Last summer Field Day and Mighty Hoopla held a three day music festival over the first weekend of June. The license they were granted in April 2018 for a time limited festival and the permission authorised in February were for a festival of 33,000 with an event footprint of around a third of the total area of the park. It was for one year only and at the time of the post event debrief in October we were informed that Field Day would not be making an application to hold the event in the park for 2019.
Mighty Hoopla has however applied to hold a two-day event for 2019. This is for an event of around 25,000 people over two days with a smaller event footprint than last year. In keeping with last year, this is proposed to be an event focused on the LGBT community on the Saturday and a Jazz festival on the Sunday. The dates they are applying for are the 8-9th of June and the set-up programme is promised to be more limited than last year.
In December 2017 we held a consultation event with Thurlow Park residents – a write up of which can be found here – where there was significant concern about events in the park. Based on these findings we came to the conclusion that restrictions on the size and scale of events in the park were needed. When the event took place there were significant concerns about the three-week set-up period for Field Day and Mighty Hoopla and the way it blocked access to the park. Of particular concern was the erection of large security barriers over much of the park, giving the impression that large parts of the park were out-of-bounds for nearly two and half weeks prior to the festival.
Whilst Mighty-Hoopla’s current application is smaller than last year and closer to what we as your councillors argued for in 2018, we understand there will still be considerable concerns about the event that is why there will be a public drop-in session with the event organisers on the 27th February in Herne Hill. Details can be found here:
After this point the applicant will be applying for a license through the statutory licensing process. We will be submitting a representation on noise levels to ensure that the high standards of last year are not only maintained but also extended to tackle the noise problems in the Croxted Road area last year. We also want all of the conditions, which applied to Field Day’s licence to continue over to this year. In the event that any of these conditions are not met or the festival organisers are unwilling to meet these conditions we would recommend that the event does not go ahead.
In our work in response to this event application so far, we have also secured conditions that the high level of security that surrounded last year’s event days in terms of stewards and security personnel, will continue and we want to see this as a condition of their license. We are determined that the relatively lax security regime surrounding the festivals in the park in 2016 will never be a feature of any future commercial event in the park.
During the 2018 Council elections we made a commitment to work towards ending the dependence of the park on music festivals and ensure that a stable financial footing was found for the park. We have continued to support the Brockwell Park Community Partners (BPCP) on-going project to regenerate Brockwell Hall as a venue that could host weddings and other commercial events, with a direct revenue stream into the park. This has successfully completed the first stage of the application for a multi-million pound Heritage Lottery Fund grant.
We have also been working on proposals to redevelop the disused football pitches to convert them into a site, which can be rented out for sports training, including five-a -side football leagues, with the income going into the running of the park. We are also looking at a number of other options none of which involve fenced-off commercial events to allow the park to be run on a sustainable financial footing.
Simply to keep Brockwell Park open, the bins cleared and the grass cut costs over £400,000 each year. Due to on-going austerity from central government the park service has been severely cut in recent years with millions being squeezed from Lambeth’s parks budget. All events that take place in the park have to pay three sources of money; a commercial rent to the council, a Park Infrastructure Levy (PIL), which is paid directly into the park, and a damage deposit to act as security against any expenses occurred in repairing damage. The commercial rent for an event like Field Day in 2018 is in excess of £200,000 and PIL – which goes directly into Brockwell Park – was over £36,000. All costs of fixing the park were also born by the event organisers. Field Day also ran an extensive community fund, which put sums of money into a number of projects in and around the park including the BMX track.
Following a reorganisation of the events and parks department, the delayed review of the events policy will be taking place this month. This is something we as your Councillors have been campaigning hard on as we want to ensure that environmental impact assessments are carried out before events take place and that set up times are reduced where possible to guarantee residents access to the park at all times.
This will be starting in the next two weeks and we will be arranging to hear from residents on this process shortly with an interactive group session to be held in the ward in the next few weeks to gauge opinion on the matter.