The music festival site in Weymouth has been abruptly closed after seeing low visitor numbers

Following the local council’s admission earlier this week that visitor numbers to the sailing Olympics in Weymouth are lower than expected, the keystone Bayside Festival has been abruptly shut today.

The festival was to host live music throughout the day and evening. A stream of visitors is being turned away today and the entire site is shut up.

A statement by David Clarke, chief executive of Weymouth & Portland Borough Council reads: ‘The borough council is very disappointed for the company behind the Bayside Festival. The decision to close this single part of what is on offer in Weymouth at the moment is entirely a matter for the commercial operator of that site.’

This comment is right in the sense that the Bayside Festival is not the main attraction here in the Weymouth, and that is probably why the numbers I’ve observed here all week have been so low.

The organisers of the festival changed their minds every day about admission policy. It started being free, then was £2.50 during the day for adults, then £1.

With mainly commercial stalls here and expensive food – £8 for a crab sandwich – the crowds understandably stayed away. The idea that there would be a goldrush of affluent sailing followers was, I think, highly optimistic.

The numbers visiting Weymouth are noticeably increasing, though. There were more people around yesterday and today (Friday) is busier again. The main attractions here are the live screens on the beach showing the racing, the sports arena where you can try out sailing and windsurfing, the views from Newton’s Cove and the charm of Weymouth Harbour itself.

The latter is the reason, in my book, why this sailing Olympics is such a special experience.