Locals start campaign against Brockwell events
Herne Hill residents have launched new a website in response to Lambeth Council's proposal that Brockwell Park be turned into a venue for large commercial events in 2018, such as Field Day and Lovebox.
The campaign is asking locals to protect the Park and community from oversized events by pledging not to vote for any councillor that does not support a more locally beneficial policy. The site and Pledge have been up for only a few days but have already received nearly 1000 signatures. The group are confident they can get enough to make it clear to councillors this is an issue that could cost them their seat.
Lambeth Council say that Field Day and Lovebox are only under consideration, with community opinions being listened to, but both events are already publicising themselves as moving to Brockwell Park and Lovebox is even selling tickets on that basis. Both events will enclose an area the size of the Lambeth Country Show with security fencing, last for three days (Friday to Sunday) and sell 40,000 tickets a day. Including set-up and take-down time each will be in the Park for three weeks at the height of the summer.
As well as the problems caused for locals and to the Park environment and wildlife, the campaign also highlights that these events are poor value for gig-goers. With tickets around £65 each, ‘City Festivals’ generate millions for organisers by squeezing into ever smaller spaces, meaning longer queues, less facilities and less music for those who come.
Campaign organisers are not against all events in their Park, but want an approach that doesn't damage the local community and economy. Issues they want to highlight include:
- Pushing out locals: as City Festivals become big business a growing number are oversized for the sites they occupy. Set-up and take-down can be up to three weeks per event, and the Park becomes a no-go area for locals due to noise, crowds, rubbish and disruption
- Poor value for communities: Lambeth Council won’t disclose the amount offered by the companies behind Field Day and Lovebox, making it impossible for residents to know if they are getting a good deal. Nor is Lambeth pushing organisers to include local bands and brands
- Damaging the local economy: Local businesses are suffering. Lambeth say events are good for trade, but on event days there is a drop-off in footfall as locals stay away and gig-goers don't spend
- Poor value for gig-goers: Large events are being squeezed into spaces that can't provide the facilities or space crowds need. 2017's Sunfall Festival was hosted in Brockwell and saw queues so large many ticket holders abandoned it
As well as fielding opinions from locals, the campaign organisers are keen to hear from Herne Hill businesses and musicians. They aim to push Lambeth to adopt a policy that favours events that include local suppliers, and give a platform to local brands and bands.