EVEN torrential downpours could not stop thousands of families, friends and faithful pets dancing the weekend away at the third Upton International Music Festival.

People travelled from far and wide for the three-day festival, which boasted a jam-packed line-up including The Beat, Mungo Jerry, Dr & The Medics and Britain’s Got Talent contestants Mr Zip and the Jive Aces.

Festival co-organiser Steve High said the number of people attending the festival over the weekend had exceeded expectations and organisers were delighted with the support they received.

He said: “We had a fantastic turnout and fantastic acts.

“We were hoping for a few thousand and we exceeded our expectations.

“The support has been absolutely great, even in the downpour on Friday night.

“The Jive Aces were brilliant and Union Gap had everyone dancing despite the weather.

It’s a great family occasion, that’s what it’s meant to be and the music reflects that.”

Mandy Woodhouse won tickets to the festival and a helicopter ride from Gloucester to the venue thanks to our sister newspaper, the Worcester News.

She was accompanied by her husband, John, and her friend Sheila Doyle, who celebrated her birthday on Saturday.

Although take-off was delayed due to bad weather, Mrs Woodhouse said it was worth it.

She said: “It was spectacular.

I’ve never been in a helicopter before, none of us have. It’s a great prize to win. I felt like a rock star when we landed.

“We had to wait for the weather to stop but it was well worth waiting. We could see the festival as we were coming in. It was a great experience.”

During the day, the trio went backstage and took in the sights and sounds of the festival, including a performance by The Move.

Mrs Woodhouse said: “It was fantastic. We had a brilliant time.

“It’s a really relaxed family sort of festival, lovely and chilled. It definitely lived up to expectations.”

Sonia Hyatt travelled from Cheltenham to the festival with her husband Dan and daughters Catherine, aged four, and Charlotte, one. She said: “We came last year with the girls and really enjoyed it. It’s not a huge festival so you can still keep an eye on everyone.

“We all enjoy the music and we do a lot of camping. It’s nice going camping and being able to listen to music.”