On the weekend of the 2nd September 2017, ASPUK and Camp Sparta in Kirton Lindsey hosted the very first Northern Airsoft show where retailers and booters came together to put on a show dedicated to all things airsoft. I am a big fan of airsoft boot shows!

Camp Sparta (formerly known as RAF Kirton) is a 31 acre FIBUA airsoft site that has 500 playable rooms along with in-game vehicles. The site itself is pretty epic, from the courtyard that houses large shipping containers to fight in and around, to the onsite vehicles that are scattered around the site to the buildings that tower over the internal roads of the site. It looks like something out of a zombie apocalypse movie after the virus has spread. It made a great backdrop for the show.

The day started at 7.30 for retailers, 9.30 for car booters and 10am for the public -  as Kirton Lindsey is a 2-hour drive from where I’m based in the East Midlands I left my house just after 8am. When I arrived on site I was warmly greeted by the marshals directing the cars in and I was told where to park. It is worth noting that the postcode on Google Maps doesn’t take you to the site itself, but rather a little village a 5 minute drive away so I did spend a good 10-15 minutes driving around trying to find the site – I feel like the organisers could eliminate this by signposting the event on the roads leading up to the site. There was however ample car parking space for all the cars on site that day and many more.

The on the door ticket price was £7, which is a little more expensive compared to the other airsoft shows that the community has seen but I feel for a day out (I was there from 10 to 4pm), it’s still pretty good value for money! Food isn’t included in the price but the onsite caterers were reasonably priced and had some good meal deal offers ranging from jacket potatoes to hot dogs.

As you walked from the car park to the show itself you were met with the sounds of airsoft guns being fired in the ranges, stalls everywhere and show goers buzzing around the stands waiting to get their hands on new shiny airsoft goodies! The show was set up around the safe zone/signing in building and the immediate ground around it which gave It a massive area to fill. The rooms inside the safe zone were packed with the tables of retailers showcasing their goods and there was a buzz of customers throughout the day. Retailers on the day included: Fubar Bundy Airsoft, Nuprol’s ‘Red Van Man’ Trent, AimCam showcasing their shooting glasses with a built in 4k camera, Valken Tactical, ASPUK and Sniper One exhibiting their made in Britain Sniper One tuning kits!, The Grange Live Gaming, Ammo Drop, DZC Tactical showing their custom made tactical kit and chest rigs, the Camp Sparta onsite shop, High Pressure Airsoft, QM Supplies and others so there really was something for everyone on the day, from sniping to practical pistol, the show had it covered.

Luckily enough the weather was absolutely glorious which meant that the outdoor area was buzzing with activity as well. The outdoor area held the two gun challenge that was run by The Mill Huddersfield Practical Shooting Club. Competitors went head to head with each other to hit the targets in place and the winner was named as the champion of the day! It was a fun task for punters to take part in and test their skills! There was also the chance to try out the new Sniper One tuning kit for the TM VSR endorsed by none other than Sgt. Dan Mills which was another cool activity for airsofters to give a go on the day! The outdoor area also held the car booters which had tables lined up with anything from RIFs to mags, sights and even rails of surplus kit. The great thing about airsoft boot fairs is that there’s always someone looking for what you’re selling, meaning these events are a great opportunity for airsofters to shift some kit and raise money for their next purchase!

The day was in support of the Pilgrim Bandits charity (who are also Airsoft Actions charity of choice!) who are an amazing bunch of guys who raise money for injured veterans and help them live life to the fullest once again – from sponsored skydives to walks up Snowdon the Pilgrim Bandits give our injured service personnel opportunities to look forward to. On the day there was a huge raffle in aid of The Pilgrim Bandits and the prizes included: Tasmanian Tiger Modular Pack worth £200, Tasmanian Tiger Roll Up Bag worth £48, 2 x Nuprol Day Packs worth £55, a pair of AimCam glasses worth over £200, a RIF by Valken worth over £120 and many more goodies including BBs, gas etc up for grabs and for £3 per strip it was affordable! There was also a collection on the day and promotional goods being sold in aid of the charity. At the time this write up went to print we were still waiting the total amount raised on the day! One thing I love about these events is that the airsoft community can come together to raise money for such worthy causes. 

When all is said and done, I had a really good time at the Northern Airsoft Show – it was great to catch up with everyone, check out the stands and what they had to offer and of course to meet so many of the airsoft community. My only criticism is that in hindsight, it was a little ‘over-hyped’ and there were retailers that were announced that did not attend which meant the show was smaller than anticipated. The day overall I felt was a success and the team did well to organise such an event, I’m definitely looking forward to the next Northern Airsoft Show. Next year I’d love to see it bigger and better than ever!

Hardwick, K. (2017). The First Northern Airsoft Show. Airsoft Action. 81 (December), 50-51.

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