Discussion in 'Brixton' started by editor, Nov 25, 2003.
Maybe a concerted bout of faxing/letter writing to the council could be called for here?
The charge is over licensing violations at the Cannabis Carnival held on 4th May 2003 at Brockwell Park, Brixton. The Council allege a sound system was turned on 9 minutes after the licence permitting it and alcohol was sold 13 minutes after the time permitted.
Oh for fuck's sake!
it's not as if it was a blatant and deliberate offence, any way. so many pubs do that, keeping open for a few more minutes for their regulars (and I am not talking about lock ins). how could he ensure that everyone obeyed on the dot at closing time? looks more like an attempt to stop the annual march.
Down with Lambeth Council!
Save the annual march!
petty fuckers. you'd think Lambeth Council might have a few more serious issues to be diverting its time to.
Please post up email addresses and postal addresses for protest. Also what about an online petition Mike? Could you set one up?
Courting unpopularity (again), just what is going on here?
Archived story from 1999 "NOT GUILTY for Green Candidate Charged Over Cannabis Carnival!"
In that earlier 1999 case, it was clearly a stupid line for the council to try to hold Shane as licensee responsible for the actions of a few members of the crowd, and the magistrates were absolutely right to chuck it out.
In this case there does seem to be a real issue - which is well understood to any of us who have run an open air event. If you have a license that says when the bar must close, you're required to keep to it so that the crowd disperses causing less hassle to the neighbours. You normally plan things in advance with Lambeth and the Met so that the bar closes half an hour before the last act on your music stage.
Moreover, Lambeth's licensing team are usually notoriously reluctant to incur the costs of taking applicants to court [see posts passim]. Mangling Wilde horribly:
To be up before the bench once for licence violations is a misfortune, to be charged again looks like carelessness.
I really would like to believe that Shane isn't stringing Lambeth officers along - in the hope of obtaining publicity for his election campaign along the lines of the 1967 Times leader that punishment was a "primitive" impulse to "break a butterfly on a wheel". However, the tone of the press release makes me wonder...
It would be a high risk strategy, as despite some earlier posts on his relative fanciability v. Kate Hoey, I don't think that Shane is quite as much of a poster boy for drugs reform as Mick Jagger was.
"I really would like to believe that Shane isn't stringing Lambeth officers along - in the hope of obtaining publicity for his election campaign along the lines of the 1967 Times leader that punishment was a "primitive" impulse to "break a butterfly on a wheel".
I'm SURE that's not true. I've been round his house months ago and he's discussed being worried about the council's attitude to the Festival and that this summons was imminent. If the publicity is good for him and bad for council pettyness then that's justice IMO.
politicians and publicity
Anyone who thinks that the Green Party are any different in their approach from the other political parties is sorely mistaken.
To suggest Shane would NOT take every advantage to milk as much publicity from this is a bit of a joke. Publicity is his life-blood, that's the line pf business he's in. The same applies to his conviction for cultivation, which he did a very good job of milking to the max. Not to my taste but certainly effective politics.
Why else do you think he mentions the fact that he's a 'London Assembly Candidate' in his press release. Is it relevant to the issue surrounding the licence ?
On that issue, this incident has to be seen it its wider context. The new Lambeth adminsitration, the removal of Paddick, and the reluctance of the Council to have Brixton come to be seen as the Drugs capital of London. There's a discussion going on in Council circles about the branding of Brixton and they certainly don't want it to be too closely associated with Cannabis. Mostly because he does very little to engage with the day-to-day running of the Council in key areas (such as the Brixton Area Forum), Shane holds little influence with the Council, who probably see him for what he is and have grown weary of his repeated (and real) licence breaches. So yes, they are taking the opportunity to squash the festival, as they probably can't see how Lambeth benefits from it.
The solution would be to reach out to the wider community who would benefit from a more progressive drugs policy and convince them of the merits of the festival. But Shane doesn't do this. By the wider community, I mean people who don't gop to the festival and wouldn't consider themselves part of the Underground.
I once asked him why he doesn't reach out more and instead focuses on the already converted underground. His resonse was most revealing.
" Because the underground is where the trendy young people are." Whether or not Shane is trying to hang on to his receding youth is perhaps as valid a question as how many Green Party votes there are to be found in the trendy underground. But in terms of building a broader coalition to support meaningful change in Lambeth, as the results show, his strategy is not working.
Also, Shane doesn't mention it, but could the fact that the toilets were not delivered for the festival have something to do with the licence breach ?
politicians and publicity
Shane helped put together a fantastic festival for the benefit of tens of thousands.
And it didn't cost £15 a head either.
What a load of bollocks! all blown out way out of proportion. 13 bloody minutes. Big fucking deal.
You sound very bitter and angry Steve. Have you tried chanting?
politicians and publicity
You seem almost happy that the festival is running into trouble.
