Blink –  and you’ll miss it.  The Labour-controlled Penarth Town Council spent £986.36p on renting this roadside billboard to publicise its “Carnival Weekender” and Downhill Derby but it proved difficult to read from moving vehicles.

Penarth’s “Carnival Weekender” is now coming in for retrospective criticism from local residents for insufficient publicity and promotion, the decision to spread events over 3 days and for traffic congestion on Marine Parade.

The key criticism – a point echoed by many PDN commentators – was the apparent dearth  of public information about what was actually going on in the town.

Bunting appeared in Windsor Road a couple of weeks ago – but there were no banners promoting the Carnival and indeed nothing to indicate what the bunting was actually for

Some people pointed out that although bunting had appeared a couple of weeks ago across Windsor Road, there was no way of knowing what the flags were actually for. It’s being suggested that overhead street-banners could have better-promoted the so-called “Summer Season”, the Downhill Derby and the  “Carnival Weekender”.

The annual Summer Festival represents  significant expenditure for Penarth Council  . The  total amount of council-tax payers’ money budgeted for this year’s Summer Festival  was £31,700 – a figure which appears to include the time expended by council officers.

High-wire walker Ellis Grover of the “No-Fit-State Circus” stops for a breather, sitting on the tightrope above the sea, half way between the Esplanade and the end of Penarth Pier. Publicity about  about Mr Grover, his circus and his death-defying over-water walk was hard to find. (Photo by arrangement with Facebook contributor)

None of the advertisements which the council published specifically referred to the spectacular over-water high-wire act off Penarth Pier (which happened on Saturday) nor to the trapeze acts taking place on the pier itself the same day.

All that was mentioned was “Circus” ( “Syrcas” in Welsh) with no other detail of the acts involved . It was also claimed there was a lack of signage to the “Petting Zoo” set up at the Kymin.

The “Brain’s bridge” hoarding – one of two hoardings rented from Primesight –  needed a different format of poster to be legible

The council had booked an advertising hoarding adjacent to the Brain’s railway bridge on the main route into the town to promote the summer festival events. However the posters pasted on it however were difficult for passing motorists  – and other road users –  to read and were probably not ideally suited to the location.

The roadside advert – on a hoarding hired from Primesight – cost local council-tax payers £936.36p.

A service bus struggles to negotiate Marine Parade which was congested with vehicles parked on both sides of the road and had traffic coming in both directions. Some local residents suggested that parking should have been temporarily banned on at least one side of Marine Parade to ease congestion whilst the Esplanade was closed.

Another key problem  – which had been highlighted last year and returned again this year –  was the traffic congestion on Marine Parade .

Because of the closure of the Esplanade, visitors’ vehicles were parked on both sides of Marine Parade. However no one-way system was in operation. Traffic – including buses – were  having to squeeze through roadspace wide enough for only one vehicle at a time.

By common consent the Friday night fireworks display – by Pendragon Fireworks – was a huge success (Photos by Duncan McKellar)

The impressive fireworks display on Penarth Pier – by Pendragon Fireworks – was rated highly with local residents. This year’s display was budgeted at  £4,700.

However, members of the public who wanted to watch  the spectacular show from Penarth’s Headland Park on Friday evening  found the park was inaccessible, locked and barred.

Into the Ark performing on stage at the Italian Gardens on Penarth Esplanade on Friday night

The Friday night music stage show organised by Bethan Elfyn at the Italian Gardens proved to be a popular attraction and featured headline group Into the Ark.

Labour councillors were quick to take to social media to register paeans of praise for weekend’s events, but some local residents thought there had been an overall lack of a focus for the Summer Festival this year – and claimed the Esplanade had fewer stalls and attractions on it on Carnival Day than in previous years .



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Penarth Daily News email address dmj@newsnet.uk . Penarth Daily News is an independent free on-line fair and balanced news service published by NewsNet Ltd covering the town of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, UK. All our news items are based on the information we receive or discover at the time of publication and are published on the basis that they are accurate to the best of our knowledge and belief at that time. Comments posted on the site by commentators reflect their opinions and are not necessarily shared, endorsed or supported by Penarth Daily News.
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  1. Jan Harding says:

    We were lucky enough to see “No-Fit-State Circus” , they were all outstanding on the pier and if you missed the high wire act across the water you missed something very very special. We were very fortunate to have them entertain us. I really hope we have them return every year. The fireworks were as always spectacular.

    • Philip Rapier says:

      Shurely shome mishtake!
      Much of the previous years Budget Allocation had been eaten up by- or I should perhaps say– “drank up against the wall”– by the Vale for Picnic Penarth- aka -the Station Approach Real Ale Festival.
      The envious Vale- at Council Tax Payers Expense- were determined to “upstage” our Summer Festival and drain it of the resources so sadly lacking at the weekend.
      You cannot blame the Town Council as they can only spend on Publicity and Events what the Vale give them.
      Well done to our brilliant friends at No Fit State Circus for saving the day. World class entertainers from Wales!

  2. Julia says:

    Perhaps if the town council consulted and included all businesses, respond to emails and overall be more approachable and fair in their selection of those who participate, the said businesses who have proven to be successful in promotion, social media and overall have the ability to drive and bring custom to be Penarth, these local events would be more successful.

    There are businesses in Penarth who are successful owner managed and have the ability and the want to contribute. But are left out !

  3. whatsoccurin says:

    publicity is the key-go back to the “old days” of asking shopkeepers to put posters in their shops-“Balmoral” advertises near the Pier Pavilion-do the same!-I am sure Cardiff Bus would help with posters on the Penarth buses. When I am huffing up the zig-zag path I do think it would be a great addition to the trolley run-Health and Safety involved of course!

  4. Fishhenge says:

    What publicity?

  5. Grey local says:

    Walking along the seafront today I see the weeds are still there as are the bedraggled flags as they have been all during the past few months. Surely they could have been cleared for the “festival” such as it was. There was a lack of publicity no one I spoke to knew what was happening. Very few stalls on the seafront probably because of the large pitch and licence fees being charged (£50+£12.95) except for the mayors charities which weren’t charged. What happened to the food and drink stalls which were supposed to be there? A simple programme with a competition for children to do, inserted in the Penarth Times and/ or left in local shops would have solved the problem. I am sure a local shop or two would have donated a prize if asked. In addition health and safety seems to have flown out of the window. A tatty inflatable with insufficient crash mats had certainly seen better days. Customers were charged £3 each for the ” privilege ” of trying to hook a plastic duck. In these days of austerity a huge amount for a small child to be asked to pay. Congratulations to the circus people for their efforts . It’s a pity many people didn’t know they were there.

    • snoggerdog says:

      i think the council have knocked the weed killer spray man on the head this year,either that or somebodys going to use our street for a remake of the “omega man”.

  6. Itene says:

    Yet another disaster on advertising events in Penarth . Echos pavillion events and lack of advertising again. Is Penarth on a self destruct??? Circus people great. Why don’t the “organisers” of the summer events , take a leaf out of CHAPTER on how to succeed in advertising and organising events . Perhaps the PDN could help with advertising events .

  7. Ann Other says:

    Why isn’t it held on the open grassed area on the cliff top? Has anyone used it, actually, to play mini-golf recently?

  8. Jepow says:

    I had a poster in my shop, but still knew nothing of a petting zoo or the acrobatics. I also missed the fireworks because word was they were going to be on on both Friday and Saturday. Hopefully the council will put banners etc up in the town centre in future.

    It could also involve small businesses, although I know from experience that the regular trail of non-customers looking for favours, sponsorship, prizes, donations and window space for posters does get a bit much at times. People seem
    comfortable using Tesco for purchases but not favours, and it’s vice versa for small
    shops ? 🙂

  9. Given it happens every year – surely the onus is on people to get involved ?
    it happening in a public space when most people are off. less moaning more participation id say

  10. Frank Evans says:

    £1000 to put up that billboard.😅
    What a complete waste. Just shows how nieve our local councillors are and how the labour one in particular have no business sense.
    So many other clever ways to spend the money and get some real results.

  11. Anne Greagsby says:

    Didn’t the town council employ a PR person – who previously worked for PACL…not doing so well then. There was no festival programme on line or available on the day. I complained to a town council officer about illegal parking blocking the bus stop at the pavilion as buses couldn’t pull in. She then complained to the PCSOs on duty who detained me for questioning as I was crossing the road to get my bus home! I had to wait for a proper police officer to attend who agreed the parking arrangements were a complete shambles and that he would be taking the matter up with the town council! I even heard the town council officer recommend a motorist detour and reverse down the hill to park.

  12. Alan Thompson says:

    Ask West House why the Penarth Holiday brochures were piled up in their offices and not sent out to the public informing everyone of what was on in holiday week. They usually go out weeks before and are in the shops and around the doors. Come on Penarth get a grip !!!!

