“The best one yet!”
That was the enthusiastic verdict following this weekend’s Castle Bytham Midsummer Festival, which ran on Sunday and incorporated a music festival on Saturday.
The event was blessed with a heatwave with clear blue skies and bright sunshine, with hundreds of revellers enjoying live music outdoors on Saturday until late.
And on Sunday, traders filled the streets and traditional events, including a duck race and a dog show, proved popular, as did the Welsh Oracle boats which people could take onto the stream to have a little paddle in. There was also a medieval theme to the festival, thanks to the support of a £10,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund, with the aim being to tell the history of the community in a 21st century way. The organising committee put together 15 fascinating facts about Castle Bytham, which even had stalwart villagers exclaiming ‘wow’. There was also entertainment including an interactive theatre performance group, a medieval alchemist and an old fashioned wood carpenter demonstrating. Robin Hood even made an appearance.
Over the course of the weekend, there were three fly-pasts by the Hurricane and Spitfire, from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, and even the Red Arrows which drew whoops and cheers from the crowds - with the bands even pausing to allow for the full force of the flypasts to be felt.
Patrick Candler, from the Castle Bytham Midsummer Festval committee, said the weekend was a huge success.
“The whole weekend was absolutely phenomenal,” he said. “The weather was, of course, brilliant - almost too hot really. We had people come but you could see them wilting in the sunshine.
“But all the traders reported having a good day and they love the setting.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better weekend - it was the best one yet.”
Those too hot were well tended to by first aiders on site and for those feeling a little thirsty, the beer tent provided cooling refreshments - and had completely sold out by the end of the event. The aromas from the barbecue also tempted people to buy tasty hot dogs and burgers, which again sold out, and the vegetarian visitors weren’t forgotten with plenty of options for them - and of course, ice creams proved popular.
Rutland band Tin Pigeons headlined the festival and according to Patrick were one of the highlights.
But there was a range of performers to appeal to all tastes and other bands that proved popular with visitors were local band Uninvited Guests - which were performing their biggest gig to date - and Chloe Lorentzen, who at just 12, was on the introducing stage compered by Rutland Radio. She had an excellent voice and were popular.
The Rutland Big Band also proved popular, performing two sets on Sunday, and parents were on hand to support their youngsters, performing from the Bythams School and the Swinstead Dance Academy.
Proceeds from the weekend will go to support local good causes, including the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance and the village church, and although the final total is not yet known, Patrick said he was certain it would be the most realised during the event’s history.
But the primary aim of the event was to make sure people have a weekend of fun to remember and Patrick said this year’s event would be difficult to top.
Kate Goodman, chairman of the festival committee, also thanked he thousands of visitors who supported the event, and paid tribute to all the volunteers who contributed hugely to the weekend’s success.