Tag Archives: festival

Festival not OnBlackheath this year

Looks like the John Lewis / OnBlackheath music festival on the heath has now been postponed until September 2014, according to this comment from councillor Kevin Bonavia:

Lewisham Council has just been notified by OnBlackheath that they have decided not to go ahead with the event this year. I understand that OnBlackheath are now working on plans for September 2014, which we are likely to hear more about towards the end of this year.

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John Lewis Music Festival plans for Blackheath

UPDATE: OnBlackheath have decided to postpone the event, and are now thinking of September 2014 as the likely date. See post here.

The plan to host a music festival on the Heath has reappeared. OnBlackheath have applied to host a festival in September, sponsored by John Lewis.

See the email sent by the Blackheath Society earlier today:

We have received confirmation that OnBlackheath (previously NIMBY) has applied, at this late stage, to Lewisham Council for permission to hold a two day pop festival on the Heath on September 7th/8th. The event is apparently to be sponsored by John Lewis and called “John Lewis on Blackheath”. Little further information is currently available.

Members will recall that the Society lost its appeal against the granting of the Premises Licence for this event (in perpetuity) in 2011. However, we are fortunate that this current application takes place in the context of an Events Policy for the Heath agreed as a result of the earlier controversy, and with procedures well defined. Any such application has to be considered by the Blackheath Joint Working Party, and a detailed Event Management Plan has to be submitted and agreed before Lewisham issue any final permission.

We expect to play a full part in this process, and will keep members fully informed. The issues which caused serious concern last time will be re-examined in this exercise.

Members views and feedback are always welcome, at any stage.

Please play nicely in the comments…

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Pop music for old people

Podcast interview with Tom Waites, one of the organisers of the proposed pop festival here.

You can subscribe to the whole “In The Meantime” Podcast about Greenwich here (iTunes link).

Desperately needs compressing, normalising, and the interviewer to be nearer the mic or about 6 dB louder, but apart from that, it’s great to have a local podcast.

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BBC London News on the Festival Announcement

Spotted by @i_am_softlad

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Ouch…

Michelle O’Brien writes:

Pop fans have got themselves an annual festival on Blackheath starting in 2012 and Blackheath Society has got itself a hefty legal costs bill totalling £79,800 after its mammoth bid to stop the planned event was thrown out by court order.

“We are obviously pleased,” said a delighted NIMBY Events Ltd. director Tom Wates after Bromley Magistrates on Friday (July 22) ruled against the Society following the country’s reported longest ever running appeal hearing under licensing procedure. The appeal hearings started March 3.

“We are looking forward to the two-day OnBlackheath festival going ahead in September next year,” Mr. Wates said. “We have no hard feelings about Blackheath Society. We will continue to work with them and other community groups.”

The Society’s Chairman, Mr. Howard Shields, told reporters after the court ruling was announced: “Obviously we are disappointed – and surprised – at the Magistrates’ decision.”

Asked about reports that younger people living in the area mostly support the planned festival and see the Society as speaking only for Blackheath’s older and wealthier residents, Mr. Shields said: “We do agree that we must try harder to get our message over. We have got a communications challenge.”

The Society’s appeal was against a ruling by Lewisham Council’s licensing sub-committee giving the go-ahead for NIMBY to stage the OnBlackheath festival starting this year and continuing in perpetuity, with sale of alcohol.

But Mr. Wates and his co-directors had to cancel this year’s festival plans because of the time the overall appeal hearing has taken. The organisers aim to attract audiences of 25,000 on each of the festival’s two days, charging £45 per ticket per day.

The ruling by the two Magistrates (Mr. Roger Mills and Dr. Patrick Davies)hearing the appeal was scathing about Lewisham Council’s failure to publicise widely enough the original application to stage OnBlackheath.

“It should be the goal of any local authority to conduct its affairs in an open and transparent manner,” the ruling said. “In the weeks leading up to the original hearing by … Lewisham’s licensing sub-committee, in October 2010, there seems little evidence of this.

