For the second time this summer, Croydon Council has caused anger among the people they are meant to serve, with wide-ranging complaints from residents living in and around Lloyd Park they have had little or no information about a major event for thousands of “ravers” being staged on their doorstep this weekend.
Garage Nation returns to Croydon on Saturday and Sunday, with an event where an expected 8,000 “ravers” (their word, not ours) are paying up to £70 per ticket for a festival of grime and garage music, drum and bass and jungle, with around 100 acts to perform across three stages, plus fairground attractions, food stalls and a whole lot of sun…
Performances are supposed to run from noon until 10pm on Saturday, and from noon until 9pm on Sunday.
Another event, MattsBBQ, which was staged on Purley Way playing fields earlier in the summer, attracted widespread complaints from residents, who felt the council had failed to inform them of the impending arrival of thousands of party-goers, together with the traffic and disruption they would create.
The council was also slated for failing to provide adequate staff at the weekend to monitor traffic and parking, and a lack of adequate policing for such a large event.
But Town Hall chiefs have failed to learn any lessons, and the council has presented residents living in and around Lloyd Park, as well as regular park users from across south London, with an information vacuum ahead of this weekend’s sold-out event.
Then, the local police were underwhelmed by the prospect, and there were the expected issues around unauthorised car parking (the organisers specify festival-goers should not drive to this weekend’s festival), littering, some people urinating in private gardens, and drug use. But in the main, Garage Nation 2021, with around 11,000 attendees, passed off reasonably peacefully.
For Garage Nation 2022, they’ve moved to the broader expanses of Lloyd Park (albeit with the after-party planned for somewhere in trendier Brixton), but with a smaller number of tickets available. By the start of August, the organisers announced that they had sold out for Saturday’s event.
Fencing went up last week around the main area of the park, close to the café and tram stop. Regular events, like the weekly kids’ Junior Parkrun, were forced to cancel without notice. Small businesses, such as the people who run the café, have also been left in the dark.
Jade Appleton, the Tory councillor for Park Hill and Whitgift, had been lobbying the council for more information from her hospital bed (the councillor is now recovered). But she did not seem to be successful in getting much response either from council staff, nor from the Garage Nation organisers, despite their offer to provide tickets to residents.
Several who contacted Garage Nation to take them up on their offer said that they had no reply.
“I’m aware residents and groups have expressed concerns around the Lloyd Park festival this weekend,” Appleton tweeted this week.
“I’ve chased up security for the café, expressed concern about lack of resident engagement and response from [the organisers].”
One factor – or is it Factor 10? – which does not appear to have been given much consideration by the Garage Nation organisers is their restrictions on their festival-goers from bringing in fluids, including water bottles, or even sun cream to the event that is being staged in the middle of a Met Office-declared heatwave.
The Crystal Palace Park Trust last night announced it was cancelling its scheduled public activities in its park for the rest of this week because of the amber health warnings issued by the authorities over the high temperatures.
Garage Nation, meanwhile, with so many tickets sold, appears to be pressing ahead with their event.
“No liquids or sprays can be brought in,” the FAQs on their website states, “as these all have to be checked before entry and can hold up entry times.” Good to see they have their priorities sorted.
“There will be complimentary perfumes and deodarant [sic] sprays available at the merchandise stand.” Which is nice, but hardly much help in reducing possible cases of sunburn or heat stroke in the anticipated 35-degree temperatures.
The organisers say that they will be providing tap water from their bar areas.
“100ml of sun cream is allowed to be brought in, this will need to be tested on yourself before entry,” the organisers say, obligingly.
This might prove to be one music festival staged in Croydon where the ravers end up getting more heated than the residents.
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