CASTLE Howard has provided a stunning backdrop for this year's Yorkshire Balloon Fiesta, organisers say - and talks are already 'in the pipeline' about returning next year.

Despite rain and wind, which disrupted the four-day fiesta several times - most notably on Sunday - more than 22,000 people have attended the Fiesta over the course of the long bank holiday weekend.

That was well down on the 60,000 who attended the event at York's Knavesmire last year.

"But we are building a new venue," Mr Lowery said. "Castle Howard has been great as a venue and the house as a backdrop couldn't have been better."

York Press: A hot air balloon over Castle HowardA hot air balloon over Castle Howard (Image: Charlotte Graham)

So will the event return to Castle Howard next year?

"We have talks in the pipeline," Mr Lowery said.

After five years on Knavesmire in York, where it attracted more than 60,000 visitors, the Fiesta switched venues to Castle Howard this year.


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Organisers said the move was to 'increase capacity and expand further' although The Press understands there may also have been some concerns from the city council in York about loud music.

York Press: Sam Ryder on stage at the Yorkshire Balloon FiestaSam Ryder on stage at the Yorkshire Balloon Fiesta (Image: Yorkshire Balloon Fiesta)

The move to Castle Howard enabled the Fiesta to expand its music and events programme, however.

Apart from the balloons, of course, the highlight of this year's festival was Eurovision star Sam Ryder, who rocked a crowd of nearly 10,000 on Sunday night.

His rendition of Space Man coincided with a 'night glow', in which tethered balloons let off flares in time to the music.

York Press: The 'Night Glow' during Sam Ryder's rendition of Space ManThe 'Night Glow' during Sam Ryder's rendition of Space Man (Image: Yorkshire Balloon Fiesta/ milnerCreative)

"He really rocked the stage, and there was a great reaction!" said Mr Lowery.

Other big-name acts to appear across the weekend have included Sister Sledge, the Ministry of Sound, Joel Corry and dance troupe Diversity.

But it was the balloons which were the real stars of the show.

More than 40 balloons from across Europe were tethered in the grounds of the magnificent stately home throughout the long bank holiday weekend, from Friday through to Monday.

York Press: A balloon at Castle HowardA balloon at Castle Howard (Image: Yorkshire Balloon Fiesta/ milnerCreative)

And despite the worst efforts of the weather - which led to a balloon launch on Sunday afternoon being abandoned - they took part in several 'mass balloon' launches in the early morning and late afternoon.

They made for a breathtaking sight as they soared high in the sky above the magnificent stately pile, designed by John Vanbrugh and Nicholas Hawksmoor and built between 1699 and 1702.

York Press: Balloon over Castle Howard during the Yorkshire Balloon FiestaBalloon over Castle Howard during the Yorkshire Balloon Fiesta (Image: Charlotte Graham)

Another feature of the event was the 'night glows' in which tethered balloons let off flares late each evening to the sound of music, glowing against the gathering darkness.

Mr Lowery said he was pleased with the way the event had gone.

"We were very lucky with the weather - most of the time!" he said.

"It tended to go to either side of us, and people really enjoyed themselves.

"We had people coming from Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall we're really pleased."