Royal Ascot 2017: Organizers reveal new 'contemporary' enclosure

Story highlights

  • New enclosure added to Royal Ascot 2017
  • Live music and street food will feature
  • Formal ethos of the races remains the same

(CNN)Royal Ascot, one of the biggest sporting and social occasions of the British summer, is getting a makeover.

For the first time in more than 100 years, the annual five-day horse racing meet attended by Queen Elizabeth II is adding a new enclosure.
The "Village Enclosure" will be situated on the inside of the race track opposite the grandstand hosting live music, DJs, exclusive parties, pop-up food stalls and cocktail bars.
    The new facility, which will compliment the traditional Royal, Queen Anne and Windsor enclosures, will be open for the final three days of Ascot's centerpiece event that runs from June 20-24 this year.
    "Placed in a prime position for the thrilling final furlong on the inside of the track, the enclosure celebrates contemporary British summertime with al fresco eateries, creative bars, live music throughout the day," Ascot's commercial director Juliet Slot said in a statement.
    At last year's Royal Ascot, bookies favorite Ryan Moore rode Highland Reel to victory in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, with Her Majesty's horse -- not victorious since 1954 -- finishing third.

    'Not a festival'

    Ascot Racecourse was founded in 1711 and enjoys strong connections with the British royal family, situated a short distance from the historic Windsor Castle.
    The Village Enclosure appears to target a younger generation, but organizers have been quick to allay any fears Royal Ascot's famed decorum will be affected.
    The same formal dress code will be applied and the atmosphere will be in keeping with past events, director of racing and communications Nick Smith ensures.
    "This is not a festival per se -- it's nothing like that," Smith told CNN. "There's only 4,500 people going in, and the entertainment is there to support the racing and not the other way around.
    "It is specifically designed to have a different feel, but there's music at Royal Ascot all around the site anyway. It's not new. We've had a night club effectively operating the Royal Enclosure for younger members on Saturday nights for years.
    "This will be a slightly more formalized list of acts that will play in the facility. We are selling the facility as a racecourse and a racing facility with a racing focus but with a right mix of atmosphere provided by music that works.
    "Any ideas that there'll be music blaring over the track whilst horse racing is going on, or that the look and feel of what Royal Ascot is and what's so special about it is going to change is fundamentally not the case."