What we’ve achieved with events on the Common

Until a few years again Clapham Common hosted multiple events, mostly throughout spring and summer, that resulted in up to 10% of common land fenced off and out of bounds for up to 100 days each year.

The Clapham Common Management Advisory Committee (CCMAC) was instrumental in lobbying Lambeth Council in 2018 to rethink its events strategy. The new strategy has resulted in reducing the number of performance days on Clapham Common from over 40 just a few years ago to 13 days from 2022. 

This will still result however in an area of the Common – up to 10% – being fenced off for some 35 days when the rig and de-rig days are included.

The two key events on Clapham Common in 2022 will be –

  • the two-day Moonwalk (pictured) event (15 days on site), a breast cancer research charity fundraiser, in early May, and, 
  • Festival Republic, a commercial music event, most likely to take place in August. (Although this ten-day event has been given the option to choose a date between June and September.) It is likely to be on site for a minimum of 20 days when rig and de-rigging days are included.

The revised event strategy also recommended an increase in the park investment levy (PIL) from 8% to 21% of the total hire fees (not including the damage deposit). This has resulted in more money available for investment in Clapham Common. The Bandstand, pictured, was recently refurbished with money raised through PIL, for instance.  

Clapham Common Bandstand, the largest in London, was refurbished with money earned from events on the Common.

CCMAC was also the driving force behind moving Winterville from the grassed site to the circus/funfair site beside the South Circular. (Winterville alone was a 40-day event – it was on site for 70 days.) 

There are now no major or large winter events on the grassed area of the Common.

Lambeth Events proposed – after much pressure to mitigate the environmental damage to the Common – to merge the remaining event days into one ten-day programme of events straddling two weekends. (A similar approach has also been adopted in Brockwell Park.) 

At the time CCMAC accepted the proposal as a move to mitigate the environmental damage to the Common and surrounding areas, and minimise the community impact by reducing the number of rig and de-rigging days and keep that part of the Common open for far longer.

Accepting does not mean approving or supporting. CCMAC comprises a membership with a wide range of views, some steadfastly opposed to major events and others enthusiastically welcoming them. This is what you would expect from a representative body of people rather than a single issue campaign group. CCMAC represents all users of Clapham Common.

However we have always said we support a thoughtful, appropriate and balanced programme of events on Clapham Common. In this position we reflect the diversity of our community and the differing views on the relative merits of events held on Clapham Common. 

We acknowledge the substantial controversy surrounding major commercial events in particular. 

With this in mind CCMAC will –

  • insist Lambeth Council continues to seek Secretary of State approval for events on Clapham Common as a matter of good practice
  • maintain that no event can go ahead without the necessary approvals
  • work with Lambeth Events to mitigate the environmental and social impact of Festival Republic and other events including ensuring access across the paths of the Common is protected as much as possible
  • support a more varied programme of events especially ones which involve the local community and are designed for families and children as well as young and elderly people
  • engage with Lambeth Council to increase the PIL contribution of events, ensuring more money is invested back into the Common
  • ask Lambeth Council to demonstrate Clapham Common gets its fair share of of spending and investment in Clapham Common over and above parks and open spaces that do not host events
  • encourage as many of the remaining few events as possible to take place on the circus/funfair site near the South Circular where they can do minimal damage to the Common

We will also urge Lambeth Events to engage more widely with the local community on its proposals and communicate more timely information to ensure people have ample time to comment.

In turn CCMAC and its member groups will make more effort to communicate more openly about events scheduled to take place on the Common and ensure accurate information is published on their websites and on social media.

Useful links

Here’s Lambeth’s Events Policy. If you flick to page 52 you will see examples of the pricing structure, inc PIL, by type of event.

Here’s the results of the consultation. It was CCMAC that caused the events strategy to be remodelled.