The future of a popular spring festival hangs in the balance.

Organisers of St Ann’s Well Gardens Spring Festival said the event could be scrapped due to a decline in sponsorship.

Thousands of people braved the rain on Saturday for the 11th instalment of the festival, run by the Friends of St Ann’s Well Gardens charity, which takes place every year in the park in Hove.

Kate Packham, of the charity’s event committee, said: “We have always had good support from our local businesses but I think with the economic climate, especially for small businesses, we have found it difficult to get much sponsorship this year.

“So we are hoping we will be able to continue the festival for years to come, but we really do need to find more support, sponsorship and funding to be able to continue.

“It is so important we provide as a community free events for families and we want to continue being a free festival as it’s a public park.”

On Saturday, organisers said they had been expecting some 10,000 people to enjoy the event, which had lots of activities for children.

Among the activities were circus skills, archery, zorbing and a foam pit. There was also live music. Among the performers was the Cascade Chorus Choir made up of 20 men and women who are recovering addicts and alcoholics who meet weekly in Brighton.

Pete Davies, of Cascade Recovery, said: “It is great for the choir to come together and connect with the wider community by performing.

“It is just doing something really positive and creative, because in our addiction it was disruptive and chaotic. So today is the complete opposite to how we were.”

Children from music school Singing’s Cool in Portslade performed for crowds in the main green.

Many festival-goers said they would miss the event if it were to be cancelled.

Darren Brighton, 46, from Patcham, said: “This is one of the busiest events they have in the park. If they close it would be an absolute travesty.

“I am surprised they are not getting the sponsorship as it is always busy. When there is nice weather usually it is absolutely heaving.”

Kelly Meyerhoff, 31, from Preston Park, said: “It is a family-oriented community event that happens every year, and it would be such a loss.”

The Friends of St Ann’s Well Gardens is a registered charity with the aim to preserve, restore and improve the gardens.

Funds raised from public donations at the festival have been used to publish a history of St Ann’s Well and fund emergency repairs and a fish rescue of the fish pond. For more information, visit