Netflix documentary brands War and Peace show ‘dark tourism’

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Organisers have leapt to the defence of a battlefield festival after claims made in a Netflix documentary.

The War and Peace Revival, a five day event of battle re-enactments and military fairs staged at The Hop Farm in Paddock Wood, was featured in the series Dark Tourist on the online streaming service.

Presenter David Farrier filmed at the 2017 edition for an episode that was recently broadcast. In other programmes he visited alternative and macabre holiday destinations, including places of natural disasters and nuclear testing sites.

Of The War and Peace Revival, he said: “Around 80,000 dark tourists come here every year to pretend to be soldiers from different wars, different sides and different times.

‘They don’t just come to watch. Many take a week off work just to hang out in the mud. I’m not sure that making a ghastly piece of history fun, is the best way to understand it, or avoid repeating it. It’s definitely not my idea of a holiday.’

The War and Peace Revival was held in July was held at The Hop Farm for the second time, after moving base from Folkestone. It marks battles such as those in the First and Second World War, as well as those in Vietnam and shall return in 2019 from July 23 to 27.

Organiser Steve Morgan said Farrier completed filming under a ‘working title’ and it was not known that footage would be used for Dark Tourist. He also responded to challenges from the presenter about participants wearing Nazi outfits.

‘It is all historical fact,’ Mr Morgan said of the show. ‘If you are going to show history you have got to show both sides of it.

‘For the same reason, in a historical film you see actors portraying both sides. It is educational and the acts here are incredible. It is a historical family event.’

Mr Morgan added he was not angry with the documentary and that the portrayal had been ‘edited’ to ‘fit the topic’.

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