Portsmouth, Hampshire UK: Locals Miss Out on Outdoor Cinema

. It was meant to be a spectacular start to Portsmouth's film festival an open-air screening of the Abba musical Mamma Mia! But high winds over the weekend meant the event met its Waterloo as organisers called it off for safety reasons. The drive-in movie at Southsea Common would have seen Europe's biggest cinema screen show the movie to thousands of viewers. Organisers pulled the plug as gusts of up to 40mph blew off the seafront. Film festival spokeswoman Bill Sainsbury said: 'It's very disappointing. We were looking forward to a great night. But we couldn't do anything about it. 'People's safety has to come before anything else.' The screen itself could have withstood the gusts, which continued well into the night, but the rigging needed to erect it may not have done. Ms Sainsbury said: 'We had everything in place. We were all ready to go but the wind beat us. We're sorry to everyone who planned to come, but we're still looking forward to a great week.' Full refunds will be issued to everyone who booked tickets via Paypal within 28 days. Almost 150 car loads of people were turned away, despite the cancellation being advertised on the film festival's webpage and Facebook site, as well as by The News and radio stations. Festival staff e-mailed everyone who had booked in advance. Ms Sainsbury said: 'A lot of those were prior ticket holders. I think the warnings we gave helped people know it was off. But we apologised to people.' The festival takes place all week, ending on Saturday with a showing of the 1923 cinema adaptation of Oscar Wilde's Salome at the New Theatre Royal. On Sunday, Gunwharf's Vue Cinema is the venue for the festival's finale, a screening of The Italian Job, including 60 original Minis displayed in formation and a chance to meet Michael Deeley, who produced The Italian Job, The Deer Hunter and Blade Runner. Rory O'Keeffe Source-http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/newshome/Stranded-at-the-drivein-as.5703032.jp

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