No love lost over park festival

BY CALUM FRASER
shuz@slpmedia.co.uk

Residents are fighting festival giant Lovebox to stop it from moving onto a nearby park. Brixton residents were stunned by Lovebox’s announcement early last week that  it was moving to Brockwell Park next summer.

A petition set up by BrockwellStreets.org, a campaign group for residents living around Brockwell Park, is calling on the council to put a hold on Lovebox’s ambitions.

Alice Salisbury of BrockwellStreets.org  said: “The general feeling is shock and dismay.

“I don’t think these massive festivals are sustainable.

“Commercial companies ship in big generic artists and make millions while the local communities rarely benefit.

“There needs to be more of a balance.  Brixton has an awesome cultural and musical history. We are calling for smaller festivals that include more local bands, brands and artists.”

Mrs Salisbury lives in Brixton Water Road which will be one of the entrances to the festival if the
proposals go ahead. When they first set up the petition they were hoping to get a thousand signatures in a month but they have achieved this target in less than a week.

“The next step is to formally ask for a meeting with the council. We want all wards united in this cause,” Mrs Salisbury said.

Speaking about Lovebox on twitter Lambeth Councillor Jim Dickson, cabinet member for healthier and stronger communities, said: “It isn’t confirmed or even recommended as consultation has barely started – they appear to have jumped the gun big time.”

Cllr Sonia Winifred, cabinet member for equalities and culture, said: “Brockwell Park is incredibly important for this borough which is why the council invests heavily in its maintenance, and why we carefully manage all event applications.

“There are two new commercial events over six-days proposed for Brockwell Park this summer.

“Before they are confirmed there will be several layers of rigorous scrutiny that include licensing, Safety Advisory Group, community engagement and planning permission that all need to be cleared before an event permit is granted and can proceed.

“Throughout that process, the views and concerns of residents are carefully considered.

“If agreed, these will be carefully managed events where 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.”

The festival started as an outdoor event in 2003 on Clapham Common before moving to Victoria Park in East London in 2005. Last year about 50,000 people attended the event. Lovebox founder Jools Butterfield said: “Large outdoor events are our business. It’s vital that we plan and operate them with a minimum amount of disruption to the local area.

“We will continue to work with Lambeth council, its officers and the local councillors to ensure the event is a success for all involved.

“We appreciate that it is a great privilege to be able to hold these events in London parks and we believe in building trust and honouring our commitments.

“We’re keen to ensure residents and stakeholders are kept well informed as we prepare for the events in July.

“We will fully consult residents and stakeholders and feedback we receive will form part of our licence application process.”


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