Portsmouth Kite Festivals  2012 & 2011
Saturday August 25th 2012  Day One.

The weather forecast for today was not looking good according to the TV in my nice warm hotel room, wind's gusting at 40 mph+ coming off a cold sea and heavy rain showers forecast for around midday.

The first thing to note about today was that the parking and camping was being closely monitored by the security staff as the Kite Society had said it would be, after parking up, myself, Roger and Margaret decided to put on the lightweight waterproof's, as much as anything to keep out the chilly wind.
The Arena's were much the same as last year, a separate arena for quad flying by the car parking and public flying area, a main display arena with the sparred kite's and big inflatable's being flown in arena's next to each other on the other side of a walkway by the main arena, there were a few kite traders stall's, a marque for invited flyers and one that housed the kite exhibition, the main exhibits were Edo kites and also gave the public info about kite flying etc, there were also the usual non kite traders stall's and a craft tent.
As it was very windy the very large inflatable's mainly stayed in their bag's as did the more delicate sparred kites, there was however a good variety of kites being flown that looked very colourful against the dark sky. A number of lifter's were struggling in the strong wind these appeared to be mainly the non sparred soft type of lifter, we heard later that one had got away having had it's line cut and had gone to have a look down a nearby road even managing to turn left at the junction !

Display's got under way in the main arena at 10.30 with an altitude sprint followed by Carl from Team Spectrum doing a very energetic display of one man & three kites, being lifted clear of the ground more than once, he was followed by a lot of Rev flying, I put this down to the fact that some items were not going to be able to take place due to the wind and the Rev's were being used to fill the gap's.
For me the best display was done by the Cerfs-Volants Follies, a French kite team consisting of 12 flyer's flying two line kites in various combinations from three to all
twelve flyers, their kites filled the sky with colour and noise as the routines became more and more intricate, they received a well deserved round of applause from the reasonably sized crowd.
The Cerf's-Volants Follies also took on the responsibility of the sweet drop during the afternoon, their system worked flawlessly every time, unlike the drop attempted last year, it was also nice to see that every kiddie got a sweet as some were dropped by the flyer's that they had secreted in their pocket's.
Other displays included Josh Mitcheson flying three kites at once, a Red / White and Blue themed fly to some rousing music and a segment called Noah's Ark when animal kites were invited into the arena, this was spoiled for me by a number of Rev flyer's continuing to fly in the arena, I thought this showed a certain lack of respect, I don't think I was being over sensitive as I heard a few other people near to me voicing the same thing.  

The day's displays came to an end at 5.30 and the heavy rain had not appeared, it had been a nice day wandering around looking at the display's.

Sunday August 26th Day Two

What a change in the weather, after a chilly start first thing the day was warm and sunny, the light wind picked up during the morning and caught a few flyers off guard as the odd large inflatable was moving around a bit more than was safe leading to a few cutting through kite lines.

One that was cut was a very nice chain of kites with oriental faces being flown by Mike from Kiteworld, he had said he had a chain of a hundred, he was no doubt pleased he had only got about twenty or so flying as his line was cut and they went drifting across the field, Peter Smith from Sky Art did a good impression of an Olympic sprinter as he set off to retrieve them from a tree that had thankfully caught them.
As flyers worked out what the wind was doing more and more kites were being flown, including the more delicate kites that had not been flown on Saturday, the sky was full of colour and it was a job to know where to look next, they had also drawn in a very large crowd,.

We had decided that we were going to sit and watch the displays in the main arena today so our walk around the festival site took place before the flying displays began, this gave us a chance to chat to some friends and to help a couple of folk sort out their inflatable's that had become tangled, the wind orchestra display by Robert Valkenburgh and Michael Lowe was also attracting a lot of attention.
The displays in the arena were much the same as yesterday but today the whole timetable was going to be flown as the wind was much kinder, even with a full programme of flying available there was for me too much Rev flying, I think I counted over twenty Rev routines during the day not including the Mega fly, and that comes from someone who mainly fly's quad's, for me three or four plus the Mega fly would have been plenty.
The Mega fly was much better today as no one crashed out, and there was some nice applause as they spelt out 2012 in the sky, there were no power kite flying demo's for some reason, that was a shame as Kite surfing will be in the next Olympic's.

