Royal Norfolk Show's comeback could be 'best for a generation'

Mark Nicholas, managing director of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, which organises the Royal Norfolk Show

Mark Nicholas, managing director of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, which organises the Royal Norfolk Show - Credit: Danielle Booden

This year's Royal Norfolk Show could be the "best for a generation" said organisers, as they revealed details of the event's long-awaited comeback.

The summer showcase has left a huge hole in the county's social, business and farming calendars since 2019, due to two successive Covid cancellations.

But after a difficult two years, organisers at the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA) said the show's 2022 revival will be bigger than ever.

More than 3,000 tickets have already been sold - far more than usual at this time of the year - which they believe indicates the scale of public anticipation for the event's return.

Mark Nicholas, managing director of the RNAA, said: "We just need fair weather behind us and it will be the best show for a generation.

"I think after two years, people have realised how much they really miss the Royal Norfolk Show, and I have heard that from so many quarters now. It leaves a gap in people's lives for all sorts of reasons.

"The 2022 show is genuinely going to be a great revival of this wonderful event, and it is going to be just as big and impressive as any pre-Covid show."

The RNAA has announced three central themes of the 2022 show: "Homegrown", "Local Living" and "Farming Champions".

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Mr Nicholas said they are aimed at inspiring exhibitors, businesses and individuals to celebrate the best of their county in their own way.

"Homegrown could mean home-grown produce, homegrown talent, homegrown business - anything you like," he said. "That is a reflection of the localism that has emerged quite strongly during and after the pandemic, that people want to buy locally, particularly food produce."

Royal Norfolk Show 2016.Second Day.Picture: James Bass

Huge crowds are expected back at the Norfolk Showground for the return of the Royal Norfolk Show in June 2022 - Credit: Archant

The return of the popular Food Hall, sponsored by Adnams, will be another good example of this theme, said Mr Nicholas, with a "really vibrant, strong focus on homegrown produce".

Meanwhile, the Local Living and Farming Champions themes will combine in a new project called On The Map, run by the Food and Farming Discovery Trust, aimed at linking schools with their local farms to boost understanding of how food is produced in Norfolk.

What's new for the 2022 Royal Norfolk Show?

The 2022 Royal Norfolk Show coincides with the Queen's Platinum Jubilee - an occasion which will be celebrated with a Royal Salute featuring more than 1,000 local performers.

The "mammoth performance" in the Grand Ring will include music, singing and dancing to celebrate the Queen's long reign, and the heritage of the nation and the Commonwealth.

Directed by former Norwich Theatre Royal chief executive and vice lord-lieutenant of Norfolk Peter Wilson, it also forms the centrepiece of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association’s (RNAA's) own 175th anniversary celebrations.

Former Norwich Theatre Royal chief executive Peter Wilson

Former Norwich Theatre Royal chief executive Peter Wilson, now vice lord-lieutenant of Norfolk, will direct the Royal Salute at the 2022 Royal Norfolk Show - Credit: Denise Bradley

Musical direction will be by David Stowell from the Norfolk Music Service, with singer and performer Anna Mudeka choreographing the hundreds of young people taking part.

Norfolk schools and educational settings are being offered the opportunity to participate in the Royal Salute. For more details see www.norfolkmusichub.org.uk/site/a-royal-salute/

The RNAA will also rename a prominent route through the Norfolk Showground as the "Queen Elizabeth II Drive" during the show.

Other show highlights include performances from hundreds of musicians under a new partnership with the Norfolk Music Hub -  aiming to fill at least three bandstand locations with "Homegrown" talent from schools and community bands.

Under the "Farming Champions" theme, one of the big changes at this year's show will be the introduction of a large agricultural machinery demonstration area.

About five acres of the main showground is being allocated to bring the event's displays of farm machinery to life, including the latest in robotic technologies and automated drones. 

The show's traditional array of around 700 trade stands and livestock competitions featuring more than 3,000 animals will return, along with a packed Grand Ring programme.

Although the schedule is still being finalised, attractions confirmed so far include the national show for Aberdeen Angus cattle being hosted in Norfolk for the first time, the Shetland Pony Grand National in the Grand Ring, and races of horse-drawn mail coaches.

  • The 2022 Royal Norfolk Show will be held at the Norfolk Showground on June 29 and 30. For more information and tickets, see www.royalnorfolkshow.co.uk
Royal Norfolk Show, 2018. Showjumping in the main ring.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Organisers hope the 2022 Royal Norfolk Show could be the 'biggest for a generation' - Credit: Archant