THE PENINSULA Festival has closed its venue to the public and its Olympic big screen has been moved to Eltham.
The ambitious festival had originally promised “a summer like no other” with an artificial beach to “rival the Caribbean”, big name music acts, an upmarket camping site and Olympic live site showing sporting action on a big screen.
But as the festival drew closer, the beach failed to materialise, the camp site operator switched to a site in Walthamstow and the live site has closed after just a couple of days, with the big screen – paid for by the council – moved to Well Hall Pleasaunce in Eltham.
Peninsula Festival’s venue, a plot of land in North Greenwich called Area 12, did host the Eastern Electrics event at the weekend – seemingly successfully judging by social media feedback – but organisers have announced the site won’t be reopening, with the exception of two ticketed events on the 11th and 12th of August.
A notice posted on the organiser’s Facebook page says that “a number of circumstances have not allowed us to deliver the experience that we have promised to many.”
Greenwich Council, who had allowed the organisers to operate under its Greenwich Festivals brand, agreed to fund the event to the tune of £50,000 with 80% of this amount handed over late last year according to data published on the council’s website.
A payment of £25,000 was made to Peninsula Festival last November with a further £15,000 paid the following month.
Opposition councillors had questioned the council’s dealings with the operator, with Councillor Matt Clare asking at a full council meeting last March what “due dilligence” the council had carried out before working with them and Councillor Nigel Fletcher calling in the decision to part fund the festival.
Councillor Fletcher said: “We raised serious questions earlier this year about the amount of public money the Council was putting into it, and there will be more questions to ask after the Games.
“The relocation of the Big Screen to Well Hall Pleasaunce in Eltham is a welcome move, and will give people here the chance to enjoy the great atmosphere we’ve seen at the Greenwich and Woolwich screens, though clearly it’s unfortunate there isn’t much time to tell people about it.”
A letter from Greenwich Council Chief Executive Mary Ney to councillors, published on 853, says that the the operators had been “unable to build a programme and sufficient footfall to sustain their business plan for the live site and are unable to continue to offer this.”