|Brentford Festival 2012 Is Cancelled|
Event mastermind Linda Massey explains why
The Brentford Festival held at Boson Manor Park for the last seven years will not go ahead this year.
A row between the organisers and the council contractors over proposals to charge to stage the popular community event have meant it has been cancelled.
Organisers say they were asked to make financial & legal commitments which, as a non-profit community group manned by unpaid volunteers, was not possible.
Dave Viney, the festival’s music manager said, ''It is appalling that the Council has apparently abdicated any responsibility for free community events in public parks – the Brentford festival was a unique opportunity for local musicians to showcase their talents and entertain local residents in a festival environment – together with their oppressive regulation of live music in pubs & clubs, the Council seem hell-bent on exterminating live music in the borough.''
It is possible that the Festival will be transferred to another site in the Brentford/Ealing area but, unlikely to be on the same scale as previously.
Linda Massey - Brentford festival organiser writes, 'There are various stories and emails floating around about the Brentford Festival being cancelled and the reasons why this has happened. I have purposely stayed out of the discussions having been so close to the event for the past 7 years but instead Dave Viney the music Manager and John Bradley Chair of Trustees, Friends of Boston Manor were the delegation who met with the council, John Laing (JLIS) and Continental Landscapes in December last year.
Last year, when we were advised that the land managers, JLIS wished to charge for the event to go ahead we expressed our dismay and were prepared to bring a closure to the event in 2011 as a matter of principle. We did not and do not see that Council contractors should be profiting from the efforts of members of the community putting on what is seen as a well organised event for the community. LBH came to the rescue and paid the bill which we understand to be in the region of £6,000. Not the lesser figure that has been mentioned by Hounslow and quoted in the Hounslow Chronicle recently. This makes us smart – they are already getting paid by the Council to manage the parks; council tax payers are already paying towards their public open space so to profit for the reasons mentioned did not and does not wear well with the committee.
The delegation asked three simple things.
On the first point we have learnt that Continental Landscape and JLIS will be parting company by the end of March. The contract, we understand, will be managed by JLIS in-house. From the festival point of view this means that there is no hope for progress as JLIS never responded formally to our requests. They suggested to the delegation that we charged more for the commercial element of the event which does not sit well with us and we are advised that they still require their fee.
…. And of course nobody was able to reach the generous deadline to save the day!
As an active member of Friends of Boston Manor it is most disappointing that we put so much effort in to improving the amenities in Boston Manor Park and that to pay the sums we understand JLIS required would mean that any future improvements within the park would be substantially reduced.
If you'd like to express your views to the council please email Ruth Cadbury (Brentford Ward Councillor), Hamish Pringle (Assistant Director of Leisure and Cultural Services) and Pritam Grewal (Hounslow Councillor)
19th February 2012