Winning Kenwood set for return in 2009
Kenwood s concerts are set for a welcome encore next year after a summer season free of complaints from the public. For the first time ever, the concerts on Hampstead Heath sparked no noise complaints from nearby residents. Instead, people were bowled ove
Kenwood's concerts are set for a welcome encore next year after a summer season free of complaints from the public. For the first time ever, the concerts on Hampstead Heath sparked no noise complaints from nearby residents.
Instead, people were bowled over with the quality of music on offer and several shows were sell-out successes. The season finished last Saturday with Katherine Jenkins wowing the crowds. Van Morrison, Rufus Wainwright and Beach Boy Brian Wilson have also appeared over recent weeks.
"We are absolutely thrilled with the way the concerts have gone this year," said Rebecca Kane, who runs the concerts on behalf of English Heritage.
"The high points were Van Morrison, where we sold out 8,000 tickets, while Rufus Wainwright and Diana Krall also had rave reviews."
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The performances were cancelled in 2007 when Camden Council ordered English Heritage to cut concerts because of residents' complaints.
But gripes over noise seem to be a thing of the past, and this week a Camden Council spokeswoman said: "We are not aware of any complaints from this year's concerts.
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"The concerts were monitored for compliance with noise conditions, and no breaches were observed. They would be permitted to provide concerts next year on the same basis as this year."
English Heritage is already planning for next year and hoping to use the success to book more big-name acts.
"Because it was so successful we are looking forward to next year and we hope to build on that," said Ms Kane. "We will always have a range of music in the series and there was a real range of ages in the audiences this year.
"We will always have classical and some pop performances but we won't be going for heavy metal or anything like that."
Other musicians performing this year included Lesley Garrett, Michael Ball and Omara Portuonodo from the Beuna Vista Social Club.
Tony Hillier, chairman of the Heath and Hampstead Society, said of the concert season: "I think broadly speaking it has been improved.
"There are still a couple of issues we are not happy with - the masts for the amplification equipment are a bit of an eyesore and we are waiting to see the impact on the grass but, from what I understand, it hasn't been as bad as in previous years."
However residents who have previously spoken against the concerts warned English Heritage not to get too far ahead of themselves.
Robbie Hill, from Highgate said: "All in all, the concerts have not been too bad, but I think that was more to do with the weather than anything else.
"We had high winds carrying the noise away but on a clear day we could still hear it. We never wanted to stop the concerts - we just don't want to hear them in our homes every Saturday night. There is still work to do.