Looking ahead to TriFest – and back at how it all began

TriFest hi viz 2022 01P1030455Update: TriFest has been cancelled. More here.
Popular free community festival TriFest is back on Riverside Park on July 22 , with more stalls than ever, music, beer, dogs – and even a bite to eat.



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Taking place on the Saturday afternoon from noon until 7pm, TriFest is the city festival with a village fete vibe.

Assuming fair weather, locals enjoy picnicking in the park, listening to a selection of musicians, browsing the stalls from local organisations and traders (there are 36 booked so far), and even watching the ever-popular dog show hosted by Second Chance Animal Rescue.

Trifest 21 crowd 600px P1020406 TriFest 2021

This year local micropub The Butcher’s Hook will be back with craft beers and more, and it’s hoped Triangle restaurant Dhamaka, and possibly even the new Triangle Plested bakery, will be offering goodies to stave off hunger pangs!

Festival goers are also encouraged to use other Triangle outlets for refreshments, and a number are providing that other essential – loos for the afternoon.

TriFest emerged following RiverFest, an altogether bigger affair staged in the park in 2017 and supported by grant funding.

“I got involved as site manager for RiverFest, which was of course about £8k of lottery money, and that finished,” remembers TriFest organiser Paul Jenks.

“And I thought, it would be a shame not to do something again [the] next year – which is when we did it up at the Triangle.”

general 460 bpiTriFest at Bitterne Park Triangle in 2018

TriFest at the Triangle in 2018 involved closing the road in front of the Ink Factory tattoo studio, the Butcher’s Hook and what’s now the Dhamaka restaurant. It was hailed as a success, despite poor weather resulting in fewer people than anticipated attending.

The noisy location and windy conditions also made it harder to hear musicians.

“And then it was, it would be nice to try and do something down the park. And that’s it. Suddenly I was hooked in to it,” says Paul.

After an initial crowdfunder in 2019 for kit, and being largely self-funded up until now, TriFest is this year presented under the auspices of The Friends of Riverside Park – a logical move since both celebrate the green space. It also makes it easier to apply for any grant opportunities that may arise in the future.

On the preparations for this year’s event, Paul says there are all sorts of details to think about that most people don’t realise, from organising the power (courtesy of local trader rideride) to thinking through the layout – and then getting people in the right place in time to start on the big day.

“There are things to do but generally it just works. It’s organising it to make sure it works on the day is the thing that takes up time.”

Of course a critical part of the planning involves booking acts to showcase local talent, and then organising the PA and mixing on the day, and in this respect local musician Tony Lehrle-Fry is at the helm.

The musical line-up includes Dan O’Farrell, D’Kenzion, Fragile Lucy, Cat Elliott, Bat2k, Nick Haynes, Southampton Ukulele Jam, BraSoc, Kinesis 4 and Silvermon.

You can find more details on musicians here, and more on the festival generally here.

• TriFest takes place on Cobden Meadows, Riverside Park (near Cobden Bridge) on Saturday July 22 from noon until 7pm. Parking is very limited. Cycle parking, and the number 20 bus stop are both nearby.

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