Hackney Marshes will host several major entertainment events every summer for the next five years if a planning application by the council is accepted.
BBC Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend, which included performances from global stars such as Rihanna and Jay-Z, attracted over 100,000 people last year.
However, as the Hackney Gazette reported, some local residents and sports teams were unhappy about the condition of the terrain after the event. Tim Evans, of Hackney Marsh User Group told the paper, ‘’[The event] closed off large parts of the marsh for four weeks and the scars are visible and possibly permanent.”
Eastlondonlines reporters Nazim Ahmad and Anna Prokova asked Hackney locals if they thought it was a good idea to stage more big concerts on the marshes.
Liam Kelleher, 28, business owner, Hackney
“People love them. The organisers should be better at it these days and there are surely people who are able to manage it without the damage. Music is a good thing for people, they should listen to more of it.”
Gabrielle Russell, 41, business owner, Hackney
“I think Hackney Marshes is a beautiful space and it should be protected. It’s one of the last remaining nature reserves in the area. A lot of people use it as a refuge. It makes Hackney a nicer place to live. Using the grounds for these events would damage it. The council could use other grounds for events like Victoria Park or London Fields. It will erode people’s access. I think it’s unfair.”
Saibhan Spence Edwards, 25, cafe worker, Shoreditch
“This will sound selfish because I’ve never used the the Marshes but I really don’t see a problem having a concert there. It’s not like a club or anything like that.”
Matthew Parker, 22, fishmonger, Haggerston
“It’s a good idea. I think a variety of events would be better, though, rather than just concerts. It’s a creative place around here and there are people from so many different countries.”
Carl Partridge, 24, sales assistant, Hackney
“It depends on how it’s managed. It’s not necessarily a problem, but if it takes a month to prepare for an event, then I’d say no. It depends how many people benefit. Look at the Glastonbury festival: they use the space and they give time for the space to be renewed. People need jobs and the events will make money. So it’s a good idea.’’
Stah G, 28, sales assistant, Hackney
‘’I’ve been living in Hackney for years but I found out about the concert last summer too late as they only had a small column in the newspaper. They should be better at advertising it. I like the idea and I would love to go to a festival on the marshes.’’
To find out more about the council’s application, click here or visit the public information event at the Hackney Marshes Centre on Homerton Road, from 4pm to 8pm on Wednesday, April 17. A public consultation period about the proposals will continue until April 23.