“This is evidenced by the large number of local residents (from both Greenwich and Lewisham) who were totally unaware of the (NIMBY) application until it was too late to make representations.

“The scale of the proposed event, coupled with the possible impact on the local community, both negative and positive, should, in our view, have caused Lewisham to widely publicise the application.”

The Magistrates’ ruling was equally scathing over the Council’s failure to notify Greenwich Council of the festival application.

“No formal notification was given to the London Borough of Greenwich. This we find astonishing, because a major event, attracting up to 50,000 people over two days, was being planned on a site just meters away from the mutual boundary of Greenwich and Lewisham.

“The chairman of … Greenwich’s licensing committee and their officers only became aware of the proceedings at a late stage. They too were denied the opportunity to make representations…

“In short, we feel that Lewisham, through its Licensing sub-committee, has not acted in an appropriate manner and has not had the interests of some of its residents at heart.”

But the Magistrates said that despite their criticisms of Lewisham Council “we do not find that the decision of the licensing sub-committee was wrong and in fact we consider that it was correct and therefore the (Society’s) appeal is dismissed.”

The Magistrates said although it would be impossible to eliminate all noise from the festival to surrounding areas they were confident it could be managed so as not to undermine the licensing objectives.

The resolution to launch the appeal was the unanimous but sole decision of the Society’s 13-member management committee. The committee did not
consult the Society’s membership comprising some 980 households before launching the legal appeal.

The Society, which bills itself “the Guardians of the Heath”, has asked its rank-and-file members to dig into their pockets and purses over and above the £15 average they pay in annual membership fees to help fund the cost of the appeal.

NIMBY’s barrister, Mr. Simon Taylor, told the court: “This appeal from day one had little or no merit.” He said it had achieved nothing from the point of view of Blackheath residents.

“There is not one single argument that the appellant has raised that you (the Magistrates) have not rejected,” he said. He accused the Society of intransigence and “of wasting everybody’s time and costs.”

He said the society was very well funded with assets of £400,000 while
Mr. Wates and his fellow NIMBY directors were “three family men who have had to dip into savings to fund this appeal.”

Mr. Taylor condemned the Society’s “foolishness” in doggedly ploughing on “regardless to the end” with its appeal instead of dropping it. “It’s my submission that the Blackheath Society from day one did not act logically in lodging this appeal,” he told the court.

Lewisham Council’s barrister, Mr. Edmund Walters, told the court: “It was not clear how many members of the Society were actually behind the appeal.” “On every legal point the Society has lost,” he added.

The Society’s barrister, Ms. Sarah LeFevre, agreed “the appeal was dismissed in every aspect” by the Magistrates. But she told the court: “It’s not fair to categorise this Society as a dog in the manger … We do say we had reasonable grounds for appeal.” Blackheath Society had done little to protract the proceedings, she said.

The appeal has occupied a total of seven days of hearings since the court proceedings started March 3. The appeal hearing was originally expected to last only two days. It has heard evidence from 16 witnesses called by the Society, two called by NIMBY and four called by Lewisham Cuncil

“Yes, it’s not a poor Society,” Ms. LeFevre told the court. But she said most of the registered charity’s £400,000 was in the form of property bequests.

Ordering costs against Blackheath Society, the Magistrates awarded £41,000 to NIMBY and £10,800 to Lewisham Council. With the Society’s own legal costs amounting to £28,000 this brings the total the Society has to pay in costs resulting from its appeal to £79,800.

“OUCH?” asked a reporter of Mr. John Hine, one of the Society’s management committee, who was in court.

“OUCH!” he agreed, adding: “We need younger members.”

Update:

Blackheath Society in a statement to its members after Friday’s court ruling acknowledged: “The total costs, including our own costs, that will have to be met (by the Society) is a very substantial sum, some £80,000.” It would be funded from Society reserves, the statement said.

