on the Saturday was busy but relaxed with a great number of re-enactors dressed up in 1940’s and 50’s attire to add to the ambiance. They looked amazing. A wedding party, at a venue next to the show, were certainly equally thrilled and bemused to see re-enactors in full US and German uniforms milling about, as they took their wedding photos! The Sunday unfortunately, was at the mercy of the weather and the show was shut down early, with sense prevailing and the organisers not wanting 300+ re-enactors and their heavy military vehicles stuck in mud! Taking down the marquee in thunder and lightning was interesting!
For more info: http://www.ironbridgeww2weekend.co.uk/
June 8th – 10th saw us back at Wicksteed at War near Kettering, Northants. The Epic show machine was now starting to gather a head of steam and during this free entry show, we welcomed approximately 15 – 20,000 people, including members of the public and re-enactors, onto the stand. It was a busy one but the opportunity to meet and speak to new customers is one not to be missed. The show itself is fantastic. With tank stunt team displays, flyovers from a Lancaster and a Spitfire and awesome re-enactment shows, we’d highly recommend it for a family day out.
Unfortunately, Wicksteed at War is not happening in 2019 as the organisers are taking a convoy of military vehicles across the English Channel to
France but be sure to visit in 2020! For more info: https://wicksteedatwar.co.uk/
We had a little bit of respite back at base before we trundled in to Tankfest, which was held on June 29th – July 1st. This annual show at the Bovington Tank Museum in Dorset is compact but busy and attracts people from all corners of the globe. I’m pretty sure all of them entered our marquee at some point. It certainly felt like it!
Tankfest was punctuated in the evenings by games of “Heads Up” (I’d recommend downloading it!) where I found out that the donkey in Winnie The Pooh was called Ben (!?) and that Sabre Toothed Tigers are “endangered” (!?). Great fun! 😀
With regular displays by various tanks, Tankfest is well worth a visit because let’s face it, who doesn’t like tanks!!?
For more info: http://www.tankmuseum.org/whats-on/events/bovevt63380
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Also Churchill.
If we had a respite before Tankfest, we certainly didn’t get that for our next show! We had just two days to restock, refuel and reload before we headed to Yorkshire Wartime Experience, just outside Bradford, for the show on July 6th – 8th. A special thank you to the Epic show team, for the quick and efficient turn around. Teamwork is key!
When we arrived at Yorkshire, it was hot and it didn’t let up all weekend. Some reports having the temperature around the mid 30’s at some points of the weekend (approximately 100 degrees to our American friends). We must have drunk around 5 or 6 litres of water a day, each! I’d been told that Yorkshire is a nice and friendly show and I wasn’t disappointed. We even had two wonderful re-enactors let us try some of their homemade brew which Chris duly polished off in front of me, cheers mate! There was also a moving memorial which was attended by the Mayoress of Bradford to honour those who fell in both world wars and all conflicts involving the British Army, since.
If you’re local, I’d highly recommend visiting. It’s growing each year and with some of the best re-enactment displays and battles around, you won’t be disappointed. One piece of advice, bring ear defenders for young ones, the explosions are huge (and amazing)!
For more info: http://nelz60.moonfruit.com/
The final battle; War and Peace Revival 2018. Based at Paddock Wood in Kent, we save the biggest until last! Widely regarded as the best show in the world, War and Peace, now in its 36th year (!!) and runs over 5 days from July 24th – 28th . It is a must for anyone interested in WW2 and all conflicts since. The going was tough this year for the Epic team. Temperatures, like at Yorkshire, were around the 35-37 degree mark but unlike Yorkshire, this was a prolonged barrage. After 6 days of scorching heat, the rains finally came, but not until the final day, although everyone involved was relieved!
Despite this, the team were able to welcome hundreds of new and existing customers onto the stand which for the first time ever, was complete with a “relaxation area” for the weary re-enactors and public. It would have come in useful I’m sure, as the sun pummelled and tore at even the maddest of dogs and Englishmen.
The evening entertainment of choice was Draw Poker, Epic employee and Ex-Royal Engineer, Tony, took everyone to the cleaners. The practise he got while stationed at Camp Bastian, proving vital.
For more info: https://warandpeacerevival.com/
So there we are; with 2300+ miles travelled, approximately 50,000 people welcomed onto our stall, 22 nights spent in the marquee, 31 collective days away from family and friends and a hundred beers (approximately 😉 ) drunk to unwind, we pack up our stand for the last time in 2018 and put it in a safe place until we go again in 2019.
Thank you to everyone that came to say hello and to regale stories and thank you to those who purchased something; from a Flotilla Badge to a full uniform, it’s all very welcome and we hope to see you somewhere in 2019.
The Epic Team.