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Festival on a high as kite fliers do best despite tricky weather

Kite fliers have termed their time in Bognor Regis as the best in Britain.


The latest giant kite extravaganza saw record numbers taking part and watching.


This sent the reputation of the three-day festival soaring as high as some of the models on show at King George V Playing Field in Felpham to thousands of people.


Bognor Regis Kite Fliers founder Dave Mitchell, and one of those who started the free festival, said: “The atmosphere is unique to this festival.


“It’s really positive and all the kite fliers are made welcome by the public and it makes them want to come back again.


“Saturday night saw 20 LED kites stage the largest illuminated display I know of inthis country this year.


“The lighting is controlled by computer and they looked great at the same time as the Abbastars concert was taking place.”


The kite fliers came from around the UK, with three from Wales and others from Kent, Avon, the Midlands and Essex.Latecomers from Bedford and Suffolk took the total number to some 85. They included international and top UK fliers.


Kite flying took place throughout the bank holiday weekend, though the light easterly winds of some 7mph on Sunday and Monday led to some of the larger models being grounded.


But there was still plenty to see among those which did take to the sky.


They included the four-piece L-Katz team with a kite ballet to music which ranged from Aerosmith’s Fly Away From Here to a theme from Game of Thrones.


The squad comprises two kite-flying pairs – the Flying Fish couple of Lex Kraaijeveld and Irma Adriaanse, from Southampton, who have a number one UK ranking for dual-line pair kite flying, and Chichester couple, Pea Patel and Lisa Burnett, known as Twisted Bridle.


Pea said they had been flying as a team together for two years. “We both practise separately each Saturday and then practise all together on Sundays.


“A lot of work goes into flying four kites at once to music and it feels great when we pull it off,” he said.


“It’s enjoyable. It takes you away from all your Monday to Friday worries.


“Lisa suffers from osteoarthritis and the adrenaline and endorphins she gets from flying kites helps to dissipate the pain.”


Lex said: “It takes so much concentration you don’t have the space in your brain left to concentrate on anything else.


“We came to the first of these festivals and this one is much better than having it staged at West Park.”


Lisa’s son, Jaiden Burnett, nine, was the youngest kite flier in the main arena to have his own display.


Brighton Kite Flyers were also present and needed special permission from the Civil Aviation Authority to send some of their delta multi-coloured models up to 600ft in the air.


One of their members, John Elvin, said: “It’s a relaxing way of doing something at weekends. I love it. I love watching the kites. The best of it is to see the reaction of the public. I enjoying hearing them talk about the kites.”


Also among the group’s kites was the 12m long white horse, Pegasus, which takes other kites to get it airborne.


The other kites on display came in all shapes, sizes and colours and reached different heights in the sky.


even with some of the kites unable to fly, plenty of attractions continued on the ground for visitors of all ages.


The Resonance collection of aeolian wind harps, bamboo pipes, chimes and whistles still sounded to the delight of those nearby.


Pagham Ponies were present as well as Rep Tylers, a children’s funfair, and a mix of stalls and food and drink outlets.


As well as Abbastars, stage acts were performed by magician Nick Clark and singers Heather and Dave.


This was the fifth festival and the second at the playing field in Summerley Lane.


Joint founder Jan Malpas said: “We’ve had thousands during the weekend, including 500 for the Abba tribute. The singers went among the audience and it was brilliant.


“People have been coming and going all day and it has just been unbelievable. We’ve had nothing but praise and we want to come back again next year.


“We’ve got the bank holiday, we’ve got the location, we’ve got the fliers and we’ve got people who want to come out and enjoy themselves. It couldn’t be better.”

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