People living near Brockwell Park have launched a campaign to stop its use for large-scale events that would exclude the local community from the park for days.
They are urging both residents and gig-goers to make a series of pledges in a bid to influence Lambeth council which, they say, is not pushing event organisers hard enough to feature “local bands and brands”.
Two large events, Field Day and Lovebox seem set on using the park in 2018. Both have been forced to stop using Victoria Park in Tower Hamlets, East London, after the US-based Anschutz Entertainment Group bought the rights from the local council to hold events there. Field Day’s plans came to light when it wrote to residents about the event, which is planned for 2 June, saying Brockwell Park was its “new home”.
Lambeth council said that neither event has yet received full planning permission. Councillor Sonia Winifred, council cabinet member for equalities and culture, said: “There are two new major commercial events proposed for Brockwell Park in June and July. Several layers of rigorous scrutiny, including licensing, safety advisory group, community engagement and planning permission, must be achieved before an event can proceed.”
She said the concerns of residents would be carefully considered. “If agreed,” she said, “these events will be carefully managed so any disruptions for locals will be minimised, apprenticeships will be offered, local businesses will be boosted and extra money will be received to help fund the Lambeth Country Show and pay for park improvements.”
Last year’s Sunfall event in the park, with about 20,000 visitors saw queues of up to four hours. Field Day has had 35,000 visitors and Lovebox 40,000. Campaign organiser Alice Salisbury said none of its supporters were against music in Brockwell Park, but they wanted them properly planned and organised. She was prominent in a successful campaign in 2012 to stop the construction of a four-storey block of flats at the Brixton Water Lane edge of the park.
Probably the biggest gig that Brockwell Park has seen was organised by Rock Against Racism in 1979 when an estimated 150,000 people watched Aswad, Elvis Costello, Stiff Little Fingers and Misty in Roots. The park became Lambeth’s first-ever Green Heritage award winner in the 2017 Green Flag awards. In 2018 swans raised cygnets in the park for the first time in decades and a kingfisher was spotted on one of its ponds. Lambeth council’s events policies would allow up to eight major events a year in Brockwell Park and other large open spaces in the borough.