Stewart Atkins: Goodwood Revival, Part 2 – Surprise and Delight!

Stewart Atkins joined Bob Callway at Goodwood Revival and shares his thoughts on the event below. Read Goodwill Revival, Part 1 by Bob Callway here.

There is something quintessentially British about Lord March’s annual ’40s, ’50s and ’60s period bash at his wonderful Goodwood country estate. Not only does it bring together a glorious collection of vintage and classic automobiles there are amazing aircrafts too. One of the most special features is that it offers tens of thousands who make the annual pilgrimage a chance to get dressed up in their finest and enjoy one enormous fancy dress party!

The fact that so many of the punters embrace the spirit of the event by getting into character and costume is one of the most endearing and enduring features that give the event an unashamedly nostalgic atmosphere. So for me as a photographer appropriately dressed and armed with my suitably period looking M9 rangefinder and a choice of fast 50 mm and 35 mm lenses, I have a feast of wonderful images presenting themselves at every turn.

As a confirmed petrolhead and member of the Goodwood Road Racing Club (GRRC), I’ve been a regular at these events over recent years and always enjoy the opportunity to mix photographing stunning automotive and aeronautical machinery up close — yes you can actually touch the cars and planes — along with all manner of people enjoying the carnival-like atmosphere. I have opportunity to meet the drivers and stars of yesteryear and the modern era who stand side by side in the paddock comparing their experiences of hurtling around the circuit in cars that roar and spit flames, many of which are being driven at full chat despite being worth millions on the collectors market.

Performers from the Goodwood Players and various entertainers all perfectly cast in roles from their respective eras mingle easily through the crowd — the World War II spiv selling nylons and illicit cigarettes liberated from the GIs, 1950s girl band singers, 1940s swing and 1950s jive bands, mods and rockers from the Ace Cafe — they are all there to see. It is a hugely enjoyable celebration of the past that offers an aural and visual treat that never ceases to surprise and delight whatever your age, gender or nationality.

- Stewart Atkins

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