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 News Stories

13 minutes ago
A cycle lane in central London.

Swiss Cottage residents will benefit from a direct cycling lane to the West End according to Mayor Boris Johnson, who today pressed ahead with plans for three bike “superhighways”.

48 minutes ago
Jeffery Mann died in September last year

A grieving mother feels her son was “totally failed” by mental health services before he stabbed himself to death.

Protesters outside the iconic Black Cap pub, which closed abruptly last April

Campaigners fighting to reopen the iconic Black Cap say a new survey reveals the loss of the pub is mourned far beyond its Camden Town home because of its importance to the LGBT community.

St Pancras Coroner's Cour (Pic: Google)

A man who found his gay lover from St John’s Wood dead in the living room of his flat in Belsize Park is facing an arrest warrant after he failed to show up to an inquest into the death today.

15:17
Margaret Forster with husband Hunter Davies. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Acclaimed novelist Margaret Forster has died at Marie Curie Hospice in Hampstead, her husband Hunter Davies announced today.

15:03
Edmond Fenton

An alleged fraudster accused of “pillaging” more than £400,000 from the bank accounts of a 100-year-old cousin and selling her house claimed the pensioner asked him to empty her account to prevent social services taking her assets.

11:45
The Winchester in Archway Road, Highgate. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Hundreds have joined the fight to save a Victorian pub from being carved up into flats – as it was revealed that those behind the bid are the same as those involved in the Carlton Tavern demolition scandal.

Crouch End Hill Food & Wine following stabbing

A 24-year-old man was stabbed in an attempted shop robbery as he manned his family-owned Crouch End shop with his wife yesterday.

Most read 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

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Surface Pro 4

Technology is ever evolving. We are constantly being shown new technology that is innovative, revolutionary and designed to make life easier for us all. Gone are the days of dial up modems and computers so large you needed half a room to store it. We are in the age of smooth, small and sleek. Companies are all trying their best to create technology that is easy to transport and guaranteed to be user friendly.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe