Swapping instruments for oars at boat races

Action from last year's Dragon Boat Festival at 1000 Lakeside
Action from last year's Dragon Boat Festival at 1000 Lakeside
Bay House School classroom assistant Susie Lees with Emily Sparshott, who will be going to the University of Winchester
Picture: Neil Marshall (171028-14)

Great A-level results see Fareham and Gosport achievers off to follow their dreams

  • Dragon Boat Festival takes place this weekend at Lakeside
  • More than 30 teams are due to take part
  • Event was delayed from May due to an algae bloom
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ONE team taking part in the Dragon Boat Festival this weekend might be caught blinking in the sunlight, as they’re more used to operating at night.

Beats & Swing, the music promoters, have put together a team of local musicians and DJs to raise money for Tonic Music for Mental Health, a Portsmouth-based charity, for this year’s festival.

It wasn’t too difficult getting a motley crew of reprobates together for it, but we have done absolutely no training

Luke Fuller of Beats and Swing

They will be one of more than 30 teams expected to take to the water at 1000 Lakeside in North Harbour over the weekend, with each team raising money for a chosen charity.

Luke Fuller, of Beats & Swing, said: ‘Steph from Tonic suggested this to me and it seemed like a good idea.

‘I got together a big team of acts and DJs who play for us, and they were well up for it.

‘It wasn’t too difficult getting a motley crew of reprobates together for it, but we have done absolutely no training.’ Despite the lack of preparation, they have already raised more than £1,000, including £500 from Jobsite, one of the team’s employers.

Team members include the Monkeylove Stunt Team, Chris Vaux, Big Child Man Child, and Kassassin Street drummer Nathan Hill keeping time for them.

With the weather forecast looking good, the team behind the event, which is now in its 11th year, are hoping for a bumper weekend.

Carol Jenkinson, from the Rotary Club of Southsea Castle and the festival’s organising committee, said: ‘Everything’s definitely going ahead.’

The festival was originally scheduled for May, but had to be postponed after an unusually warm April sparked a bloom of blue-green algae.

Recent tests show the algae at 1000 Lakeside is now at a safe level for racing to take place.

‘The thing to remember is that it’s the charities that win – they’re the ones who get the money,’ said Carol.

‘It’s great to do that in a fun way, but some teams are more competitive than others.’

As well as the racing there’s plenty of other things happening on dry land to keep people entertained, including a children’s play area, laser quest, sports activities, food stalls and tents from the charities who are being represented.

‘It’s a fun family day out,’ added Carol. ‘We just ask that people don’t fall in the water.’

The event takes place tomorrow and Sunday, with racing due to start at 10am. Entry for spectators is free.