Rhythm of the 90s could be barred from popular Portsmouth site

Crowds enjoy Rhythm of the 90s
Crowds enjoy Rhythm of the 90s
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  • Council report says group pulled in too many punters to Castle Field and put a strain on policing
  • Group’s promoter says the move would be a shame but admitted Rhythm of the 90s’ time in Portsmouth had ‘run its course’
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POPULAR music act Rhythm of the 90s could be barred from Portsmouth’s Bandstand season – because they attract too many fans.

Proposals by Portsmouth City Council could see the ’90s tribute act being pulled from future free events at Castle Field, in Southsea.

Despite the event being well organised and run, after the event there were a number of incidents that impacted heavily on policing resources both immediately and for the rest of the evening.

Report by Stephen Baily, director of culture and city development

Past gigs by the group at the seaside site managed to pull bumper crowds of revellers in excess of 10,000.

Now councillors sitting on the city authority’s culture, leisure and sport committee will be charged with determining the fate of the popular show.

Stephen Baily, director of culture and city development, claimed the event attracted too many people and placed a ‘heavy’ strain on policing.

In a report, he wrote: ‘Whilst overall this concert was good it did attract approximately 10,000 people to the event at its peak and as such this type of event does not fit in with the wider ethos of the Bandstand programme which is to appeal to a family audience with low levels of alcohol at the event and an audience capacity for the site of 8,000.

‘Despite the event being well-organised and run, after the event there were a number of incidents that impacted heavily on policing resources both immediately and for the rest of the evening.’

The band has been part of both Mutiny and Victorious Festivals, as well as having further ticketed events at the Pyramids Centre. However, the report continued: ‘It is felt that whilst this band is popular there are plenty of opportunities to see them play locally without the need for a free showcase event on Castle Field and that, going forward, opportunities should be given to other local bands within the context of the Live at the Bandstand programme.’

Nick Courtney, who promotes the group, said he was ‘unaware’ of the plan.

He hit out at the council’s claims that the free event had piled pressure on policing resource in the city.

‘It was a fantastic event and I wasn’t aware of any major incidents at all at that event,’ Mr Courtney added.

The promoter said the band had no intention of performing in the city this year as they were on their UK tour.

He said: ‘It would be a shame if Rhythm of the 90s couldn’t perform there any more.

‘But as far as I’m concerned Rhythm of the 90s has run its course in Portsmouth.’

Councillor Linda Symes, the city’s leisure and culture boss, said no decision had been made.

But she said the current site was ‘at a tipping point’.

Cllr Symes said: ‘It was a really popular event.

‘I am not keen to prevent it happening.

‘But at its current site it is at a tipping point.’

She added a new performance venue could be found elsewhere in the city.

The council committee meeting is on Friday.