Last London Fields summer of love

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”.

Alex Daw, left, Melanie Robbins and Laurence Daw, organisers of the Little London Fields Festival this Saturday

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 August 2010, 11.30am-8.30pm, free.

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6 thoughts on “Last London Fields summer of love

  1. ‘Wild Willy’ you need to get one’s grip sir! I tweeted re: an accidental fire via straighteners as a joke aimed at my occasionally ‘ken’ like preener of a younger brother. If an honest, brotherly love-like joke can’t be uttered online what can? To then reference it as offering derogatory potential to a festival that in hindsight, factually had no essence nor physical presence of any fire or smoke like matter; Is frankly absurd!! Get a life, mine is consumed by this incredible festival among other cultural endeavors and your repost almost caused my hard drive to format itself on review of your nonsensical bilge! ‘Loving Dalston’ we love you but why let that sort of crap appear here? All of the information is wrong ‘Alwaldo’ is I, Alex Daw, an artist and Laurence studied Law, I can’t believe i’m even responding but this struck a chord and stank of familiarly dated and outmoded echoes that eschewed not so long ago via similar portals… oh well! Everyone else except the not so ‘wild’ Willy…I can assure you all that the festival will be an incredibly optimistic affair that anyone of any race, ilk, class, colour or creed can attend for FREE, we are supporting more local charities this year including St Josephs hospice, Art Against Knives and Core Arts! See you there ‘Willy’ 😉 AlxXx

  2. Slightly bad feel left by the “white” hipster London Fields thing on Saturday then the family “black” carnival event in Hackney Downs on Sunday…

  3. Perhaps I should substitute the Dancing Elvis pic bcs I failed in the one I first posted to capture their “un-creepiness”. Love the pros & cons re the Fields.

  4. Contemplating a little on all those awful burn marks on the grass on London Fields, here’s a little nugget for those who:
    a) can afford to indulge in Schadenfreude, and;
    b) hold true to the adage “You should treat the place as if it were your own home”.

    Little London Fields organiser, and ex-Leeds legal-eagle, Alex Daw twittered the following about his artistic Burnley brother, “Bro set his room on fire – straighteners?!? The rooms black, i smell of smoke, im tired and never want to see soot again.”

    It wasn’t to last. That Tweet was made in February and now it appears he wants to wreak havoc and revenge on the residents of London Fields. Maybe he’s become as fond of the sight of soot and smell of acrid smoke in the back of his throat as he has of second- and third-rate music.

    Perhaps Stephan Dedalus is right. It is already pretty much a no-go area if you want to take your young toddlers or elderly grandma for a peaceful walk (bikers, muggers, drug dealers, gang members or even just the Yuppies riding maverick along on the footpath and guffawing into their Apple I4 phones). The Council, Police and Park Rangers have utterly failed to make London Fields a safe area so why not let the whole place go wild and free, as Mr Dedalus suggests? Signs could be issued at each entrance to the park, warning “Lawlessness and feral behaviour may be expected beyond this point”. It would also do wonders to increase the sale of Broadway Market’s Kevlar vests.

  5. This, my good Sir, is an outrage. When I moved to London almost two years ago one of the things that struck me, and continues to strike me, is the wonderful, inventive and social usage of public space. Whether that be organised events such as the Whitecross Festival or ‘simply’ London Fields and the haze of barbecue smoke which creates such wonderful summer ambiance, this is, and will always be, what I find central to London being less a sprawling urban mess and more a soulful, connected and humane modern city.

    For the powers-that-be to draw a line under this wonderful free amenity is ill-thought and contrary to the public’s interest. When I say ill-thought I do, of course, mean brainless and this brainlessness is compounded by the seemingly infinite number of solutions which would be more effective and socially beneficial than patrolling the park and enforcing such a “blanket ban” (kudos on your comment surrounding that particular phrase). Why not install permanent barbecue facilities? Why not make barbecues available to the public that would not damage the grass, at a rental fee lower than it costs to buy a disposable barbecue? Or, and here’s a paradigm-smasher, why not just shut up and let people look after the park as they do presently?!

    I am a regular to London Fields and find that rubbish is not a major problem, anti-social activity is less prevalent than in parks that people frequent in smaller numbers… and the argument goes on.

    Anyway, we now live in “the big society” so why can WE not look after the park?


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