AIRFEST 2018 – 3 days of Airsoft & Party Heaven.
The last weekend in July saw NPF Airsoft in Birmingham host their 2nd “AIRFEST” Event. For many in the combat sports world NPF Bassetts Pole has always been synonymous as one of the largest and longest established paintballing and combat sports venues in the UK and over the last two years Airsoft has become another main part of their arsenal. With huge investment made into game areas and scenario maps the venue itself offers a vast array of installations, woodland and cqb areas with movie-set style gameplay adding to the realism.
Early 2017 saw Ged and the team at NPF Airsoft meet up with the guys that run the airsoft club Fireball Squadron – operating at NPF for the best part of 20 years. The idea?? To bring AIRFEST to life as part of the long running and already established PAINTFEST event which was already 8 years in at this point. The idea of bringing together the two combat sports communities into one huge weekender event made complete sense and offered the chance to really showcase the venue and this fantastic Airsoft festival from all over the UK and Europe. The combination of Fireball airsoft zones and gameplay across areas of the 170 acre NPF site meant there was huge potential to deliver fantastic gameplay …and so AIRFEST was born!!
After it’s inaugural year in 2017, this year saw AIRFEST Airsoft festival standing on it’s own two feet – fully branded, represented and firmly in place to welcome airsofters to an event like no other. AIRFEST not only offers players the opportunity to play some unique game areas over 3 solid days but also to enjoy the massive social aspect of this weekend event. A true combat sports event combining the airsoft weekender with three days of camping, specialist trade expo, cinema night plus the festival players party with full stage and PA, bar and entertainment all included in the ticket price. After great feedback from players and industry after the first year NPF were keen to build the AIRFEST brand.
Diamond Wars – Airfest Airsoft Festival
The main feature game of the festival is the “DIAMOND WARS” – a themed mission based scenario that has been running at NPF for the past decade! One of the UK’s longest standing scenarios was now also part of the AIRFEST gameplay giving airsofters the one chance each year to play this legendary scenario and experience the almost tribal love affair that players have with the Diamond Wars story!
“Set in the fictional country of the “Corimbe” – two powerful corporations the HMC ( Hoffman Minex Corporation ) and the USDE ( United States Diamond Exports ) battle across territories to control mining rights to the country’s rich diamond ore seams. Corruption, sabotage and civil unrest are rife – with a powerful greedy government in place, the two corporations not only have to battle with each other but also with those that run the land and the people for whom the Corimbe is their homeland. Diamond Wars is an epic battle campaign for diamonds, money, success and ultimate power.”
Playing as either HMC ( reds ) or USDE ( blues ) Airfest players were able to become part of this epic struggle for power and with all mission objective points counting towards the overall event scores every shot counted. With full command teams for both squads, some amazing props and excellent missions written by the Fireball team – AIRFEST players soon became part of the ongoing Diamond Wars legend.
With a huge infrastructure in place turning the beautiful showground at NPF into the Airsoft festival site, players were able to arrive from Thursday afternoon and Friday morning to set up camp in the reserved AIRFEST zone. The fabulous hot summer weather leading up to the weekend meant that many players opted to camp and the area was buzzing as they got set up and settled for the weekend – with an excited air of anticipation as to what they may expect! AIRFEST also offered the option to go “posh” for the weekend with players able to pre-book “glamping” tents…classic canvas bell tents pre-kitted with beds, bedding and lighting in a private paddock, these proved popular with a few who travelled and that preferred the option of travelling light! Again the glamping area – available to both PAINTFEST and AIRFEST players meant that the two communities came together with a fantastic vibe with players from both sides of the fence quickly making great friends and socialising for the weekend.
Friday of course was a big arrivals day with players arriving from 7am to set up and take a walk around the festival area itself. AIRFEST / PAINTFEST is supported with a large trade expo and sees some of the leading brands in combat sports represented across the three days. This year AIRFEST welcomed back Phil and the team from J.D. Sports in Cannock who attended the launch of the event back in 2017. With 10 years of experience and expertise under their belt and being so close to the venue NPF were only too pleased to get the JD team back onboard and represented again at this year’s event. Trade at their booth was busy with Phil and the guys making some great sales, showcasing all the latest gear but also providing great technical support to anyone needing advice on their equipment. EG Grenade company also headlined again as a main sponsor of the event and were on site to showcase their pyro gear and merchandise plus stands for headline sponsors Valken and Tippmann were also keen to show off their airsoft gear and equipment.
Friday lunchtime and it was kick off time! Martin and the Fireball team who wrote and ran the gameplay and scenarios for the weekend have been involved in airsoft for 20+ years – they are an enthusiastic and knowledgeable team that worked hard in the months leading up to the event to get the playing areas at their peak – installing new buildings and improving the staging areas ready for the AIRFEST event. The large turnout of players ready to get stuck in by Friday afternoon was fantastic to see. Players had travelled from far and wide to attend – a huge crew from Scotland made the trip to the event this year after hearing of it’s initial success in 2017. The clansmen of the Highland Hellhounds, Bowl Town Cartel and Scrub Army combined forces led by Dave “Taz” Bradley , made the long journey from Inverness where they play regularly at Tazball Airsoft. Games on Friday were designed to give new players the chance to get to know the layout of the site and scenarios and to give regulars chance to size up the abilities of the ‘visitors’.
One of the main highlights of the AIRFEST weekend is the Saturday evening players party – each year the festival event has an overall theme and 2018 with it’s scorching Summer took players to the South Pacific with a Hawaiian Lu’AU vibe! Every player and visitor in attendance at the event was greeted with a traditional Hawaiian Lei at registration and with players sporting the best in garish Hawaiian shirts the players party proved to be a colourful affair!! Ticket prices for AIRFEST include entrance to all activities over the weekend as well as party entry with all drinks from the bar included at no extra cost! The party again saw everyone from both playing genres mixing together and enjoying the fun games, tug-o-war, HMC and USDE commanders rally, awards and live sets from DJ’s and dancers. Unfortunately ..the rain gods descended on the party with the first downpour for about 6 weeks…but spirits were not dampened as players donned free ponchos and continued to party on till midnight!
Dave “Taz” Bradley said….I have commanded Big Games all over the UK and Europe and have to say Airfest 2018 is definitely the Event to put in your calendar for 2019….Top staff, Good safety , great fields and a party full of fun, beer and laughter….the event not to be missed next year!! Over and Out ..Taz
And so – all attention and thoughts turn to the next AIRFEST event!! With plans already forging ahead keep up to date with the next event launch at www.facebook.com/airfest.
Why not visit NPF for your next Skirmish – we hold skirmishes on the second Sunday of every month!
Tel: 0121 323 1000
So…grab your loadout, surfboards, sunnies, coconut bikinis and smiles! We’ll bring the sunshine😊…Airfest 2018 is here!!