English Heritage calls a halt to summer concerts at Kenwood House


Nile Rodgers at Kenwood House - Credit: Rupert Frere Schmooly

Large concerts will not be held at Kenwood House next summer, English Heritage has announced.

The former stately home at Hampstead Heath this year saw the return of major events with headliners including Boy George and Culture Club, Noel Gallagher, David Rodigan and Nile Rodgers.

English Heritage is developing a "masterplan" to manage the house and estate sustainably, and to "improve the experience for visitors". It said large concerts will not be held in the meantime.

Christmas at Kenwood and smaller events confirmed for 2022/2023 will continue as planned.

The last time summer concerts were held at Kenwood was 2013. Picture: CUFFC

Kenwood House - Credit: Archant

Tom King, director for the south of England, said English Heritage thought "long and hard" about Kenwood’s future and what is best for the historic house and its collection, the landscape and gardens, and its visitors.

"While Kenwood is free to enter, it is not free to maintain and our events programme will continue to play an important role in generating income that goes straight towards the repair and conservation of Kenwood,” he said.

In July English Heritage put in a licensing application for an increased number of events over a longer timescale at the estate, which raised concerns for some that Kenwood House would become a noisy "entertainment district". It was due to go before a Camden licensing panel today.

The opening line up at Kenwood House included Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, Maximo Park, The Charlatans and James

The opening line up at Kenwood House included Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, Maximo Park, The Charlatans and James - Credit: Courtesy of Heritage Live

Camden Council received noise complaints, including seven about a show headlined by Noel Gallagher, when council officers "witnessed noise that was classed as nuisance".

Organiser Heritage Live said this week that at "no point did anything exceed the approved [sound] limits set by Camden Council and English Heritage".

An English Heritage spokesperson did not say, when asked, whether noise complaints were a factor in ending large concerts, but said the organisation is now "better able" to host varied events to support Kenwood, rather than a few larger events.

Dame Jenny Abramsky, chair of the Friends of Kenwood, welcomed the decision, saying: "In the past, these concerts have been important in generating income for Kenwood, they have been much loved, and have also introduced Kenwood to a wider public.

Most Read

"But we have always considered what is best for Kenwood and raised concerns about the impact of these concerts on the landscape."

Giles Cooper from Heritage Live said it was a "great privilege" to create "amazing memories at Kenwood...that will be cherished by our hundreds of thousands of attendees for their lifetimes".

Heritage Live plans to launch new events at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, from next year.