Entries are already being received from vehicle owners for next April’s South East Bus Festival at Kent Showground.

Although there are still six months to go before the event takes place on Saturday 6th April, eight entries have already been received and activity on the festival’s Facebook page is showing that there is a lot of interest building already.

The festival is the third in a series of events at the showground and the organisers hope that it will become an annual fixture in the bus rally season.

The previous two events celebrated the centenary of the formation of the erstwhile Maidstone & District company and the Diamond Jubilee of The M&D and East Kent Bus Club.

Both were held alongside the showground’s annual Heritage Transport Show and each attracted around 5,000 visitors.

The same mix of activities is planned for the bus festival, including a large gathering of buses and coaches from across the south east or beyond, frequent free bus rides around the showground, sales stands and displays of memorabilia, three guest speakers, slide shows and a reunion for former bus employees.

One of the organisers, Richard Lewis, said “We’re pleased that so much interest is already being shown in the South East Bus Festival and that vehicle entries are already being received. This shows that people enjoyed coming to our two previous events and that they want to get their vehicles booked in at an early opportunity.

“The festival is open to any buses and coaches and although we would expect most to come from the south east, those from farther afield are very welcome. The showground covers a vast area and is an ideal venue that allows people to ride in buses that might not otherwise be able to give rides!

“We hope to have a good mix of vehicle types and to include those that are currently in service with local operators. These will appeal to enthusiasts and professionals who have an interest in the current bus and coach scene and will show how things have changed over the years when compared to the preserved vheicles on display and giving rides.

“Three of the entries already received are from local operator Chalkwell Coaches of Sittingbourne and we hope that other operators will follow their example. The event will be a good opportunity for local companies to get together and to show off their latest vehicles to members of the public and to those with a more detailed interest in buses and coaches.”

Admission to the event will be £8 per person, except that under-12s will be admitted free and two free tickets will be allocated to each bus or coach entered. There will also be a pre-booking facility through the Kent Showground website, offering tickets at the reduced price of £5 per person. The admission tickets cover the South East Bus Festival, the Heritage Transport Show and as many free bus rides as people can manage during the day!

Details of the event can be found at www.facebook.com/southeastbusfestival, with relevant news being posted as and when it becomes available. Another website promoting the event will be announced shortly.

Contact has been made with those vehicle owners that attended the last two events but Vehicle Entry Forms can also be requested by writing to ‘South East Bus Festival’, 17 Ash Keys, Vigo Village, Gravesend, Kent, DA13 0SL (enclosing a stamped, addressed envelope) or by emailing rolyg@supanet.com.

Pictured at beginning of article: Maltese Bedford is expected to be a popular performer on the free bus service around the showground

Pictured: Free bus rides are expected to be popular

Pictured: Chalkwell Coaches of Sittingbourne have already entered three vehicles, including this Irizar PB which also attended this year’s ‘M&D and EK 60′ event