A large section of Crystal Palace Park will be fenced off from the public for around three weeks this summer, as the Wireless Festival returns at the start of July.
Wireless was staged in south London for the first time last year, the three-night “turbo-twerking” rap event featuring 50 different acts and drawing 150,000 concert-goers, paying around £70 a time. But the event also attracted controversy, when one star was arrested by police before they went on stage and it was connected to reports of shots being fired at another rapper’s after-party.
It was the traffic chaos caused that exercised Crystal Palace residents over the Wireless weekend, making almost the first task in their job as the Crystal Palace Park Trust’s new chief executive to be the issuing of an apology to residents and local businesses affected by the disruption.
With the Trust poised to take over the management of the park from Bromley Council in 12 months’ time, and in need of money-spinning events, such as the Wireless Festival, to help meet the costs of managing the park, great efforts are being made to keep the Crystal Palace public on-side before this summer’s events, which will see Festival Republic, the private promoters, also stage three community gigs in the old Palace’s terrace area in the week after Wireless.
Wireless will be held from Friday, July 1, through to Sunday July 3.
There will be a free youth concert on July 6, the Royal Philharmonic will perform on July 7 and there is to be a “sporting and music event” on July 9.
Festival Republic say that “there will be a total of up to seven event days during the first two weeks of July”. They have one further event still to be announced, planned for Sunday July 10.
The set-up of the stage and concert area will begin on June 21, when parts of the park will be fenced off until de-rigging is finished on July 14.
Festival Republic have distributed a letter from their director, Melvin Benn, to more than 16,000 addresses in the areas around the park.
In it, Benn says, “Festival Republic are working closely with Crystal Palace Park Trust, Bromley Council, Metropolitan Police, London Ambulance Service, other statutory bodies and relevant local authorities to ensure the events this summer are a success.
“We have heard your feedback and comments from 2021 and our team are working hard to continue to improve in 2022. We want to hear your views, queries and concerns and will be sharing our plans and keeping you updated through our dedicated website [due to go live on April 9] and through a number of community engagement meetings.”
And they say, “It is important to us that we keep you, the local community, informed and provide details for you to keep in touch with us. Your home or property is close to Crystal Palace Park and we want to make sure that you are kept informed and have a way to contact us.
“This is the first letter drop that will be made by Festival Republic for its events this year. The next letter drop is anticipated to occur next month and will include additional information about traffic and parking management and other topics.”
The organisers and the Trust’s engagement sessions start this Wednesday, April 6, from 4pm to 7pm at the Brown and Green Café, Thicket Road, SE20 8DS.
Then the next session is on Friday, April 8 from 1pm to 3pm at Upper Norwood Library, 39 Westow Hill, Norwood, London SE19 1TQ.
There will also be what the organisers call “more structured” online virtual meetings, on April 6 from 11am to 12.30pm and on April 8 from 4pm to 5.30pm.
“If you would like to join an online session, please email with your name, email address and preferred meeting date to firstname.lastname@example.org and a Zoom link will be sent to you.”
- Festival Republic are also offering a two-year digital marketing apprenticeship, “in support of its activities at Crystal Palace Park, and in partnership with Crystal Palace Park Trust… for a resident of one of the five London boroughs that surround the park”. For more information about the position, click here.
- Click here for Festival Republic’s letter in full
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The park has hosted large gatherings and live music since the Palace itself was relocated from Hyde Park. Whilst it is great for the audience to be sitting on the grass, in the open air, enjoying music, I hope that the Trust get the balance right so that the park–its grass already worn out in many places such as near the main lake and new cafe — doesn’t end up brown and bald.
The sad rotting concrete decks of the concert “bowl” structure need to be removed and replaced (with more lake and less deck?) and the area be brought back into use. As the surrounding grassy bowl in which the audience sits is on South London clay (very wet) the Trust will need to do something about making the soil less damp or it too, will get compacted and the grass will get worn out.
I really hope that Classical concerts and others making use of the water will be staged in future. Why should Kenwood in North London have all the action?
If only the National Sports Centre (NSC) stadium could be redesigned to host music as well as sports events , some of the pressure on the park would be reduced. Get rid of one of the stands, and have ampitheatre-like seating perhaps ??? The running track is never going to be the London venue for major athletic events, now we have the Olympic park, but could it be redesigned to host outdoor music in Summer? It sits in a hollow, which could be restored to green space if the fencing and NSC structures and buildings were stripped out on the South and West sides.
I haven’t heard anything from the NSC consultation team for ages. Must find out what they are doing.
Apologies, I meant “rotting timber decks” making up the concert bowl platform, not concrete. The problem with timber decking over water is that only the best quality decking timbers, whether guaranteed 40-year treated softwood or certain hardwoods, will last a long time. The modern steel structure above the stage it is made in “Cor ten” steel, which rusts to a certain degree, then seals itself. Some perimeter “marginal planting” of reeds and water iris around the pond would make it look more natural.
They must have very short arms as they didn’t reach as far as me, and I live right next to the park.