Teen Fest organisers put on Camden child safety ‘watch list’
PUBLISHED: 07:30 05 March 2015 | UPDATED: 11:03 05 March 2015
Child protection specialists are monitoring teen party organisers after a man was caught inviting young pupils outside two Camden schools to secret parties.
Teen Fest, which bills its parties as “London’s biggest teen event”, has been placed on a Camden Council “watch list” after a member of the group was caught leafleting teenagers outside all-girls schools La Sainte Union and Parliament Hill.
The strictly under-18 parties, held at secret locations across the capital and arranged via social media, promise a reduced price entry fee for the “first 50 ladies” and passes to “meet and greet” rap performers backstage.
Teen Fest came to the attention of the council in December when the man was spotted handing out leaflets advertising a “Christmas special” party to pupils walking to the schools in Highgate Road.
The incident only came to public attention on Monday when Cllr Jenny Headlam-Wells raised concerns at a full council meeting at Camden Town Hall.
Cllr Headlam-Wells, chairman of the children, schools and families scrutiny committee, told the meeting: “Safeguarding children and young people and preventing child sexual exploitation has been a particular subject of concern for [the committee], following events in Rotherham, Oxford, Rochdale and Derby, highlighted, of course, by the Jimmy Savile and Gary Glitter cases.
“A recent local example came to light through the watchful eye of a resident who reported to me that a young man was seen lurking outside the LSU girls’ school.
“He was handing out flyers with a picture of a semi-naked woman, inviting girls and young women to a Christmas special party at ‘secret locations in East London’.
“For an extra £5, ‘backstage access and a photo’ was on offer, which sounds suspiciously familiar.”
Following the incident in December, the council’s multi-agency safe guarding hub (MASH) informed the schools of their concerns and pupils were addressed about the potential risks of attending secret parties.
Social workers and care homes in Camden were also alerted about the possible risk of at-risk teenagers attending Teen Fest parties.
A council IT analyst also investigated the Teen Fest Facebook page, which has been liked by nearly 4,000 people, and found that several young people on the council’s at-risk register had liked the page.
Yesterday, Teen Fest posted a message on Twitter informing followers “facebook blocked us so we cant send out invites to events” and urging young people to follow their Instagram account instead.
Cllr Headlam-Wells told the Ham&High: “We had a system in place to deal with this. It’s a live thing which young people have been alerted to. Teen Fest are on a watch list, they are being monitored.”
It is understood Teen Fest hosted a party on February 21 at a secret location in north west London. In October, they held a party at the Amanah Business and Banqueting Suite, in Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets.
The manager, who did not wish to be named, said the organisers paid £500 cash to hire the venue and told him they were putting on a “teen concert”.
He told the Ham&High: “A number of parents came to collect their children. I say children but they weren’t behaving like children on that night.
“They certainly weren’t allowed to bring any alcohol into the premises. The police did turn up because the residents weren’t happy with the noise.
“But I don’t doubt that Teen Fest are a legitimate establishment and in their conduct, I had no cause for concern.”
Teen Fest were unavailable for comment.