Southwark has agreed to a  ‘massive’ music festival on the area in the Park facing the Harris Boys School (see plan above) . The site area will be surrounded by a solid wall of steel fencing and will be off limits to non-paying public for nine days. It is estimated that 8,000 people will attend the event on the main day, plus the 800 or so performers and staff etc. No numbers have been given for the second day, about which little seems to be fixed. The hours of the event will be from 11am to 10.30pm. Tickets will cost from £15 to £40 depending on when they are bought. The main event on the Sunday is targeted at those aged 21-45. No-one under 18 will be admitted. A lot of the arrangements for both days are vague and TBC. The event, known as 'Gala', has previously been held in Brockwell Park, where it was half the size planned for Peckham Rye Park. On the weekend the event is being held all local stations with the exception of Honor Oak will be closed, which means many people will be coming and/or leaving by road.

The Friends of Peckham Rye Park were not consulted before Southwark council agreed to rent the site to the event organisers, We Are the Fair,  and were made aware of the event only when the licensing application was advertised. The Friends objected to a licence being granted but it has been. The Friends main concerns are

*   Peckham Rye Park is one of London's  few registered heritage parks and is unsuitable for an event of this kind

*     The Park’s heritage assets (Sexby Garden etc) will be highly vulnerable to damage as entrance and exit to the event is through the park. Thousands of   alcohol-fuelled people can, and quite likely will, cause a lot of damage. And in addition to the  estimated 8,800 attendees on the first day, there is likely to be a substantial overspill of people who come but choose not to pay the entrance fee and stay outside the enclosed site.

*    The event area seems far too small to accommodate three stages, numerous food stalls, around 100 toilets and 9,000 people. The site is also unsuitable because of the trees it includes, which will need protecting, and because it is naturally boggy.  After such heavy use the site could take months to recover. Damage to the heritage assets of the Park outside the site could take years to put right.

*  The park is a public amenity and to have a significant part of it privatised and closed off for 9 days is not acceptable. 

*   While occasional small-scale community events on the Park or Common are welcome, this is far too big and not a community event:  no children are allowed on the main day, many of those attending will be from outside the borough and some are coming from as far away as Scotland and Australia. The local community, who have not been consulted, are the ones who will not benefit as they will suffer from the noise and disruption and having their access to and quiet enjoyment of the park significantly reduced for over a week.  

We will keep you informed of developments.