Hangover from Love Albert Road hits street festival

Alex Graf, age 3, has his face painted at the Daisy Chain Festival by Sarah Godley, from Biscoes, who provided the face painting materials.
Alex Graf, age 3, has his face painted at the Daisy Chain Festival by Sarah Godley, from Biscoes, who provided the face painting materials.
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CONCERNS have been raised over the lack of interest from businesses in taking part in a family fun festival in Southsea.

The Daisy Chain Festival in Albert Road was set up so shops could do fun things for people who don’t normally visit the area.

But last Sunday’s event saw most of the activities, including gardening workshops, a flower hunt, quiz and plant pot painting, happening close to The King’s Theatre because traders at the other end of the road weren’t interested.

Shops say they were put off because troublemakers saw events in the past like Love Albert Road Day as an excuse to turn up and get drunk.

And they claim there was a lack of publicity and assumed the event, which is in its second year, was only open to businesses near the theatre.

Jenni Catlow, chairwoman of Albert Road Traders’ Association, which organised the festival, said: ‘There seems to be this belief that we only wanted to do things near to the theatre – which isn’t true.

‘In the end we had to put on most of the activities near there because of the lack of interest. It’s a real shame.

‘If we decide to run the festival again next year I would like to see shops be more proactive.

‘In this current economic climate you need to do different things in order to attract more people – even if it means opening up your business on a Sunday.

‘Flyers were sent out to everyone so we were keen to see as many people as possible get involved.

‘The festival was great – but it could have been much better with more support.’

Pam Newcombe, owner of Soft Furnishing Centre, in Albert Road, said: ‘It’s just a waste of time – most of the things that happen in Albert Road are up the opposite end to me.

‘Even if I had opened up my shop and put on activities no-one would have came.

‘I work nine until five every day of the week except Sunday – it’s the only time I get off and time is precious.’

Emma Kendall, who runs Haslemere Cycles with her partner Aram Tadevossian, said: ‘Love Albert Road Day used to cause a lot of problems so a lot of the traders felt hesitant about getting involved.

‘If someone had come around and given us assurances about this festival then we would have got involved.’

Alan Dolling, owner of New To You Bookshop, which traded in Albert Road for 21 years said: ‘I still visit friends who have businesses in Albert Road and not one of them mentioned there was a festival taking place.’