The timetable for flying started to overrun as folk spent too much time clearing their kites from the arena so it was obvious that the later display's would have to be cancelled if the event was to finish on time, thankfully the commentary team did not cancel the last fly from the Cerfs-Volants Follies as their displays were brilliant and were a huge hit with everyone watching, they were even applauded as they walked back to their tent by the arena edge and it was nice to see that they all acknowledged the crowd by smiling and waving back, they were so good I was too busy watching to take any photographs of their display.

It had made a nice change for me to sit and watch at a festival, I did not fly a kite the whole weekend, once again the Kite Society had done a really good job of putting on a great festival that judging by the number of people flying kites on the common at the end of the day had promoted the hobby/sport of kite flying to a wide audience.

Some pictures of the festival can be found HERE.

Time table of events, were the same for Saturday and Sunday

10:30 Altitude Sprint—Race against time to be the highest kite in the sky.
10:45 Team Spectrum—Father and Son team Bryan and Carl Wright with many dual line routines including “One Man—Three Kites”
11:00 Meet the Revolution Kite Teams—The Decorators, The Flying Squad, Team Fusion and, from Holland, Air-4-Ce. Watch the spectacular displays of synchronised Quad Line flying set to music.
11:40 Three Dimensional Kites—Sculptures in the Sky, graceful works of art in the sky.
12:00 Edo Kites—a Celebration of these traditional Japanese Kites with a western twist
12:20 Cerfs-Volants Folies. New to the kite festival this team has many forms with teams of 3, 6, 9 and 12 members flying synchronised dual line kites set to music.
12:40 Art Kites—The opportunity to see some of the spectacular and artistic kites from some of our invited guests.
13:00 Meet the Revolution Kite Teams—The Decorators, The Flying Squad, Team Fusion and, from Holland, Air-4-Ce. Watch the spectacular displays of synchronised Quad Line flying set to music.
13:40 Team Spectrum—Father and Son team Bryan and Carl Wright with many dual line routines including “One Man—Three Kites”
13:50 Kelvin Woods and Friends—Kaleidoscope of Butterflies. Mass launch of these fun Butterfly Kites.  
14:00 Mega Rev Fly—the Revolution Teams and Individual fliers get together to fly these amazing kites in formation
14:20 Red, White and Blue—to celebrate the Great in Britain. Kites using the colours Red, White or Blue (or combination). All kite fliers welcome in the arena.
14:40 Josh Mitcheson—one of the youngest kite fliers who can fly three dual line kites at the same time.
14:50 Noah’s Ark. Mass fly of Frogs, Bears, Bees and other collections of “animals”.  
15:05 Sweet Drop (Wind Permitting). The chance for the children to get involved with sweets being dropped from a great height for them to catch.  
15:20 Carl Robertshaw, James Robertshaw, Chris Goff and Gregory Reynes—a special treat see some of the world’s best multi-line kite fliers in action
15:40 Edo Kites—a Celebration of these traditional Japanese Kites with a western twist
16:00 Spirit and Angel Fly—these ethereal kites provided a moment to reflect and remember.
16:20 Rokkaku Challenge Japanese style fighting kites battled in the sky for supremacy
16:40 Cerfs-Volants Folies. New to the kite festival this team had many  forms with teams of 3, 6, 9 and 12 members flew synchronised dual line kites set to music.
17:00 Festival Close and Free Flying
These events took place in the main arena. There was a continuous display of kites in the other arenas.
A free children's kite making workshop was available in the workshop marquee.
There was also a Kite Exhibition
Robert Valkenburgh and Michael Lowe had their wind gardens on show.

Woke up on Sunday to find the sun was out and that there was a stronger breeze than yesterday, after breakfast at our favourite cafe Daz made his way to the common while I checked us out of the hotel and then gave Roger and Margaret a lift, we arrived to find the shelter was already up courtesy of Wilf and Daz, boy were we glad we had it today as once again there was a very heavy shower of rain part way through the day, at one point there was not a single kite in the sky, but then the sun came out again kites were flying once more and the public we thought had left came out of wherever they had been sheltering.


