Official Website of the Northampton Balloon Festival
Billing Aquadrome - Friday 16th to Sunday 18th August 2013
Previous Balloon Festivals
Northampton Balloon Festival was started by a group of local balloonists who wanted to put Northampton on the “ballooning map”. They had attended a number of ballooning events including Bristol Balloon Fiesta, but wanted to take part in their own event.
Some of the group approached Northampton Borough Council Events Team and in 1990 the first Northampton Balloon Festival was held on the Racecourse in the centre of Northampton.
In 2001, the Balloon Festival was called The Festival, when it was combined with the Town Show. This was also the year of Foot and Mouth disease in the UK, so no free flying took place, but the show went on with displays of balloons tethered and in the evenings the traditional glows. The following year the name reverted back to Northampton Balloon Festival, after the public thought that the balloons were no longer part of the event.
In 2009, the Borough Council had to look at where savings could be made in their budget. After public consultation, and much debate by the politicians, the Borough Council decided that it could no longer fund the Balloon Festival. Once the decision had been announced, there were many articles in the local press, posted on social networking sites and posting on websites, supporting the event.
Determined not to see Northampton Balloon Festival disappear, 4 members of Chiltern Region BBAC, with over 66 years combined ballooning experience, decided to find a way of taking the event forward.
Barry Newman, Chairman of CRBBAC, contacted a number of local venues and was delighted when Billing Aquadrome was equally enthusiastic and they have offered a safe, secure location, on the edge of Northampton.
The team, comprising Barry Newman, Stewart Wilyman, John Tyrrell and Wendy Rousell, set about putting together an event with the balloonist in mind. They were keen to see the event remain in the ballooning calendar, at a time that the fields are cut and therefore plenty of options for landing sites.
The venue is well located so that access to and from the site is easy for both balloonists and public.
Billing Aquadrome is experienced in hosting a number of large events during the year, as well as being known as a holiday location. There are facilities on the site for camping, shopping and socialising.
2010 was the 21st Northampton Balloon Festival and the second event held at Billing. Poor weather during the weekend meant the Balloons were limited to flying on Sunday only with both morning and evening flights taking off.
2011 Northampton Balloon Festival was once again back at Billing, this time for its third year. In what was widely recognised as one of the best Balloon Festivals in recent years, the balloons managed to fly 5 out of 6 slots with a spectacular night glow on the Saturday evening.
2012 will be again held at Billing Aquadrome. On 9 June 2012 it was confirmed that Billing Aquadrome would host the event until at least 2015.