All Points East festival 2023
This year, one of Britain’s favourite parks, Victoria Park, was again host to a major music festival, All Points East. While improvements have been made by the event organisers in recent years, I object to the events being held in the park in August school holidays, given that many surrounding residents do not have their own outside space and rely on the park for exercise and recreation.
Residents complain every year about a range of issues from noise levels during the events, the high boards erected which blight a huge stretch of parkland, churned up ground from the heavy vehicles used to build the festival site and the fact that a large part of the park is not accessible for up to 3 weeks during the festival.
Despite all these issues, Tower Hamlets council has seemed determined to retain the major events contract, currently held by organisers AEG Worldwide.
The amount of money the council gets from the festivals is not public, but clearly the council leadership is willing to accept the level of disruption caused by the events because of the funds they get from the event.
The current programme of events is somewhat improved to that of previous years which saw several festivals hosted in the park over the summer meaning the park was dominated by events for even longer than it is now.
Furthermore, improvements in sound monitoring and projection equipment means noise levels are constantly monitored during events, and sound engineers make responsive adjustments to the volume when needed.
Current organisers have made improvements to how they set up for the events, by keeping walking routes through the site open for as long as possible, moving equipment around using alternative routes rather than the high-traffic tarmac path around the park.
Further improvements include
My work this year
This year, I engaged with the festival organisers to put my concerns directly to them. My main concern was the fact that the event takes place in the month of August which is during school summer holidays, a time when children in the local area need to be able to use the park to play and exercise.
The event contract which the organisers have with Tower Hamlets Council allows AEG Worldwide to choose the timing of their event. AEG’s excuse for the timing of the event was that August was the best time to get the very best performers due to European touring schedules. I put it to them that All Points East is a world-class event, having received multiple awards in recent years. For this reason, they should have no difficulty in securing world-class performers who are happy to play to a London audience.
I also attended a site walkabout with local residents just before the event. Residents raised questions about: worries that the stakes for the protective boards put into the ground too close to the parks’ trees; and the employment opportunities for local residents, especially for young people, offered by the organisers
A photo from the walkabout I attended in August with the Friends of Victoria Park and local residents.