Classic car festival cancelled - but will return "bigger and better"

The Great Yarmouth Wheels festivalByline: Sonya DuncanCopyright: Archant 2018

A classic car festival in Great Yarmouth has been postponed until 2022. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

A popular Great Yarmouth classical car festival has been postponed until 2022 to ensure it can come back “full throttle.”

Great Yarmouth Borough Council is already making plans for the return of the Wheels Festival in 2021

Great Yarmouth Borough Council is already making plans for the return of the Wheels Festival in 2022. - Credit: Archant

The Wheels festival, organised by Great Yarmouth Borough Council and the Wheels steering group, is one of the largest of its kind in the region and usually takes up to a year to plan.

The pandemic and associated restrictions have cut the lead-times for planning festivals for this year, and organisers are still waiting for the national guidance around how large festivals could be held safely from June 21.

Carl Smith, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “While it’s sad, we hope most people will understand that planning, promoting and delivering a great festival of this size takes a certain amount of lead time.

Great Yarmouth Wheels Festival takes place on Saturday July 6 and Sunday July 7. Picture: Great Yarm

A lowrider displayed at the 2018 Wheels festival. - Credit: Archant

“The landscape for festival planning has been very uncertain over this last year and remains so for the biggest events as we await the outcomes and guidance from the Government’s event pilots.

“Wheels delivers well for visitors and the local economy because it is un-ticketed and unenclosed, with the whole seafront being the event space and people moving around freely between the exhibits and businesses."

Mr Smith has said it would be better to plan ahead for 2022, so the festival can return "full-throttle", rather than going ahead with the festival this summer at short notice.

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Wheels co-founder Michael Cole, of Joyland and the American Diner, said: “The covid situation unfortunately means there simply isn’t enough time or certainty for planning an event of this magnitude for the summer, and if we tried then it wouldn’t look like Wheels, wouldn’t be as large or enjoyable, or bring the benefits for business and the resort.

The Great Yarmouth Wheels Festival 2015. The Nemesis, the UKs fastest electric car. Picture: James

The Nemesis, one of the UKs fastest electric cars, displayed at the 2015 Wheels festival. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

“Wheels will return, bigger and better, in 2022. But for 2021, Joyland and the American Diner are working with the East Coast Pirates car enthusiasts to bring covid-safe car meet ups every first and third Sunday of each month throughout the summer, as well as special events on July 4 and September 4 and 5. So there is still plenty to look forward to, both this year and next.”