Chorus of criticism over return of Kenwood House concerts
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
The return of concerts to Kenwood House may have gone down well with the 14,000 music fans who turned out to see Suede, Keane, Laura Mvula and others perform over the weekend.
But English Heritage and new promoters Rouge Events faced a small chorus of criticism from those who remember a more welcoming age of live music on Hampstead Heath.
Some were unhappy about fencing that has kept the public out of the concert site – which takes up most of Kenwood’s grounds – until the season is over.
Highgate resident Astrid Cardenas, 42, who works in marketing and was having a picnic outside Friday’s Suede gig, described the whole set up as a “mess”.
She said: “I think it’s so anti-social and it doesn’t feel very inclusive.”
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John Rogers, 60, from Highgate, said: “Previously people had access to the site. Now nobody is allowed on that site. I personally am not very happy about that.”
Pam Byrne, 70, who took her two grandchildren to Friday’s Suede gig, had prepared a picnic for the event – but she was not allowed to bring her food and drink into the concert enclosure.
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Though she still enjoyed the evening, she told Heathman: “I remember this in the ‘50s, it was brilliant. My dad could not afford to pay and I used to sit up here and hear the music. Now they just want more and more money.”
Nathan Homan, creative director at Rouge Events, organisers of the concerts, said picnics are allowed for classical events but pop gigs have to be very carefully controlled in case the “fans get carried away”.
He also pointed out that previous seasons have been up to eight weeks long, while this year any inconvenience is more limited with just two weekends of concerts.