It rained on the Southsea Carnival parade – but the bands played on

DAMP Portsmouth Lions Club member Dave Oxford, 77, and Megan Leng, 22, from Aquacars pictured with members of the Wondergirls Pom Pom Troupe from Bognor Regis at Lumps Fort car park, Southsea just after the parade was cancelled.    Picture: Michael Scaddan (112516-0007)
DAMP Portsmouth Lions Club member Dave Oxford, 77, and Megan Leng, 22, from Aquacars pictured with members of the Wondergirls Pom Pom Troupe from Bognor Regis at Lumps Fort car park, Southsea just after the parade was cancelled. Picture: Michael Scaddan (112516-0007)
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IT MAY have rained on their parade but the bands played on as Southsea Carnival organisers made the best of terrible weather.

Torrential showers and fog put a halt to Saturday’s procession and to outdoor fun on Southsea Common.

ON STAGE Mojo Dollar at the festival Picture: Sarah Standing (112535-3539)

ON STAGE Mojo Dollar at the festival Picture: Sarah Standing (112535-3539)

But the bands which were scheduled to bring live music to the festival took the celebrations indoors as they played instead at the Royal Marine Artillery Tavern in Cromwell Road, Eastney.

Over the weekend, 21 bands from across Hampshire fought it out in the carnival’s battle of the bands competition, which continued late into last night.

They didn’t quite have the audience of thousands who were expected to see the acts perform on the common.

But the musicians made the best of it and rocked the venue.

Brighton acoustic duo Laura Day, Portsmouth ska-outfit Skaraman, Kill Kasper and Big Brother Soul kicked the weekend off with performances on Saturday.

Katharine Parker, 30, from Southampton, travelled to see the carnival’s live music.

She said: ‘It’s such a shame the weather has put a stop to the carnival, but I’m really glad the live music still went ahead.

‘There’s some fantastic local bands here and the RMA is a great venue for them to play in. It’s got a fantastic atmosphere.’

Carol Sharp, 42, from Southsea, said: ‘The bands have been fantastic and it’s really lifted the day.

‘It hasn’t got the same capacity as the waterfront but the atmosphere is really special.’

More than 2,000 people were predicted to flock to Southsea Carnival on Saturday, which would have included a procession of space-themed floats and a presentation of the carnival queen.

Festival organiser Nick Courtney announced through the event’s official Facebook page on Saturday morning that the carnival had been cancelled due to bad weather.

He said: ‘I’m absolutely gutted because of the amount of work we had all put into this.

‘We had ever so many people who were going to be coming today and we’ve had to tell them to go home.

‘It’s a complete washout.’

This year’s carnival queen Su Machin arrived on Saturday to begin her procession from Lumps Fort car park, near Canoe Lake, before parading on Southsea Common near Duisburg Way.

But the 44-year-old was left devastated as bad weather meant she couldn’t take pride of place at the head of the procession.

Su, 44, was picked by a panel of judges after people were asked to nominate candidates to become the face of Southsea Carnival. She won because of the love and passion she had shown for Portsmouth.

Su said: ‘I’m really gutted but more so for the young families and children who have missed out on a lovely day. It’s upsetting and a real shame that the weather ruined it for everyone.’

Employees from taxi firm Aqua Cars had built a space shuttle float and dressed up as Nasa astronauts. The team of 20 had spent over four months preparing for the day.

Bruce Hall, 48, general manager, said: ‘Everyone feels incredibly deflated. We had put in an incredible amount of effort and were looking forward to spending the day with people on the seafront having a great time. Now we’ll just have to strip the space float down and we’ve made it all for nothing.’