Always Bon Jovi
Bournemouth's fifth Air Festival has been declared a triumph for the UK's leading seaside resort, with an estimated 964,000 festival goers across the four days, and the busiest aeronautical and evening entertainment programmes yet staged.
More than 125,000 visitors and residents packed Bournemouth beach on launch day Thursday, greeting the arrival of the Red Arrows with a roaring cheer and clapping ovation. Another 180,000 arrived on Friday and with temperatures soaring on Saturday, crowds of more than 370,000 people thronged onto the beach, followed by 171,700 on Sunday.
Thousands lined the East Overcliff and seafront across the four days, keen to score pole position for views and images. Aviation action came from aircraft including the RAF Tornado, Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the awesome Miss Demeanour, Royal Navy Black Cats and the iconic Avro Vulcan, to name but a few.
The stunning Dusk and Night Air displays on Thursday and Friday nights saw crowds treated to fantastic aviation action by the SWIP Team Twister Duo, fearless Tigers jumping 10,000 feet, O'Briens Flying Circus solo Spitfire and Breitling Wingwalkers.
Some of the UK's favourite tribute acts wowed crowds at Bournemouth Pier and at Boscombe Pier , a first for the Festival, with headline acts including Rizzle Kicks, Scouting for Girls, Lawson and Newton Faulkner who performed to crowds of 6,500.
"It's been wonderful to have had such appreciative crowds" - says Air Festival Director Jon Weaver.
"The Royal Navy, RAF and Army have been enormously supportive of the event despite extremely heavy commitments with this year's Diamond Jubilee and Olympics, we're grateful to have such solid support for Bournemouth.
"It's been great talking to Festival visitors saying they felt it was the best year ever!"
With clear skies and warm weather, flying itineraries were kept on schedule, and as temperatures soared, festival goers cooled off with more than 25,000 ice-creams sold.
One and a half miles of stall holders, rides and food outlets also proved enormously popular, both along the beach and on the East Overcliff with a line-up of new attractions and global cuisine. As well as taking advantage of finding out about the Forces at the RAF and Royal Navy Villages, more than 900 people got the chance to visit HMS York anchored in the bay and flanked by RFA Mounts Bay and HMS Severn.
Commander Tom Herman said;
"The Air Festival is our largest outreach event of the year. A record number of people visited HMS York to experience naval life; which was in addition to our Navy Village ground assets, the support from the Royal Marines, Army and the mighty RFA Mounts Bay and HMS Severn which were at the heart of our activities."
The RAF Village was buzzing with festival goers delighted to be able to visit a mock up Chinook and speak to members of the Red Arrows Team. Flt Lt Pete James said;
"We have received a fantastic reception from the people of Bournemouth and look forward to being back next year with a full display of nine aircraft."
The dates for the 2013 Air Festival have been confirmed Thursday August 29th - Sunday 1st September.