Search

Kenwood concerts cancelled: Even Alf Garnett star laments the demise

18:17 20 January 2012

Actor Warren Mitchell, who played Alf Garnett, has campaigned against the concerts for many years

Actor Warren Mitchell, who played Alf Garnett, has campaigned against the concerts for many years

Archant

Organisers of Kenwood’s lakeside concerts have cancelled this summer’s programme - leading one of the event’s fiercest critics, Alf Garnett actor Warren Mitchell, to lament its demise.

English Heritage who own the house, and concert managers IMG, have announced they will not be working together this year after they failed to renew a contract.

This brings to an end the high-profile concerts which have run almost continuously since 1951 and in recent years have attracted stars such as Tom Jones, Liza Minnelli, Blondie, and James Blunt.

Mr Mitchell, the TV actor best known as cockney Alf Garnett, has campaigned against the concerts for many years but said the decision was nonetheless a “bloody shame”.

He said: “I’m not opposed to the fact of the concerts just them being noisy and impossible.

“It’s a bad thing to take people away from the arts. Good music is part of life.”

He lives in Stormont Road, one of the streets closest to Kenwood House, and has in the past complained about “noise levels” and the “commercialisation” of the 50-year long tradition

His protests together with other residents helped put a stop to the concerts for the duration of the 2007 season.

The concerts were once famous for bringing alfresco classical performances to Hampstead.

But ten years ago English Heritage brought in professional event organisers to increase revenues, with mixed reviews to revamped programmes that included high profile pop stars and moved away from the concert’s classical roots.

Michael Hammerson, of the Highgate Society, welcomed the cancellation as an opportunity to reconsider the “whole rationale and content” of the concerts.

He said: “There has been a big debate. Some people thought it was a shame to lose the old style classical concerts because that’s what made them special.

“Maybe in the future it would be nice to consider a mix of the old format classical concerts and the popular concerts.”

But he said the timing was “unfortunate” and that Kenwood risked “missing out” on the opportunities of the Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics.

Paul Griffiths, London area manager at English Heritage, said the time was right for a break in the concert programme. He said: “The summer picnic concerts at Kenwood will take a year off in 2012. Next year, 2013, will be an exciting one for Kenwood as following the vital repairs to the roof, the house will reopen - revived and refreshed.

“This year therefore is a good time to pause and see if the concerts can be done differently in 2013 and beyond.

“It’s timely too as our contract with IMG, which successfully organised the concerts between 2000 and 2011, has come to an end.”

An English Heritage spokesman added that the decision to cancel was not connected to the London 2012 Olympics and that the tender process to find a new concert organiser would reopen later this year.

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

18:09
A pole will be located at the end of Nassington  Road by the entrance to Hampstead Heath

New plans for an Orthodox Jewish boundary across Camden have been submitted.

15:34
The mystery girl was found wandering in  the evening in Daleham Gardens

Police are trying to trace an 11-year-old girl who was discovered wandering in the street in her pyjamas saying she had run away from home.

Service users at the Highgate Day Centre were left feeling

Service users at a mental health day centre in Camden were “heartbroken” after hundreds of pieces of artwork produced during therapeutic art classes were thrown out with the rubbish.

Neighbours are

Neighbours in Gospel Oak say they are “still friends” after publicly airing their difference of opinion over the Brexit question.

An artist's impression of the cycling superhighway in Avenue Road

Camden Council has called on Transport for London (TfL) to conduct further traffic modelling for the propsed Cycle-Superhighway (CS11) scheme to take account of the likely impact of High Speed Rail (HS2).

Yesterday, 18:54
The Old White Bear pub in Hampstead

Developers who own the derelict Old White Bear pub in Hampstead have been ordered to take down scaffolding at the historic building by the end of the week or face enforcement action by Camden Council.

Tue, 17:41
Tributes have been paid to actor Burt Kwouk

Tributes have been paid to renowned Hampstead actor Burt Kwouk, famous for his role in the Pink Panther films.

Tue, 17:15
Tom Franklin, former chair of the Camden Green Party, pictured with Sian Berry and other supporters outside court

Eight protesters cleared of any wrongdoing for their part in an arms fair protest will not face a retrial after a judge refused an appeal lodged by the Crown.

PROMOTED CONTENT

There are no rules when it comes to buying studio pottery beyond choosing what you love

With The Great Pottery Throwdown captivating viewers across the nation, pottery courses at capacity, and hipsters snapping up vintage studio pieces to display their succulents in and post on Instagram, studio pottery and ceramics are definitely having a moment.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe