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Music Rocks Bournemouth Airshow

This year marked the seventh Bournemouth Air Festival, attracting over one million visitors from all over the world – the highest recorded attendance in its history.

It is described as one of the best air festivals in Europe and certainly did not leave visitors disappointed.

Throughout the weekend various aircrafts both old and new could be seen demonstrating their abilities along the beach. The RAF showed off their latest multi-role fast jet, the Typhoon, whilst the Avro Vulcan (the only flying example left in the world) made a special thundering appearance on Saturday and Sunday, showing how the Cold War bomber looked and worked.

As predicted The Battle of Britain Memorial flight featuring a Lancaster Bomber, Spitfire and a Hurricane was a particular favourite amongst the crowds, as were the various parachute displays from the RAF, PWRR ‘Tigers’ and the Army’s ‘Red Devils’. These also featured in the evening’s air display, lighting up the sky at dusk alongside O’Brien’s Flying Circus and a spectacular firework display.

But of all the aircrafts, The Red Arrows took top place with their amazing synchronised demonstration - although the usual team of nine were reduced to eight on the third day when Red Three Pilot Fl Lt Joe Hourston’s wife went into labour!

The Air Festival did not only feature aircrafts, but additionally displayed examples of land vehicles and weapons from all the Armed Services on the seafront. The Royal Marines could also be seen performing an Unarmed Combat demonstration and a Beach Commando Assault everyday.  

Music played a vital role in supporting the festival. The Royal Marines Band treated crowds to a marching display each day and the two seafront bandstands had artists such as Rizzle Kicks and Sophie Ellis-Bextor performing in the evening.

Our role over the weekend was to provide musical support to the Army’s Recruiting initiative, Ex Wyvern Wings. We were based in the lower park bandstand where people could watch Punch ‘n’ Judy, play crazy golf, have their face painted and go up in a hot air balloon to overlook the whole of Bournemouth.

Our two sets were from 7-9pm each night and it was estimated that we entertained 20,000 visitors of all ages over the entire weekend. Many people settled on the grass to listen, and songs that particularly got the crowd singing and clapping included Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now and Bon Jovi’s You Give Love a Bad Name. 

Some numbers also inspired some ‘enthusiastic’ dancing and at one point our Bandmaster (who was our sound engineer out the front) almost had a dance off with one of the merrier members of the public!

It was encouraging to have so many visitors take the time to thank us afterwards and enquire into our new role as a contemporary band. The Air Festival was a great place to engage with the public and demonstrate the new direction of Army music, and we hope to be invited back next year.

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