First night of festival draws huge crowds

Runners on Clarence Esplanade

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THE first night of Gosport’s Waterfront Festival drew huge crowds to see rockers T-Rex in action.

Organisers are now predicting sold-out crowds over the weekend after more than 3,000 people packed Walpole Park last night.

Thousands more are expected to see Chas Hodges, of Chas and Dave, and Pink Floyd tribute band Perfect Alibi on Saturday night, before Toploader take the stage on Sunday to give the weekend its big climax.

Opening the evening the Mayor of Gosport, Cllr Chris Carter, praised the sponsors and supporters who had made the festival possible.

Doubts were cast over the annual gathering’s future after Gosport Borough Council axed its £30,000 funding earlier this year.

But thanks to help from local businesses and a loan from the council the popular highlight in the area’s calendar went ahead.

The leader of Gosort Borough Council, Cllr Mark Hook, said: ‘This is really the very first community festival and it’s off to a great start.

‘The atmosphere was electric and the crowd loved seeing T-Rex put on a really energetic show.

‘There was music throughout the evening and everybody looked like they were having a great time.’

Cllr Hook admitted that despite the large turnout not everything had gone smoothly on the festival’s opening night.

He said: ‘Like the first night of any event we had a few gremlins in the systems to work out.

‘But any small problems with the sound equipment were quickly sorted long before the night’s headliners took the stage.’

He added that the big lesson from the evening was that coming early on the remaining two nights would be wise for members of the public.

‘We got more people than we expected tonight,’ he said. ‘But it was only the first night where crowds are normally smaller.

‘We are certainly predicting capacity crowds of 5,000 for the remaining two days.

‘So anyone who wants to see Toploader had better arrive early, because once we are full that’s it.’

The remaining two nights of the festival begin at 7pm and will cost £1 per person for entry.