Tractor Fest 2023; the UK’s biggest and best!

Posted by Chris Graham on 19th July 2023

Chris Graham reports from Tractor Fest, where thousands of enthusiasts gathered for the UK’s greatest tractor event.

Tractor Fest

Tractor Fest 2023: A Thompson’s original-condition, 1956 Massey Ferguson 35 narrow.

Tractor Fest 2023, held at the picturesque Newby Hall, was a grand celebration of the UK’s rich agricultural heritage, and brought together enthusiasts, farmers, families, and industry professionals over the weekend of June 10/11th. Offering the usual array of activities, exhibits and live demonstrations, Tractor Fest 2023 yet again delivered a fantastic experience for attendees and exhibitors alike.

Tractor Fest

I Thornton’s 1995 Massey Ferguson 3085 parading in the arena.

With just over 850 tractors listed in the programme, there’s no question that this is a not-to-be-missed spectacle; it truly was a wide-ranging celebration of tractors of all sorts. The headline celebration this year marked 100 years of the John Deere model D, but there was also a very interesting display of assorted, Perkins-engined machinery. 

Tractor Fest

P Atkinson’s immaculate-looking 1974 MF 1200 made an impressive sight in the main arena.

While the show programme strangely omitted an arena events listing, and some of the parades around the ring were a little lacking in terms of vehicle numbers, it was good to see Ian Swallow once again delivering an informative and entertaining commentary as tractors and other assorted vehicles paraded around the arena. Perhaps a showground tannoy system might help rouse drivers when they and their machines are needed in the ring.  

Tractor Fest

A classic trio enjoying the sun at Newby Hall; (left to right) P Thomas’ 1994 MF 3080, P Jackson’s 1991 MF 3645 and D Shepherd’s 1976 MF 1200.

Here’s a selection of some of the Ferguson and Massey Ferguson machines that caught my eye at this great event.

Tractor Fest

A pair of MF 185s: Ryan Atkinson’s 1975 model, which is to be restored later this year in the foreground, and Steve Atkinson’s example that also dates from 1975 and, so far, has had power steering fitted and an engine rebuild.


Tractor Fest

It was Ferguson models galore on The Ferguson Club’s show stand.


Tractor Fest

There was a great variety of Ferguson and Massey Ferguson tractors for visitors to enjoy on the Friends of Ferguson Heritage club’s stand.


Tractor Fest

This was an interesting machine I spotted on the Ferguson Club stand. It’s a 1947 TE-20 that’s thought to have been converted by Lenfield, in Kent, for vineyard work, and has also been fitted with a Perkins P3 diesel engine from the early 1950s.


Tractor Fest

A rarity on the Friends of Ferguson Heritage stand was this Ferguson Dunkum Digger, dating from 1950 and belonging to N Roberts.


Tractor Fest

Virtually every Ferguson FE 35 Grey and Gold you see at shows these days is finished in a different shade of gold paint. The colour chosen for R Pickard’s 1965 example looks darker than many I’ve seen.


Here’s a very smart-looking MF 135 making the rounds in the Newby Hall arena. It’s owned by D&A Hammond, and was built in 1967.


D Rand’s immaculate looking, 1951 Ferguson TE-D 20 attracted many admiring glances as it paraded in the main arena.


P Donaldson’s 1958 Massey Ferguson 35 parked next to a very well turned out travelling van.


While we’re all in favour of getting the next generation of tractor enthusiasts interested at an early age, I’m not sure that this nipper was particularly enjoying the experience!


B Chadwick’s 1961 MF 40 Industrial (and K Mitchell’s 1965 MF 2135 just visible behind), provided a much appreciated splash of yellow in what was a sea of red on the Friends of Ferguson Heritage stand.


A hay-making demonstration in the working area attracted a lot of attention.


It was great to see a period baler working in the heat…


… and producing the sort of bales that many of us remember from our childhoods.


A Wade explains all about the history of his 1954 Ferguson TE-F 20 to the audience around the main arena, while, on the right, M Hewson gathers his thoughts for the interview with event commentator Ian Swallow, aboard his attractively-patinaed 1950 Ferguson TE-20.


It was good to see a smattering of more modern classics at Tractor Fest, including O Tootbell’s very presentable, 1991 Massey Ferguson 3070.

This report comes from the latest issue of Classic Massey & Ferguson Enthusiast, and you can get a money-saving subscription to this magazine simply by clicking HERE

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