THE SUMMER OF LOVE THAT has been London Fields this year couldl be its last.
So annoyed are some residents by the mini Glastonbury that has evolved that they are determined to end it.
London Fields Users Group (LFUG) describes the problem as “uncontrolled parties… BBQs… bonfires… heavy drinking… selfish people hogging the space… leaving plastic and paper, empty cans, empty bottles and bottletops and of course the ubiquitous fag ends”.
The group summoned a councillor and an official from Hackney council to discuss how to end the informal gatherings that have drawn partiers from around the capital to hold picnics and barbecues.
The councillor talked continually of a “blanket ban”. He probably meant simply “ban” — but it was tempting to wonder whether he wanted a ban on picnic blankets.
The council official tried a different tack, deploying a barrage of New Labour Speak: terms such as “strategies, results, outcomes, options, committees, recommendations, signing off: and “address grassroot [sic — no joke seemed to be intended] issues”. If interpretation were possible, it could mean only “No meaningful action”.
LFUG members have felt so helpless they have resorted to making small white wooden crosses and putting them on the grass burns left by portable BBQs.
What the members want is for the council to institute the ban that already exists on lighting fires in the park; the council wishes the members would go away.
They will not: chairman Mike Martin assured Loving Dalston that the BBQ nights will end.
Paradoxically, the group first had to entertain a presentation from some Big Society types who have raised about £20,000 from private sponsorship to stage a free festival in… of all places, London Fields.
With obviously some reluctance, LFUG gave its approval to the very kind of event it opposes, regulated though it will be. Expect barbecues all over the Fields.
David Altheer 020710
* The Little London Fields Festival’s several stages will feature many acts: press the hyperlink for details.
Little London Fields Festival Saturday 7 August 2010, 11.30am-8.30pm, free.