Party in the Ponds is the ‘biggest and best’ so far

THOUSANDS of people enjoyed the sun-soaked, relaxed atmosphere at this year’s Party in the Ponds in Vassalls Park.

With 13 diverse musical acts on the main stage and a separate arena for nine dance and drama performances, there was plenty to see and hear.

A huge variety of stalls ranged from food and drink to crafts, gifts, charities and community groups.

It was the second time the free festival had been held on the field near the children’s playground on the Oldbury Court estate.

A return to the traditional mid-June slot meant the party could go on for longer than last year’s September event.

Many of the estimated 7,000 visitors brought picnic blanket, chairs and even gazebos and camped out to make a day of it.

Chris Quinn (above, centre), from Blackberry Hill, invited friends from across Bristol to the festival on June 17.

He said: “We’re loving the music and the food and enjoying the day. It was good last year but now we have better weather, and everyone’s up for it.”

Sisters Mandy Vickery, of Downend, and Janet Foxon, of Mangotsfield (above), grew up in Oldbury Court. They still visit the park several times a week, and said it was the perfect place for the event.

Mandy said: “It’s really good for the community and local businesses, and it brings everyone together – it’s a good family day out.”

One of the event’s organisers, Vicki Stoneman, said: “A massive thank-you to the Fishponds community and the surrounding areas for supporting our incredible event.

“We were delighted to see so many friendly faces on the day and we estimated we had around 7,000 visitors, with about 2,000 to 2,500 at any one time – our biggest and best to date! ️ 

“We have a lot of people to thank because without their time, knowledge and expertise we could not have pulled off the event.”

She said the event had been run by volunteers who gave up a lot of time to plan, organise and run it, adding: “Nearly 50% of the committee members joined this year, with little to no experience of festivals management, and still helped pull of an incredible day!”

Partygoers picnicking in front of the main stage

Vicki also thanked Manor Scrap and the event’s other sponsors, sound engineer, performance stage manager and the dancers, dance schools, theatre school and musicians who performed.

One fly in the ointment was the huge amount of rubbish left behind by visitors and vendors, which left committee members to spend hours collecting litter after the event and the following morning.

But Vicki said the buzz Party in the Ponds had created had been felt by everyone involved.

She said: “The feedback we’ve received from lots of people that attended the festival has been phenomenal.

“We can’t wait to start planning next years event!”

A date for next year’s event has been set for June 22.

Top picture: Headliner Da Fuchaman on stage at Party in the Ponds 2023. Picture: Tony Bundy