Downton Cuckoo Fair
2022 – Date for your diary – Sat 30th April for the Fair!
To help stall holders plan for their events in 2022 the date of the fair will be 30th April 2022 (it’s always held on the Saturday of the first May Bank holiday).
The Downton Cuckoo Fair is friendly, fun and free to enjoy – and 2019 was our 40th year as the best family day out in Wiltshire!
With a family-friendly festival atmosphere, the fair is held on the village greens in the picturesque village of Downton, six miles south of Salisbury on the edge of the New Forest on the Wiltshire/Hampshire border.
Over the remainder of 2021 and into 2022 we will continue to monitor the regulations, guidance and advice for organisers of large outdoor events. We receive updates from Wiltshire Council, and their Event Safety Advisory Group (ESAG), the industry body – The Events Industry Forum and The Purple Guide.
As a large, outdoor, un-ticketed, free-to-enter event our key considerations would be around any requirements:
- to manage / limit visitor numbers (eg to help ensure social distancing);
- to record stall holders/visitor details (eg for track and trace);
- to review vaccination/test status of stall holders/visitors (to confirm they are ‘protected’); or
- to ensure stall holders/visitor compliance to social distancing/mask wearing.
- for any of the venues within the Fair, eg pubs, schools, churches etc
We are very aware that the Covid situation and associated guidance may change in the next six months so we will be monitoring the guidance whilst we are planning, making bookings and outlaying costs. As for 2020 and 2021 years and recognising that we’re one of the first major events in the year the key decision point for us would be early in 2022.
So, in these difficult and uncertain times we also want to bring some cheer to the village where we can and would like to confirm that the Cuckoo Fair will, as ever, be providing Downton with a village Christmas tree. We hope this puts a little bit of sparkle in 2021 and very much hope that 2022 is a more optimistic year but more especially we look forward to the prospect of welcoming you all to the best Fair ever in 2022!
For further information please read our Frequently Asked Questions below – click + to see the answers
We consider many factors using the government’s COVID guidance and associated risk templates. As a large, outdoor, un-ticketed, free-to-enter event for us the key ones include:
- Being an un-ticketed event means we can’t record stall holders/visitor details and so don’t know who is attending (eg for track and trace or to confirm vaccination status)
- Being an event with multiple entry points means we can’t control visitor numbers (eg to help ensure social distancing)
- Being a free event limits our ability to raise funds to provide the additional COVID precautions
- Being free means a last minute cancellation incurs all the costs with no on-the-day income eg car parks, which would hit us hard financially
- We feature live entertainment at several venues, where it would be difficult to setup the required 2m bubbles.
- There are also many other organisations who run their own events eg pubs, schools, churches etc
- Our stall layout is constrained by the size of the greens which could increase crowding and hinder stall holders/visitor compliance to social distancing/mask wearing
- The fair is held in the middle of a village and having 20k visitors would significantly increase the risk of bringing COVID to a low incidence area.
- The timing of the fair early in 2022 means there is little time, following the winter, for the pandemic to reduce.
Over the remainder of 2021 we will continue to monitor the regulations, guidance and advice for organisers of large outdoor events. We follow the guidance from the UK government, plus any specific for England.
If you are a fair visitor you can still contact your favourite exhibitors and help them with their custom during this difficult time by having a look at the stall holder A-Z directory https://cuckoofair.co.uk/details-of-stallholders-produce-market
The Downton Cuckoo Fair is held on the Saturday of the first Bank Holiday in May. This is usually the first Saturday in May but sometimes can be the last Saturday in April.
In 2022 the Downton Cuckoo Fair will be held on the 30th April 2022
We appreciate it’s a long way off and that some people are unaware of the link between the Fair and the Christmas Tree but the proceeds of the running the Fair are used to fund the purchase, delivery, erection, lighting and insurance of the Downton Christmas Tree every year. We also rely on the support of TreeMenders https://www.treemenders.org.uk/ when it is taken down.
We also ran the Partridge Fair but this is now being organised by a different group.
So, in these difficult and uncertain times we also want to bring some cheer to the village where we can and would like to confirm that the Cuckoo Fair will, as ever, be providing Downton with a village Christmas tree.
We hope this puts a little bit of sparkle in 2020 and very much hope that 2021 is a more optimisitic year but more especially we look forward to the prospect of welcoming you all to the best Fair ever in 2022!
Stall Holder Refunds
We understand that it is not easy to secure a stall at the Cuckoo Fair, which is why we would like to offer all stallholders who had carried over their booking fee from 2020 the chance to roll their booking over again to secure a stall in 2022.
As stated in our Terms and Conditions, we wouldn’t normally offer a refund if the Fair is cancelled, but given such likely difficult times ahead we would like to offer a refund to those who would prefer it, minus a £10 admin fee which will contribute to covering the costs we have incurred already this year.
To request a refund please follow the instructions in the email you have received.
This option will remain available until the end of April 2021
We aim to process refunds within a week of receiving them. Typically refunds are delayed if your bank details are incorrect so please check them especially the name of the account. These checks are being introduced by UK banks to help reduce online payment frauds. There is a phased introduction throughout 2020 – for details see this article from the UK Finance and this article from Which?
The payments have a reference DCF xxx RFND with xxx being your stall holder reference (not location of the your pitch) as printed on the letter from us.
Having cancelled the 2020 fair we unfortunately also had to cancel the 2021 fair. In terms of our funding situation the 2020 financial year incurred costs of £7,400 and the 2021 financial year will incur (fixed) costs of around £3,000. Taken together these have a large impact on the reserves we hold – reserves we need to pay our suppliers in the event of a last minute or emergency cancellation (eg Southampton Boat Show).
The £10 admin fee for each stall holder booking refund is noted in our terms and conditions and will help to cover some of the annual costs like insurance, rental and legal fees, that we have to pay regardless of whether the fair happens.
Our current understanding of government guidance is that unlike other businesses we have no employees (we are entirely volunteer supported), pay no rates, trade only once a year and so don’t qualify for any of the existing support schemes under COVID-19. Like other business who provide outdoor events we are working with trade organisations, eg the Events Industry Forum, to redress that but at the moment it appears we don’t qualify for any grants.
This admin fee money will therefore go towards ensuring that the Fair can happen in 2022 and we thank you for your understanding.
The last time we had a Fair was in 2019 for our fortieth anniversary with a cavalcade of Downton minis and opening by the mayor of Salisbury. In 2018 we welcomed an over 20,000 visitors to our fair, with more than 300 craft, gift, homeware and food and drink stalls on the greens and in marquees along The Borough. The Downton Cuckoo Fair offers fun for all the family including rural craft demonstrations, Punch and Judy, clowns, fairground attractions (no inflatables) in the Memorial Gardens and a produce market in the car park behind the Co-op. The perfect day out in Wiltshire!
We have a wide range of entertainment during the fair including Maypole, Morris & traditional dancers, street entertainers, Downton Brass Band, and a host of live music being performed at The Bull Hotel, The Goat Inn and in the Memorial Gardens. Click for more information
There is also a wide selection of food and refreshments, along with facilities for the disabled – see our On Site Facilities
Downton comes alive for the whole weekend and anyone staying on holiday in the area will be interested to know that there are a number of excellent associated events leading up to the Cuckoo Fair, and over the rest of the ‘Mayday’ Holiday – see our Weekend Programme
There are ample car parks available, run by voluntary organisations and charities, with mini-buses running a Park and Ride service. To make the most of the your visit to the fair see the Visiting Menu options above.