THREE cheers this morning for Newport City Council and everyone else involved in organising and delivering this year's Big Splash festival.

Despite a time of severe austerity in the public sector, this year's festival was bigger and better than ever and highlighted Newport at its very best.

There was truly something for everyone - old and young - at the weekend and great weather, particularly on Sunday, helped to bring the crowds to the city's riverfront.

Rock bands and church choirs, fun fairs and performance artists, fireworks and classical music, face painting and world record hula-hooping - the Big Splash was a weekend packed with fun that brought smiles to the faces of the thousands who visited the festival.

The long-term future of the festival has been questioned, given the millions of pounds Newport council is faced with saving as a result of Whitehall cuts.

But the Big Splash must not fall victim to cost-cutting.

More commercial sponsors may have to be sought, but the event sends such a positive message about Newport to its own citizens and those who visit from other areas that its value cannot simply be measured in pounds and pennies.

The Big Splash is a roaring success and puts Newport firmly on the map at the start of festival season.

Again, well done to everyone involved in the festival and long may it continue.