Drakefest is rocking out to raise vital cash for many good causes

WIGGLE The Just Dandys belly dancing group with Claire Smith at the front. Picture: Paul Jacobs (131906-1)
WIGGLE The Just Dandys belly dancing group with Claire Smith at the front. Picture: Paul Jacobs (131906-1)
An aerial view of the Solent airfield. Picture by Shaun Roster

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IT is the event that truly rocks every year, and this year’s Drakefest has been no exception.

Around 1,500 were expected to have passed through the Admiral Tavern’s gates over the weekend – up to the pub’s capacity.

Music lovers and festival-goers were all there for Drakefest, partying in the sunshine in the Kingston Crescent pub’s front forecourt.

It has been run for the past six years by Simon and Karen Hughes, the pub’s landlord and landlady, and originally started after one of their regulars, Mandy Sharpe-Davies, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Drakefest was the result, and has been raising money for Breast Cancer Care and Macmillan nurses – as well as a number of other charities – ever since.

Simon said: ‘We started small, and it just grew and grew. Last year we had to introduce the fencing and the ticket prices, it’s got so big.’

Around 20 bands and acts played on the Drakefest stage from Friday night to yesterday evening, never faltering and keeping the party atmosphere going. Food and beer stalls were hubs of activity, and clothing and accessory stalls proved popular. Most, though, were just happy to watch some of the 20 acts on stage over the weekend, for whom Simon reserved special thanks.

He said: ‘I would like to thank all the bands and artists who gave up their time for free. Not one of them got any money from doing this, and they’ve given up their valuable time for us.

‘We’d like to also thank everyone for coming and supporting us – all we need to do is get enough money to pay for the fencing and the security and the rest goes to charity.

‘This is a family, a community event, and that’s what we wanted it to be.’ Two of those who were working on a stall over the weekend were Mark Willis, from Fareham, and his friend, known by the moniker of Fingers, who has run a clothing stall at the festival for two years now.

Mr Willis said: ‘It’s such a great weekend, we meet different people, it’s great fun and it’s great to raise money for the charities.’

One of the highlights of the event was a rideout of motorbikes and scooters, all roaring round the Rudmore Roundabout.

It is not yet known how much this year’s event has raised for the Cure RETT, Children’s Diabetes Ward QAH and Cystic Fibrosis Ward Southampton Hospital.