Local police issued an apology on Saturday night to residents living around Lloyd Park after the first day of the weekend-long Garage Nation music festival staged in the public park.
The event organisers claimed to have sold out all its tickets to 8,000 “ravers” for its three-stage mini-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 bars.
But local residents were angry that they had had little or no consultation from Croydon Council, who licensed the event and stood to rake-in tens of thousands of pounds in fees for the use of the park, sections of which had been fenced off from the public for a week.
Some residents claimed that the first they knew about the Garage Nation event was when they read Inside Croydon’s report last week. Others said that they received no information from the council until just 24 hours before the festival was due to begin, leaving them with little opportunity to make alternative arrangements to cope with the various road closures imposed.
According to some, the Lloyd Park tram stop was closed all weekend, which will have removed one obvious means for festival-goers to attend the event by public transport, rather than driving. Others, though, have questioned the reliability of this information.
On Saturday night, Metropolitan Police’s Park Hill and Whitgift local team published a tweet in which they said, “We apologise for inconvenience caused, including parking and noise.
“The council have been enforcing parking and many many parking tickets issued!”
Today, in the aftermath of Garage Nation 2022, a debate began on social media among members of parks friends groups. The event appears to have passed off without major concern beyond the usual grumbles about inconsiderate parking, loud music and incidents of littering and people urinating in private gardens.
The overriding complaint, again, appeared to be Croydon Council’s failure to inform the residents they are supposed to serve.
On Facebook, David White, of the Friends of Lloyd Park, wrote, “Clearly there are things that need to be improved on for future large events in the Park.
“However, on the positive side, Lloyd Park was able to host a music festival that attracted a genuinely mixed young crowd from all over south London and beyond.
“Often they will have been experiencing Lloyd Park for the first time. That’s something of which Croydon can be proud.”
But Josi Kiss, who is involved in the residents’ group for Park Hill Park, still had reservations after the first day of the event.
“Let’s hope the organisers, council and police learn a few lessons… Day One’s noise levels were crazy. You could clearly hear the DJs and music in South Croydon, by Ruskin House, a mile away,” Kiss wrote.
“Along with the extreme volume and closed tram stop, those people living next to Lloyd Park had to endure numerous people urinating and even defecating in their gardens and blocking their roads and driveways, despite roads being closed.
“When questioned, those parking said they were performers and allowed to park. The traffic wardens made a fortune for Croydon Council, but didn’t move cars on.
“This poor level of organisation doesn’t bode well for next year when Croydon is London Borough of Culture and more festivals are being encouraged.”
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