THE Festival of Flight in One Cool Weekend was another resounding success as the Red Arrows attracted an enormous crowd.
Well over 100,000 people lined the promenade and beach in Newcastle and many more took up positions from Dundrum to Slieve Donard to watch the only show in town… the Red Arrows and other air displays including the Irish Air Force.
With the weather playing a critical part in the success of the day, the crowds had their eyes in the sky for more than one reason. Down the coast in Warrenpoint here were cloudbursts and some flooding and Saintfield and other places in Down did not escape the torrential summer deluge. But sunny Newcastle fared well with the sun shining when it mattered.
The second air show sponsored this year by B/E Aerospace in Kilkeel was everything last year’s show was… dramatic, exciting, spectacular, stunning, skilful, dangerous, daring, and even death-defying. The Red Arrows commentator Red 10 gave an excellent talk through the display. The pilots serve three years attached the the Red Arrows but must first have had experience in a theatre of conflict. This year there was even a woman pilot flying in the display.
A spokesperson for Down District Council which organised the event said, “Everything went very well and we are delighted with the support from the sponsors, from the public who came back in their thousands and from the local businesses too who were very busy which was great to see.”
Amazingly there was not traffic snarl up in Newcastle and thanks for this must go to the organisers and the support of the PSNI. Parking is Newcastle was managed well and the surplus of traffic went to Donard Park. Cool FM was also live in Newcastle from 6am to 6pm and the hosted the One Cool Weekend music festival show in the town.
Through Saturday evening and Sunday the One Cool Weekend music festival organised by PLM Promotions attracted good crowds to a well-organised venue in St Patrick’s Park as top acts, 17 of whom have been in the charts, performed to an enthusiastic crowd. Local Downpatrick-based band Relish were there performing along with top Irish girl band Wonderland.
Headlining too on Saturday were The Feeling, making big waves in the UK and across Ireland, Wretch 22, nominated as BBC’s sound of 2011, Colenso Parade, a top NI indie band, and Microlip who opened dup the One Cool Weekend music extravaganza. On Sunday, revellers and rockers continued the feast of music with hip-hop singer Chipmunk, electric pop artist Frankmusic, The Reason 4 who performed on X Factor, male soloist AJ, and Silhouette who is an NI based artist who creatively tries to inspire, touch and mend the hearts of everyone who listens.
As the Red Arrows and the air show will also be taking off again next year, perhaps once again the One Cool Weekend will run again to an even bigger crowd of top artists.
In congratulating the festival organisers, Newcastle SDLP Councillor Carmel O’Boyle said, “It was an absolutely brilliant festival which was very well run by the oganisers and well done to them all. We were so lucky that the rain was pouring heavily in Hilltown and there was flooding in Warrenpoint. Somebody up there must love us. It was great too to see local businesses under the right kind of pressure, with a constant crowd at their counters. Hopefully we can build on the success of this festival again next year.”
And South Down UUP MLA John McCallister also has praised the organisers of this year’s Festival of Flight weekend in Newcastle. He said, “All eyes were on the skies as the Red Arrows display team soared over the natural ampi-theatre of Dundrum Bay.
“What a jaw-dropping spectacle the Red Arrows were and I must congratulate Ann Moreland from Down District Council and her hard-working team on a job well done.
“Everything ran like clockwork on the day from traffic management and bus shuttle services to crowd control and timings. Everyone I have spoken to said they throroughly enjoyed the day which was one of the biggest events in the local social calendar.”