First thing we did today was to have a walk around the arenas watching people get their single line kites ready, we again saw Irene Teo and partner, they were trying to get a very large Peter Lynn crocodile in the air but it was a bit wrapped up in itself, now we have a fair bit of experience sorting out large tangled up inflatable's as we often help Rob Brixton with his so after a quick hello and hearing Irene say they were going to have to take it down and sort it out later it was all hands on board, six pairs of hands made light work of getting it untangled, we continued on our walk around the arenas with Bruce explaining the finer points of kite design and bridling he also answered our question about the buoys out at sea.


Back at the quad area it was time for a fly with the full vent, after a bit I was starting to get a bit of a back ache (been neglecting my physiotherapy exercises the last few day's) so decided to go for a walk around the kite shop's etc, got myself a new hat, a halo winder, some better line for my Wala and a few other bit's and pieces.


After the previously mentioned heavy shower I flew a bit more having had the presence of mind to take the kite into the shelter before the rain arrived, was quite possibly the driest quad on the field for a while, after a bit my back ache started to return so decided to have a lay down in the shelter where I promptly fell asleep for a while so I missed seeing the Mega fly.


I didn't fly anymore as by now it was mid afternoon, we went for a last look at what was happening in the arenas where we watched possibly the longest sweet drop in history and I don't mean height wise, so much for German engineering lost count at how many attempts they had before it worked, some were heard to say " should have got the Suffolk Kite Flyers to do it their's work first time ".


I took a few more photo's as there were still some new kites flying we had not seen over the previous few day's, the sun today had brought out the crowds and they had not been deterred by the rain showers as in places they must have been nearly ten deep around the arenas and other parts of the common were alive with young-un's and their parents flying kites.


The festival was starting to come to a close so we had a leisurely pack away of the gear while we tried to remember what went in what car, we said our goodbyes to our kite flying chum's and set off for home at about 5.30pm and thankfully we had a trouble free journey home around the dreaded M25 and A12


Congratulations to the Kite Society for organising a great festival and for getting a great bunch of kite flyers together in one place, it was awesome.


link to my pictures of the festival HERE

Portsmouth Kite Festival 2011 Venue: Southsea Common

Friday 26th August


I have been coming to this festival since 2008, the last couple of year's with Daz but this year we had the added pleasure of Bruce, Pam, Roger, Margaret, Wilf and Karen as well so it was a bit of a Haven Flyers outing.


We had an early start leaving Colchester on the Friday at 6.30am in two car's with Bruce and Pam leaving later, and even though it was raining heavily all the way to Portsmouth we had a trouble free journey, the only time it stopped raining was when we were in the newly opened Hindhead tunnel, Daz was so impressed he filmed our journey through it.


As we neared Portsmouth the rain turned into heavy showers so maybe the weekend was not going to be a washout, we arrived at abut 9.30am and parked up near the Hovercraft terminal.

Southsea common was very wet under foot, the organisers were doing well putting out the ground anchors etc not to turn it into a muddy mess, we wandered around the rapidly filling campsite to say hi to those that we knew, we were all very impressed with Ernie and Sandra's new caravan.


As it started to rain again we sought shelter before going back to the car's, it was then that we realised we appeared to have lost Wilf and Karen before they reappeared with two bags of doughnuts from the Isle of Wight having popped over on the Hovercraft! Daz being the hardy sole that he is went for a fly, even though it was still drizzly, in the proposed quad area at the eastern end of the Common by the funfair in what used to be the public car park and still was this year to a certain degree, while the rest of us waited it out for better weather.


After checking into the Hotel, six of us were staying in the Holiday Inn in Pembroke road five minutes walk from the common, Daz went back for a fly while Wilf and Karen stayed in the Hotel as they had an evening meal booked while Roger, Margaret and me had a walk round the town and stopped off for fish and chip's, when we got back to the common the sun was out and the wind was freshening nicely straight off the sea so we went and got the kites and set up for a fly in what was the quad area last year near to the hovercraft terminal.


We could not see the point in walking the length of the common to the quad area to have a fly with the fairground directly up wind from us, Daz and Baz later said the wind was crap and were finding it hard to fly full sail's near the ground while Rog and me ended up flying inverted side slides just above the ground with our Mega vent's, mind you they were made by Bruce, the only problem we had was when a gust of wind coincided with the hovercraft leaving meaning a mist of sea water blew across the common.


