A LOCAL business is putting forward thousands of pounds to ensure a popular seafront kite festival continues.
Portsmouth International Kite Festival has landed £8,000 in sponsorship from vehicle retailer Unbeatable Car, in Anchorage Road.
We don’t want to cut anything and we think things culturally like the kite festival, which has a culture of its own, are important to the city.Tory culture, leisure and sport boss Linda Symes
The city council normally has to pay up to £25,000 to cover the cost of the annual event on Southsea Common and the company’s contribution will go towards running costs.
The free festival will be held on August 15-16 this year, as opposed to over the August bank holiday weekend to avoid clashing with Victorious Festival, which is taking up more space as it becomes even more of a success.
Tory cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport Linda Symes said: ‘The company has stepped forward and offered sponsorship, which is great news. We have got to find £11m worth of savings this year. When looking at the size of our budget, we have to make a considerable saving.
‘We don’t want to cut anything and we think things culturally like the kite festival, which has a culture of its own, are important to the city.’
Festival organiser Jon Bloom had feared last year that the council was going to pull all its funding by 2016, the year of its 25th anniversary.
It comes despite concerns being raised over the future of Portsmouth’s museums – with Lib Dem culture spokesman Lee Hunt calling for a strategy to combat declining visitor numbers.
Southsea Castle had 24,068 fewer visits and Portsmouth Museum were down by 20,037 between 2014/2015.
The theme for this year’s kite festival is ‘myth and fantasy’ and crowds will be able to enjoy all the action for free, with spectacular kites, flying demonstrations and a range of other attractions on offer over the weekend.
It takes place from 10am to 5pm each day, with an array of kites on sale as well as kite workshops.
Unbeatable Car managing director Mark Sopp said: ‘We are really proud to be sponsoring the kite festival. It’s a real way of getting involved in local events which the community can enjoy.
‘This event is very popular and an institution in Portsmouth, which makes it a perfect fit with our aims.’