Kenwood concerts crammed into a month

KENWOOD’s SUMMER concerts will be crammed into just one month if a new licensing application is approved by Camden Council today.

The application has been placed by Private Limited Company who organise the concerts for English Heritage. and it requests that concerts take place either on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays alongside the current Saturday concerts so that the season can be completed in a shorter period.

Each concert will be limited to two and a half hours but if the licence is granted they could take place any time between 2pm and 10pm Thursday-Sunday – with the top draws attracting as many as 8,000 people.

Michael Durst of Sheldon Avenue has lodged a complaint about the proposed changes. He said: “At present concerts take place only on Saturday evenings. They present a public nuisance by having large numbers of people spilling into the neighbouring streets, sometimes loud and drunk.

“The concerts themselves are a delight and it is a necessary evil to suffer the public nuisance; but once a week is manageable twice would be intolerable.”

However, another local resident, Shelima Ahsan of Fitzroy Park, has argued that the proposed dates are an improvement on previous years as less sound testing may be required.

The Private Limited Company consulted with residents about the changes during a meeting at Kenwood House in December and they claim the plan was met with “neutral response” and that many saw “the potential positive effect of having the season completed across a shorter period of time”.

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Previous bookers of the acts for the concerts have advised that the events start slightly later on weekdays in order to ease the pressure on the local transport network.

A fireworks display will also take place at the end of the last concert, although the company promise this will be concluded by 10pm.

Tony Hillier, chairman of the Heath and Hampstead Society, said that a shorter, more intense period of concerts would probably be better for the Heath in the long run.

He said: “Recently we have been highlighting that the response has not been timely enough in getting the grass restored after the concerts and it never quite recovers.”

As well as the stage, the concert organisers are legally obliged to provide two disabled toilets, 15 male toilets, 20 urinals and 50 female toilets for the duration of the events.

Mr Hillier continued: “Less time with the toilets and stage and all the people covering and damaging the grass has to be a good thing.

“I imagine what more concerts in a shorter period will do to the traffic and parking up in Highgate will be a big worry for those residents.”