Goodwood festival week really WILL be Glorious

Glorious Goodwood is set to live up to its name like never before after the government gave the go-ahead for full-capacity crowds.

Goodwood will welcome back big crowds during Qatar Festival week / Picture: Malcolm Wells
Goodwood will welcome back big crowds during Qatar Festival week / Picture: Malcolm Wells

There’s been a spike in ticket sales for the five-day Qatar-sponsored festival – which runs from July 27 to 31 – since PM Boris Johnson announced limits on sporting crowds would end next Monday.

It signals that racing fans are desperate to see the Qatar Goodwood Festival action after being kept away because of the pandemic last year.

Racecourse director Jon Barnett said it was all systems go and the site was a hive of activity as staff readied things – with the opening day of Glorious just 12 days from now.

He said they’d be working hard to make sure racegoers and staff all felt safe with restrictions being lifted but with Covid-19 cases still very much in evidence.

People may be asked to wear facemasks in some indoor areas and would be asked to exercise common-sense and consideration for others at all times.

Ticket sales suggest the week is going to be even busier than a ‘normal’ Glorious week, when crowds of around 12,000 or 13,000 on the first two days increase to 20 to 25,000 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Barnett told the Observer: “We could be looking at two or even three sell-outs at the end of the week. And even Tuesday and Wednesday, which see the Goodwood Cup and Sussex Stakes, could well be busier than usual too.

“We’ve taken a prudent approach all year – we’ve planned for capacity crowds but hadn’t released tickets for 100 per cent capacity.

“Now we have released more, there has been a real pick-up, a spike. It’s great to see and if the Festival of Speed is anything to go by, people are spending more on-site too.”

Last year, all five days of Glorious were held behind closed doors and could be watched only on TV. A plan to allow 5,000 into the final day was scuppered at the last minute by a government U-turn on crowds being allowed back to big events.

Also returning this year – along with the crowds – are features like the ladies’ Magnolia Cup charity race, Lord’s Taverner’s cricket match and race week ball.

And Barnett said there’d be a whole new range of food and drink outlets and musical entertainment across the different enclosures.

Get all the Glorious Goodwood latest on this website in the build-up to the festival