NIMBY’s legal team had asked the Magistrates to order the Society to pay the full £140,000 costs incurred by NIMBY and Lewisham Council during the appeal. But the Magistrates declined to do this, saying the Society’s appeal had been “properly brought” and that Parliament had intended residents to have a say in the licensing process.

“This was reflected in their (the Magistrates’) order that the Society should pay less than 50% of the costs that NIMBY and Lewisham had claimed,” the Society’s statement said.

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Blackheath Bike and Kite Festival Cancelled

Blackheath Bike and Kite Festival
From the Blackheath Society’s website:

Bike & Kite Festival abandoned for 2011

The Society understands that this very successful event held in June will not take place this year as a result of the cuts. The Society is writing to Lewisham to request that the event be re-instated for 2012 – an important Jubilee year.

Such a shame. One of the best things about living in Blackheath. A really spectacular event. Ticks all the right boxes too – family friendly, encourages healthy lifestyles, etc. It’s something that was unique to the area. Maybe a rogue flash-mob festival should be organised regardless… Get the amazing Flying Squad kite flyers to come of their own accord (I’ve seen them practicing on the heath enough times), tell the organic chicken-burger-man from the farmer’s market to park his van by the side of the heath, and ask the crazy sound-system-on-a-morris-minor to provide the tunes.

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Blackheath Festival – leaflets appearing

Anti OnBlackheath music festival leaflet
Just received a copy of a leaflet that is being delivered near to the festival:

Why we are asking you to write to your MP about the OnBIackheath Festival due to be held very near here in September

Dear Neighbour,
We live nearby – at the top of Lewisham Hill, and are writing to you as neighbours. We don’t belong to any group.

On the 10th and 11th September a company cailed NIMBY Events are planning to hold a festival on the same part of the Heath that was used forthe Climate Camp last year.

There is nothing wrong with people having fun, or people making money.

But, festival organisers usuaily try to avoid disrupting local residents, especially young children. Like you, we live here and we think that the views of local peopie should be considered.

We are concemed about the OnBlackheath Festival for the following reasons:

  • It is being held in the first two weeks of the new September school term – keeping nursery and primary school children awake when they need to be resting for school
  • The event is licensed all weekend for all-day drinking until 10.30pm on Sunday night
  • Once the music and drinking stops, late on Sunday night, up to 25,000 people will be encouraged to head down Lewisham Hill to the station. Many will presumably hang around until later.

We do not have assurance that the organisers will have managed to clean up by the next momlng, when children walk across the heath to get to school. At other festivals it is not unknown for broken bottles, drug paraphernalia and other detritus to be found the next day.

The reason we’re writing to you is that the alcohol licence – which was granted for this and every subsequent year – has been challenged in court, and the festival might also need ministerial approval. So there is a short window of opportunity between now and the hearing on April for local people to make their views known. This may make all the difference, as the local MP, Heidi Alexander, says the letters she has received so far have been roughly half in favour, half against.

At the recent public meeting we asked the organisers if they would consider moving the Festival out of school term time to the summer holidays. They said no, because it might reduce attendance numbers.

You can email Heidi Alexander MP, at heidi.alexander.mp@parliament.uk or write to her at Heidi Alexander, MP for Lewisham East, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.

The best way of making your views known directly to the licensing appeal is to write to the magistrates at the following address: The Presiding Judge, Reg Case No: 011003910186, Greenwich Magistrates Court, The Court House, London Rd, Bromley, BR1 1RA

If you can, please do it before 15th April while there is still chance to influence the decision.

Thank you,
Simon and Abigail, local residents (simonandabigail at gmail.com)

It will be interesting to see how this plays out… I suspect the festival will go ahead regardless.

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Blackheath Music Festival – public meeting

As pointed out in the comments here, the organisers of the proposed music festival on Blackheath are holding a public meeting to discuss it on Friday.

