Published: 14:43, 08 July 2020
| Updated: 15:16, 08 July 2020
The War and Peace Revival Show (WAP) will not go ahead this month, after a council raised visitor safety concerns.
Describing itself as 'the greatest celebration of military and vintage lifestyle in the world', organisers had remained optimistic despite other large gatherings in Kent being cancelled because of the pandemic.
In normal times, hundreds of history buffs visit the Hop Farm Park near Paddock Wood for the five-day extravaganza, to gaze at military vehicles from around the world, cheer on battle re-enactments and browse stalls for vintage clothing.
Organisers say they worked tirelessly to meet government guidelines but their hosts would not allow the show to take place.
However, the farm says it was acting under the instruction of Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council (TMBC).
Large gatherings are still banned under current rules.
Organiser John Allison said: "It’s with deep sadness we have to inform all the visitors and traders WAP can’t take place.
"In true Dunkirk spirit we have been working tirelessly over the weeks putting things in place, altering formats, revamping the show layout, altering visitor attractions, endless meetings with our health and safety department to enable WAP to meet the ever changing government guidelines.
"One thing is for sure we did our very best for you the traders to put WAP on and keep your business alive.
"We are sorry we can’t deliver your fantastic holiday experience. I’m sorry to report this is not our finest hour. A very sad day."
Mr Allison questioned why pubs, bars and cinemas could reopen from Saturday but trading couldn't take place at the show.
The event was set to take place from Tuesday, July 28, until Saturday, August 1.
'I'm sorry to report this is not our finest hour...'
In June, organisers said they were "carefully monitoring the situation and planning measures needed to ensure the safety of all exhibitors and visitors at the show."
Ticket sales, however, had been put on hold.
Disappointed visitors can now apply for refunds or ticket deferrals online.
A date has been set for next year, from Wednesday, July 27 until Sunday, July 31.
A TMBC spokesman said: "We have been in contact with the Hop Farm over a number of weeks and wrote to them expressing our concerns about the War and Peace show going ahead.
"While we did not order them to cancel the booking, we did point out the regulations covering public gatherings and urged them and the organisers to consider the safety of those attending.
"While it was the Hop Farm’s decision to subsequently notify the organisers that the event could no longer go ahead, we believe this was sensible in the circumstances."
More by this authorKatie Heslop
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