Council plans smaller country show in June

Lambeth council is proposing to move the Lambeth Country Show from July to June in an effort to save money.

If the proposals are agreed, the 49th show would take place on Saturday and Sunday 10 and 11 June this year, immediately after commercial Brockwell Live events in the park.

The country show would use existing infrastructure from the commercial events to save money.

It would remain a free event.

A document before the council says that the cost of last year’s show, the first after a two-year Covid gap, was just over £1m.

The budget for this year’s show will be little more than a third of that at £370,000.

Last year’show had 63,463 visitors over the weekend. Some 600 visitor surveys – too few to be statistically significant – indicated that just over half (54%) of visitors were Lambeth residents.

People aged 24 to 34 were the largest single group of visitors at 28%. For more than a third (36%) of visitors it was their first time at a Lambeth Country Show.

“The council cannot afford to continue providing the country show in its existing format but does not wish to end the show, as it is a fundamental element of the borough’s cultural offer,” the document before the council says.

“The only option allowing the show to remain as a large-scale, free-to-enter, weekend event, which is affordable for the authority, is to combine it with major commercial events, allowing all of the necessary infrastructure to be shared.”

This year’s show “will be on a reduced footprint compared to the 2022 event and it will not be possible to accommodate every element of the 2022 show,” the document says.

Other options considered included continuing the show as a standalone event costing more than £1m; putting it on over the May half term; and ending it altogether and replacing it with the Brockwell Bounce “community event”.

The show this year will be produced by Manchester-based We Organise Chaos which will retain any income generated from traders and bar arrangements, so reducing Lambeth’s contribution.

The council document says that changing the show from a standalone event to one using existing infrastructure will significantly reduce its negative environmental impacts, particularly in relation to transportation of infrastructure and personnel to and from the event.