COMMENT: Bandstand event is a victim of its own success

Popular entertainment is a wonderful thing. The ability to attract a crowd, and then to please them, is the essence of showbusiness.

Saturday, 20th January 2018, 6:00 am

Gigs by the tribute band Rhythm of the 90s at Southsea certainly attracted a crowd.

A gig at Castle Field under the Live at the Bandstand banner of free summer events, saw more than 10,000 revellers having a wonderful time.

Nothing wrong with that, you may say. Live music at a free event in the open air at a seaside venue. Just what a vibrant, go-ahead resort like Southsea needs.

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But there is a problem. Rhythm of the 90s attracted a crowd bigger than could be accommodated at Southsea Bandstand itself and the event was moved to nearby Castle Field.

Stephen Baily, director of culture and city development, said it put a heavy strain on policing, with alcohol as a factor.

Far from being a spoilsport in advising that Rhythm of the 90s be pulled from future events, Mr Baily is right to imply that Live at the Bandstand has become a victim of its own success.

It started as a smaller-scale event with low-key acts, including a number of local bands, from across a wide musical spectrum.

The atmosphere was a Sunday afternoon musical picnic in the park rather than a full-scale music festival, which is what it became.

Live at the Bandstand should return to its roots.

There is no shortage of local talent to pull in and entertain a crowd.

If there is money in the budget, by all means put the occasional star name on the bill.

Entertainment does not have to be super-sized to be popular.