  13. Lindi says:

    Thank goodness for the Penarth daily news or we wouldn’t have know this was Penarth holiday week. We were disappointed that the RAF display was cancelled (10:45 Saturday morning). We waited around until 12 o’clock when someone said a helicopter was coming instead, but we were so wet by then couldn’t be bothered to wait. It would have been nice if there had been an official notice somewhere advising of the change.

  14. Clive says:

    As a resident of Penarth and have been for many years I didn’t even know it was on

  15. Clive says:

    I thought Penarth was trying to upstage Banksy’s Dismaland

  16. Ben says:

    I saw plenty of advertising for the events at the weekend. All the detail was there. Admittedly, the posters were probably a bit over-populated with information but that’s because there was a lot to communicate. I agree with @bottleshopdan, some of the responsibility for finding out what’s on lies with us, the residents of Penarth.

    Would people have preferred to hear that thousands of pounds of the budget went on flyering and paper-based promotion (which, from my experience, doesn’t even work these days) instead of on the events themselves? There would undoubtedly have been complaints if posters had been liberally applied to the walls of the town.

    We’ve obviously all got access to the internet – we wouldn’t be writing/reading this otherwise. My Facebook and Twitter feeds were awash with promotional messages in advance of the weekend, and then loads of photos taken by the people who were in attendance kept events very well publicised. (I understand that not everyone has social media accounts – that’s their choice – I find them invaluable for finding out what’s going on though!)

    Well done to the organisers – as usual, the fireworks were outstanding and Saturday’s activities looked great – sadly we couldn’t attend. Our only complaint was the choice of food. If you didn’t want to eat some variation on a lump of meat in a bread roll you were out of luck… shame.

  17. Vicky M says:

    PTC did set up an events page on Facebook which gave some information on the events planned and the timings but that’s only helpful to those on Facebook though and also it wasn’t as concise as the brochures that have been produced in previous years.

  18. Peter Church says:

    Penarth Town Council have a web site don’t they? if so it can be linked directly to outdoor screens.
    Use this sort of now relatively cheap bus stop screen technology to display items of note!
    Look at the two screens out the Millennium Centre, which display forth coming events, the sort of thing should have been out side the Pier cinema from day one Mr Hazel Nut.

    PS It could even tell you how much the precept(s) is going up by next year, sorry I forgot that will 5% as usual.

  19. Holden Caulfield says:

    Let’s be honest. Even if the weekend had included UFO landings, a dinosaur parade and Elvis in concert some people would still be whinging.

    Penarth is wasted on most Penarthians.

    I thought the organisers did an admirable job.

    • PB says:

      the organisers flyers said it was running on friday and saturday on page, and sunday on another! I spoke with a steward who said that it was running on sat and sunday, Except it wasn’t running on Sunday at all. The website had no timings at all, the Facebook page had little or no information on Saturday morning. Thats bad organisation.

      Having said all that, it’s a great idea and despite the rain on Saturday was still great to see so many people out, although I felt sorry for the last band on the stage where most of the crowd had been washed away. If they are reading this, then what I heard as I dragged my waterlogged self past sounded great.

    • snoggerdog says:

      elvis is only doing one gig(eyenosethelingo) this year in the uk &its already happened,it was at prestwick aeropoint on april 1st.

  20. Grey local says:

    No one has suggested spending thousands on publications. You are wrong I thinking everyone has internet access.i have spoken to many people who still do not have this facility. Inexpensive leaflets have been successfully produced in the past, programmes available in local shops library etc. Unfortunately the town council staff seem to have all been replaced by people who seem incapable of communication with the local community.
    Another example is the NTLLive productions. Although National Theatre Live was advertised with a large poster in the Paget Rooms for May 15. Unfortunately the town council let the building out to Pods but forgot to tell the public. That was at least the fourth time they have bungled NTL, with a no show, or equipment not working. Many people now go to Cardiff instead.
    When I went to the Vue in Cardiff ( comfy seats no one munching on takeaway or clinking glasses) People chatted at the end only to discover nearly everyone there came from Penarth! We would happily support local event if we could rely on their actually happening.

    • Ben says:

      Morning Grey local,

      To be clear, I only said that those of us writing on or reading this site had access to the internet. I regularly see posts here from people saying that they were unaware of events taking place. If they can access PDN, they can also access information about events in Penarth from other sources.

      NTL screenings are strange beasts. I would argue that they are well promoted – both physically and online. They’re just not for everyone. Problems with the delivery of these events are a different issue.

  21. Louiseholistic says:

    Friday evening was a non event. No food available for vegetarians at all. Would not have known what was happening when if PDN hadn’t kept me informed. Fireworks good as usual. Needs much better advertising and organising.

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