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  • The Festivalisation of London’s Parks: The Friends’ Perspective

    Andrew Smith, Guy Osborn, Goran Vodicka

    Chapter from the book: Smith, A et al. 2022. Festivals and the City: The Contested Geographies of Urban Events.


    London’s parks are used regularly as venues for festivals and events. A wide range of occasions are staged every year: from multi-day music festivals to community fun days. The attractive and flexible spaces that park settings provide, and their symbolic role as representative civic spaces, mean they are obvious venues. In the period 2010­–2019, the number of events staged in London’s parks grew with new commercial festivals introduced to help compensate for funding shortfalls. This led to concerns about disruptions to everyday use and about the impacts of large-scale events on the environmental condition of parks. Given the potential for positive impacts, but also the noted concerns, this chapter explores the range of festivals staged in London’s parks and assesses the range of impacts they have. The report is based on a survey of ‘Friends of Parks’ groups undertaken in the Spring of 2020. The survey asked representatives from Friends groups about events that were staged in their parks in 2019. The findings showed that there were many perceived positive impacts of festivals and events, especially when local groups were involved in planning and organising them. However, concerns were expressed over the increasing number and size of commercial music festivals and the ways these reduced park accessibility, damaged park environments and disrupted park use, affecting the status of urban parks as accessible public spaces. The chapter concludes with a series of recommendations regarding the regulation and management of festivals which are relevant to public parks in London and beyond.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Smith, A et al. 2022. The Festivalisation of London’s Parks: The Friends’ Perspective. In: Smith, A et al (eds.), Festivals and the City. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book64.b

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    Published on Aug. 23, 2022