We also had the pleasure of meeting Irene Teo and partner who stopped for a chat, he was very knowledgeable about quad kites as was Irene, and was very interested in Roger's modified blue Chinese kite and the Mega vents that we had with us, he was also a very good flyer as we found when he had a go on one, a young lad from Persia was also very interested and took some video of us flying, we flew until it got dark around 8pm when we headed back to the comfort of the hotel bar.

Woke up to see the sun trying to come out and a nice looking breeze going by the movement in the tree's, Daz and me went for our usual full English breakfast at the Big Wheel cafe on the seafront, recommended, afterwards we drove to the Quad area on the festival site as it was a bit too far to carry our gear, the parking for flyers was much better this year, the gate was open and manned by security people so no queuing or driving over the kerb this year, and with folk having car park passes linked to their car reg as far as I know no one got a parking ticket from overzealous traffic wardens, thank you for the Kite Society for arranging that.


We put up the shelter and people asked if they could put bag's and stuff in it as it looked like we may have rain at some point, not a problem as that was why I had brought it, we even had a rather nice birthday cake left with us too look after, obviously unaware of our reputation for cake consumption, luckily for them we had all had a good breakfast.


The quad area was quite large but with the number of flyers and with the wind blowing at an angle space was quite limited, the area was not taped off or marked out in any way and this caused a few problems during the weekend, with the odd security pick up truck almost driving through some lines and members of the public walking through the kites, one was even on a motorbility scooter, just something you have to put up with, we have to bear in mind that some may never have been to a festival before so are probably not thinking about kite lines etc on the floor when they are looking up at kites in the air, but a marked out kite area is not just to stop kites getting damaged but to stop people getting cut by kite lines etc.


The rain shower came through as expected and was quite heavy for a while, so we had a fair few taking shelter in the Quechua but then the sun came out and in the strong breeze things got dry fairly quickly, I flew a full vent and later changed it to a Mega vent, when I was flying out in front of the main line of kites with a few others I was able to answer some questions from interested members of the public, unfortunately none of the traders were selling Rev's so I had nowhere to send them to have a look if questions turned into buying, thought that was all a bit odd as "Rev's" had been built up as being a big part of the festival.


One person with money to spend had to settle for buying a Hakkuna mini quad, that had a few bit's not quite right with it, broken/odd handle etc but the seller Go Kites exchanged them with no quibble and I thought that was excellent, they had a good choice of kites and kite related bit's available as did the Highwaymen the other main kite trader, I have always found their service to be top notch as well, unfortunately their was no Kiteworld stall this year, they would have been the most likely place to be able to buy a Rev, although it was nice to see Mike again.


During the day folk did various sizes of grid flying and Mega grids, Daz took part in a few and as usual flew very well, this year as well as the Dec's and the Flying Squad we had Team Air-4-Ce and Team Bolau and they both put on some lovely displays over the two days and flew a nice variety of quad's, as I walked around the arena's I was stunned by the ever changing variety of single line kites being flown this year and by the quality and originality of their design as one young-un near to where I was standing said " this is awesome " .


When the festival came to an end it was back to the hotel for a quick freshen up, then Roger, Margaret and me went off for a bite to eat, while Daz went to get some Indian fighter kite lesson's and Wilf and Karen went to a nearby Toby restaurant.


During the day Margaret had seen a stall called the Coffee Cup doing baked spuds etc and noticed that they also had a place on the seafront so we called in there for a baked spud with all the trimming's and a drink, it was very tasty much better that the Pizza me and Daz had last year at a different establishment.


Later we went for a walk along the seafront, don't think we bargained on going so far but we were distracted by the his troy of Portsmouth and watching the Ferry's coming in and out, we also got to wondering what all the different coloured and shapes of buoys meant, made mental note to ask Bruce on Sunday, have to admire the Ferry boat captain's skill who manage to manoeuvre the ships into their berth's with not much room to spare, forgot completely about the auction, Daz said it was a lot better than last year, by the time we got back to the festival site it was dark then Wilf phoned and asked if we fancied a drink in the hotel bar sounded good to me so that is how the night ended plus I got to watch " Match of the Day " on the big screen.

Saturday 27th

Sunday 28th August