The organisers of the OnBlackheath music festival will be holding a public information evening on Friday 18th March.
This will give a chance to hear from the team behind the event, as well as an opportunity to ask any questions.

This meeting will be held at Hollyhedge House (TA Building) on Wat Tyler Road at 7.30pm on Friday 18th March 2011.

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Pop Festival – the anti NIMBY nimby leaflet

Leaflet from the Blackheath Society - Two Day Pop Festival on Blackheath
Here’s the leaflet from the Blackheath Society about the proposed pop festival on the heath. I didn’t get one – maybe they were only distributed along the edges of the heath?

Text shown below – not because I necessarily agree with the sentiment!

TWO DAY POP FESTIVAL ON BLACKHEATH
SEPTEMBER 2011
A MESSAGE FROM THE BLACKHEATH SOCIETY

Are you aware that Lewisham Council has granted a licence for a company called NIMBY Events to put on a major Pop Festival on the Heath? It will be in the same location as the 2009 Climate Camp, but will occupy much more of the Heath. It has been fixed for 10/11th September 2011.

  • Major features [aside from loud music] include:
  • A start at midday each day and finish at 11.00 pm (10.30 pm on Sunday)
  • An audience of up to 25,000 on each day
  • Fully licensed bars until 30 minutes before the finish
  • Road closures
  • Licence granted in perpetuity

The Blackheath Society is concerned that the grant of this licence, with minimal conditions, will result in a major nuisance to local residents during the event as well as crime and disorder when the festival goers leave.

The Society is not against events on the Heath in principle, but expects them to be carefully planned and regulated. In this case, very little detail has been provided. If NIMBY is allowed to go ahead in this way, it will set a dangerous precedent.

We are therefore appealing the decision to the Magistrates Court in early March. This is a costly exercise, and we are looking for support beyond our existing membership.

lf you share our concern, and would like to support us or would like more information or give us your views – you can contact the Society on 020 8297 1937 (leave a message out of hours) or blackheath.soc@lineone.net Further details are also on our website: www.blackheath.org

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NIMBY Pop Festival on the Heath?

During the Blackheath Climate Camp, photo by Indymedia
After the Blackheath Climate Camp, photo by Indymedia

The mysterious NIMBY Events Ltd are planning a two day pop festival to be held every year in approximately the same place as the Climate Camp (but bigger). The first one is due to take place on September 10th-11th. Lewisham Council have approved the alcohol license (PDF should be here, but has disappeared). Glendale, the contractors who manage the park for Lewisham Council also approve of the deal. The Blackheath Joint Working Party have considered – and rejected the idea twice, but NIMBY continued with the application to the council despite this.

The Blackheath Society are now planning to fight this in the courts, and seem very opposed to it – as can be seen on the front page of their website.

There is another meeting of the Blackheath Joint Working Party on Thursday 3rd February, 7.30pm, in St Michael’s Church Hall, Blackheath Park, 1 Pond Road, SE3 9JL, where the plans will be discussed further.

I can’t help thinking that Twitter user ladywormhill could have a point:

The Climate Camp was unquestionably a successful event held on the heath. These would be paying punters, who wouldn’t tidy up after themselves, but the organisers would have to deal with this. The heath is a big place, and many smaller parks hold similar festivals occasionally without the sky falling on their heads. Opposing it outright seems to summon up images of a rather stuffy form of Nimbyism (unfortunate choice of name by the promoters)… Maybe the solution would be to grant a single license for one year, on the understanding that any additional year would also have to be approved.

Or I suppose the mysterious NIMBY events group could just do what the protesters did, and turn up without permission, assuming they wanted a free rave on the heath, not a profitable enterprise. I’m sure either outcome would be great for local businesses, and is arguably similar to what used to happen on the heath regularly a few centuries ago. UPDATE: Come to think of it, part of the heath was closed for a day recently to allow a golf tournament.

Photos showing before and after the Climate Camp, by Indymedia. If anyone knows anything more about the mysterious Nimby Events, please let me know.

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