A NEW family festival launched over the weekend has been hailed a stunning success after thousands of people flocked to join in the fun.
People from across Gosport took to Walpole Park, off Walpole Road, on Saturday to enjoy the town’s latest festival offering.
The 12-hour bonanza, called Walpole Park Music Madness and Family Fun Day, was the town’s first festival in two years since the controversial closure of Gosfest in 2015.
As well as featuring a host of stalls, charities and a funfair, the event also helped to showcase 10 of the area’s best local bands.
The day was staged to support Gosport Mayor Councillor Lynn Hook’s year-long fundraising appeal for three charities based in the town.
Malcolm Dent was the festival’s organiser, having been asked by Cllr Hook to start the event following on from the success of his annual dog shows in the park.
He was overwhelmed by the support for the day – which he said would become an annual event.
He said: ‘We only had a month to set this all up and I’m thrilled at how it’s all gone. It’s lovely to see something for Gosport.
‘There aren’t enough things in the town for the community to take part in.
‘Gosport has always had a festival, it’s a festival town. But for the past two years there’s been nothing.
‘So this is just a fresh start for Gosport’s festival scene. It will definitely become an annual thing.’
Patricia Leek, 35, of Gordon Road, Gosport, came with her six-year-old son Archie.
She said: ‘I’ve really missed not having a music festival in Gosport. It’s been really sad. But today has just been fantastic. There was such a chilled atmosphere – it was the perfect day.’
Charlie Reilly is the chief executive of the fledgling Gosport cause the Square Pegs Charity.
She ran a stall on the day to raise awareness of her charity and praised Malcolm for his support.
‘To be able to be here in the community is imperative,’ she said. ‘We get to show people that we’re not just a faceless social networking group but a living, breathing charity.’
The day is expected to raise at least £2,200 which will be split between the mayor’s three charities, Gosport Street Pastors, Gosport Kitbags & Berets and Marvels and Meltdowns.
Malcolm thanked all those who helped set up the event and sponsor it.