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Newport Carnival & Community Events Association

Riverfest Success! 2024 was a big hit and attracted thousands to our fun, free, family event

There are some things with events that you cannot plan, despite how much you try, and that is the weather. And thankfully, the first Newport Carnival-organised event of the year had a scorcher of a day!

The team at Riverfest and all the volunteers who make this happen each year are so grateful for the support both by the visitors to our fun, FREE, family event as well as the businesses who financially support us.

Our main sponsors in 2024 were Red Funnel; Newport & Carisbrooke Community Council and Cherry Godfrey. We would also like to extend our thanks to The Bargeman’s Rest; Plaza Ices and Biltmore Signs.

Gemma Hunt on Stage at Riverfest 2024

Newport was lucky to be presented with BBC’s Gemma Hunt from her hit show Swashbuckle as seen on CBeebies. She performed an excellent show which saw hundreds line up to watch, of all ages.

So much happened at Riverfest 2024, and it’s hard to list them all, however, we are hoping to continue this great event with the support of everyone who makes it happen next year.

One of the unannounced highlights for us was the ‘Medina on the Medina’ where the Medina Marching Band boarded a small boat and played up and down the River Medina as a surprise added extra.

Medina on the Medina – Medina Marching Band

Paddy McHugh, event organiser and chair of Newport Carnival & Community Events Association said:

“I am truly overwhelmed by the support at this year’s Riverfest. The weather was on our side and it was reflected by the wave of people of all ages flowing along Newport Quay all day enjoying themselves.

“I’d like to extend my thanks to the entire Riverfest/Newport Carnival team who all played a vital role in making this fun, free, family event take place each year. I want to also thank all of the businesses that supported us this year because without them there wouldn’t be a Riverfest today, or not on this scale anyway.

“Were are planning bigger and better once again for next year. Our attention will now focus on the carnival season ahead following the coronation of the Newport Carnival Royalty which was done so by The High Sheriff Graham Biss, Chair of the Isle of Wight Council Clare Critchison and a former Newport Carnival Queen Summer Fisher-Chambers in a Riverfest first.”

The Crowning of Newport Carnival Royalty 2024 with Claire Critchison (left), Graham Biss (right) and former Newport Carnival Queen Summer (second from right)
Crowd watching Gemma Hunt’s show

Speaking following her appearance, Gemma Hunt has said:

“It was such an honour to be a part of Riverfest & see it absolutely brimming with guests and a great variety of stalls, entertainment and eateries.

“You have looked after me and my family so well, we have thoroughly enjoyed our time with you and on the island and look forward to visiting again.

“The involvement from local groups and businesses was awe-inspiring. It’s so encouraging to see ‘community spirit’ being lived out so faithfully as this symbiotic relationship serves everyone so well.

“Well done to you Paddy and the team who should be very proud of themselves.”

Gemma was lucky to spend a solid 4 days on the Isle of Wight with the visit bringing back childhood memories, not just for her, but her husband too. The weather was just perfect for her whole visit.

Event organisers Paddy McHugh and Shane Thornton were hosted at The Bargeman’s Rest where she enjoyed a pre-show day meal with us and her husband and child. Thank you to Dan, the manager of The Bargeman’s Rest for the hospitality, not just on this occasion, but for the warm welcome and support while we used the quay-side pub as our hub for most of our meetings.

Event organisers Shane & Paddy with Gemma Hunt and The Bargeman’s Manager Dan.

Also, an extended thank you to Gary Hall from Plaza Ices who sponsored Gemma Hunt’s accommodation while she stayed here on the Isle of Wight.

Gemma told us how she had visited the Model Village in Godshill, with the model within a model, within a model being their highlight. Ate their body weight at the Garlic Farm in Newchurch. The Hunt’s also visited the Woodvale in Cowes where they dined. After her visit to Riverfest, following our advice, they visited Blackgang Chine to see the Giant Smuggler which was captured within their memories, before a leisurely drive along the Military Road towards The Needles Landmark Attraction, taking to the chairlift and making some Alum Bay keepsake sand models before heading to The Cow at Tapnell where they had their evening meal.

Medina Marching Band performing at 11:00

Gemma’s family loved visiting the Isle of Wight and has said she would love to come back and visit again, exploring other parts of the stunning island that we live upon.

Riverfest will return in May 2025, and dare we say it, bigger and better than ever…

Keep your eyes peeled on our Facebook page (facebook.com/riverfestiw) and website for all the up-to-date information – riverfest.org.uk

See a full photo gallery here – Riverfest Gallery 2024

Red Funnel’s Ted Funnel with Vectis Corps of Drums Marching Band