Despite challenges, a highly-anticipated festival was hailed a success, with nearly 1,500 in attendance to raise money for a hospice. 

Weldmar Hospicecare’s Music by the Lake festival returned to Dorchester Showground one final time with performances from various top tribute acts.

It was originally planned to be a three day festival, from Friday, July 5 to Sunday 7, however, the rain on Friday meant the first show had to be called off. The day would have featured tributes to Robbie Williams, Pink, and the Spice Girls.

 ABBA tribute actABBA tribute act (Image: James O'Neill)

Despite that disappointment, the rest of the weekend could continue as planned with lively performances from Abba, Madonna, and Duran Duran tribute acts. 

A number of festivalgoers had also been watching the quarter finals of Euro 2024 and as England beat Switzerland, a huge cheer went up across the crowd. 

Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, and Stevie Wonder acts wrapped up the festival at a more relaxed Sunday afternoon show.

Music by the Lake festival audience 2024Music by the Lake festival audience 2024 (Image: James O'Neill)

It was announced in May that this would be the last Music by the Lake, due to the significant time and costs to put the event on, in an increasingly competitive live events market. However, those attending were overwhelmingly positive.

One Facebook user said: “What a fantastic night, Shame it’s the last one. Well done to everyone on the planning and volunteering for this event. Excellent time had by us all.”

Stevie One - Stevie Wonder tributeStevie One - Stevie Wonder tribute (Image: James O'Neill)

Before the festival drew to a close, Weldmar’s Chief Operating Officer Matt Smith extended thanks to the many volunteers who helped to marshal the car parks and arena, and check guests in at the gate, among other duties.

There was also acknowledgement to the Mayo family, who own the site, for being so accommodating since Weldmar moved Music by the Lake to its new home in 2022, and to Hustings Electrical who have provided free electricity for the event during that time.

Duran Duran tributeDuran Duran tribute (Image: James O'Neill)

Music by the Lake was originally planned as a one off event at Kingston Maurward in 2019 to mark Weldmar’s 25th anniversary, but its success led to a decision to make it an annual event until the decision to bring it to an end this year – as Weldmar celebrates its 30th birthday.

A total raised by the event for Weldmar is yet to be finalised, with refunds on Friday tickets to be arranged.

A number of ticket holders have already indicated they will forego a reimbursement in order to support the charity.