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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 .