GosportHeritageNewsTop StoriesWhat's On

Residents invited to 2024 Gosport Marine Festival

By Ron Gordon

LOCAL RESIDENTS have been invited to attend the 2024 Gosport Marine Festival as organisers confirmed it will take place on May 18 (Saturday); marking the Whitsun weekend and offering a chance for some family fun before the school half term holidays one week later.

The event will be held on the Gosport Waterfront and remains entirely free for all to attend, which is thanks to the support of key partners such as Gosport Borough Council, Hampshire County Council and Haslar Marina (Boatfolk Marinas). It is set to last for one day and aims to make the most of the town’s marine location, as well as its heritage and culture.

A fun day of activities, entertainment and market exhibitors is advertised throughout the day, with water-sports set to be particularly popular. Visitors will be able to experience free ‘have-a-go’ sessions for sailing, kayaking and paddle-boarding led by professional instructors with all equipment; although they must be five or older. These activities will be centred around the Cockle Pond boating lake in Walpole Park; the organisers thanking GoSport Activity Centre, Stokes Bay Sailing Club and notably the Andrew Simpson Foundation for their support.

Additional activities are planned back on dry land such as climbing walls, axe-throwing, archery and bouncy castles. This is being supported by local organisations including the Sea Cadets, Gosport Scouts, and a multitude of others. Meanwhile live music, food and drink is due to be located around the Millennium Timespace performance area; offering brilliant views over Portsmouth Harbour and Spinnaker Tower / Gunwharf.  Festivities can extend into the evening to allow all participants to celebrate in the success of the day; but only if weather conditions persist.

And the action won’t stop there with Haslar Marina set to host an open day; which will allow people to explore a range of vessels on static display. This represents a unique opportunity to get down onto the pontoons or view from the Gosport Millennium Pier; extending out into Portsmouth Harbour to the Lightship (an iconic landmark on the Solent).

There will finally be the opportunity to explore an exhibition, market stalls and an art show; which is due to be held within Trinity Church and the surrounding green. Community traders and local artists are attending to provide visitors with a chance to learn about what the coming season will bring in supporting entrepreneurship / crafts, as linking us to Gosport’s marine heritage and culture.

Festival Chair, Nick Van de Weyer, Chair of Gosport Marine Festival said about the upcoming 2024 occasion: “Our festival has a long history which must be recognised but I am immensely proud of my current team for helping it to continue to grow and become an annual fixture in the calendar.

He continued to say: “The people that deliver the festival are all passionate locals who volunteer their time and resources for the good of our community. Our goal remains opening the door to those who may not have the opportunity by providing access to marine activities, heritage and organisations located our amazingly rich borough and surrounding area.”

Gosport MP, Dame Caroline Dinenage, outlined her support for the event as she added: “Gosport Marine Festival has been playing a key role in our area for over a decade. Hundreds of young people, families and those with accessibility concerns are able to take part in the water sports and marine related activities – many for the first time and entirely free of charge.”

“Community organisations, businesses and volunteers come together in a celebration of our culture, heritage and the opportunities we are so lucky to have here. I ask you to please join me in supporting the festival in whatever way you can.”

Readers can explore gosportmarinefestival.uk for more information about the event, including being aware of all updates and opportunities to get involved.

PICTURED BY MAX MUDIE: Visitors enjoy free water-sports sessions at previous edition of Gosport Marine Festival.