THE Bayside Festival in Weymouth has been hit by the low number of visitors to the town.
The festival’s managing director, Joe Hill, said: “Our capacity is 9,000 at any one time but at our busiest time so far, the maximum we’ve had here is about 3,600.
“We want to be entertaining a lot more people. It’s been disappointing in terms of numbers. In terms of what we’ve got going on here, there is so much to do and see. It’s a great value, fun family day out in Weymouth.
“We want everyone to know that Weymouth is very much open.”
Marketing boss Richard Walters said: “We have the capacity to look after a lot more people than we have at the moment. Come by train, bus, car – the roads have never been clearer.”
When asked about Take That tribute band tickets being reduced from £10 to £5, Mr Hill said: “We are offering additional tickets to customers who bought their tickets at £10.
“If they bought a £10 ticket, we are offering a free ticket to see one of the other bands playing at the Bayside Festival for free. So far, everybody seems to be happy with that.”
Traders from the many shopping stalls situated next to the Pavilion haven’t seen as many people coming through as they had expected.
Paul Bertie, managing director of Ocean World based on the Isle of Wight, said : “It has been very disappointing. A lot of people are afraid to come into Weymouth. They really need to change all the signs to say Weymouth is open.
“The figures of people expected to attend have been so wrong. It’s been about a tenth of what they said.”
He added: “I feel so sorry for the local traders and hotels in Weymouth. People have said to me they hope that once the Olympics leave there will be an influx of people and then the season can really start.”
Sasha Chowdhury, co-running the fashion outlet stall, said: “It’s been terrible. They are just not coming up this far, they go as far as the screens showing the Olympics and then stop.”
She said she would be contacting the organisers to get more signs and advertising for the festival.
Charlotte Bennett from the Joules stall, said: “It could have been better. It’s been a lot quieter than we expected. We expected it to be more widely advertised.”
Bethan Helm, also from Joules, said: “I know they have been trying to encourage people to come in by changing the prices. I just don’t think many people even realise we are here.”
Visitors enjoyed the music and the bar but a group that had come from London were disappointed with the turn out.
Larry Stockton, 45, from London said: “We have had great fun but I did expect a lot more people here. I mean they've put the price down to £1 so what does that say?”
Richard Saddle of Warwickshire, whose son Sam Saddle owns Saddle Creek clothing, said: “It’s great to be here and be a part of the Olympics. We just need a few more people for business.”
Philip Marsh, managing director of Chatham Marine, said: “We expected more people of our clientele coming through the doors. That’s what we were told. We specialise in technical footwear for sailing and it’s mainly holidaymakers coming through the doors.”
Mr Marsh added: “People don’t know there is a shopping village here. The pitch has very expensive rent and if it carries on like this there is no way we can make that back.”