If it does go down the pan, when can I look forward to seeing your 'synergetic' bunch hosting a free festival for the people of Lambeth, with over 10,000+ people enjoying bands, stalls, speakers, Indymedia/SchNEWS stalls, food, cafés and kids areas?
Or are you only interested in paying punters?
It wasn't Shane's fault that the toilets contractor failed in his duties either.
So what if he does try to further his own political profile as well as doing stuff that's good for the community. I don't think that's incompatible. If people like the things he stands for then publicity for him is publicity for those causes too. And it didn't take much to "milk to the max" his experience of Brixton prison did it? Right was on his side. The law was shown to be ridiculous.
Shane's Shane. He's not perfect but he's more than alright IMHO.
Steve, I think you're right tho when you talk about the council and their desire to brand the area in certain ways only and squash this festival. However, you're personal enmity with Collins shows in your posts.
I've looked at this again, and what I wrote may appear overly cynical - I suspect Shane genuinely does believe that the council are being oppressive to him.
IMO, what he has failed to realise is that in this litigious age you just can't run a free festival for 10,000 people on a shoestring and goodwill and hoping it will be all right on the night.
My personal experience is that with an alarming lack of people willing to volunteer both with organisation and stewarding such events, (both for campaign events or even community festivals involving their own kids!), more and more work is being thrown on to a very few organisers, which is bringing their future viabiliy into question.
Most councils (not just Lambeth) and the Met Police, see any event in an open space as a potential public liability claim waiting to happen. I don't think I'm exagerrating to say that you now need £5million cover just to hold a teddy bear's picnic for toddlers, backed up by a safety plan for the event.
I can understand why Lambeth's licencing officers may be concerned that Shane is not credibly backed up by an organisational structure that could cope if the next festie was on a sunny day, there were a few thousand more people, and if they all had another drink or two because of a lax approach to bar hours.
I would be really concerned if the council is trying to use this prosecution to "prove" that he is not a fit and proper person to run a future event.
I heard the festival's moving to Burgess park, Southwark next year anyway, which I think is a good thing, give Brockwell a rest, after all it wasn't always held there.
Shane works hard putting on this free festival, no sponsors, no advertising, prefering to work with underground sounds and grass roots protest groups.
I'm saddened he's being dragged through the law courts yet again.
But that's the problem - without
(a) an influx of 50-70 committed volunteers willing to give up at least half of the day to the dull grind of stewarding while remaining sober(ish); or
(b) 10 - 15 grand from evil monopolistic corporations, or even a fluffier sponsor such as Rizla [ who, my learned friends hasten to add have no corporate stance on cannabis legalisation, and would just be supporting smokers rights in general ] to pay for set up labour and security, I don't see a future for an event of this sort.
Shane's sound - he'd get my vote.
But it was his responsibility.
FFS: he helped put on a fucking excellent FREE festival.
If you like your festivals turned out like a smooth-running corporate event, I suggest you dig deep in your pocket and attend the cash-raking, rip-off events of the Mean Fiddler.
There are barely any vaguely 'alternative' free festivals left in London (the Deptford Urban Free has gone, as has the Hackney Homeless), so what's with all these digs and whining about a few missing toilets at the Cannabis Festival?
It was a fantastic day out. It was free. Over 10,000 people went there to enjoy the free acts, stalls, talks and events. It made an important political point about the support for the decriminalisation of cannabis. Moreover, it was a fucking great day out, all for nowt.
And seeing as steve indigenou has elected to steam in with another of his irrelevant, off topic personal attacks on Shane Collins, perhaps he might tell us what free festivals he's put on for the people of Lambeth?
The more I read his comments and personal attacks here, the more it sounds like the touchy-feely, hippy-dippy 'mission statement' on their website is nothing but empty posturing.
He'd do well to consider building bridges and concentrating on the positive rather than churning out bitter, irrelevant grudges.
You would have thought that there would be considerable synergy between his project and this site, but his conduct here has put me right off.
what a bunch of petty wankers. is that all they could pull him up for?
as for moving it to burgess park, really? whilst thats geat for me (just down the road) can see it being so great for the atmosphere. its a crap park.
Sure, but though it's free in the sense that the punters don't pay, it not free in the sense that it doesn't cost anything. It costs the organisers lots of time and effort of course, but it also costs the Met, the parks department and the environment department to look after it. It costs them to keep an eye on things, to clean up and to assume liability for injury to third parties. It just does - you can't get round it.
I didn't see Brockwell Park after the cannabis event but Clapham Common was a broken-glass covered shithole (I mean more than usual) after they put the TV cricket on there. Cricket for fuck's sake. And that cost a fortune to clea up. Those events last year on the beach at Brighton were the same.
Anyway, I reckon the council is well within its rights to make sure these events stick to the rules. If not, they could be sued themselves. Much as most of us on these boards like to see these events, the majority of Lambeth residents would probably rather see them happen somewhere else. I'm sure Southwark would be ideal.
I pay for all that with my taxes, thanks. And happy to do so.
But what about the immense amount of money brought into the area by the tens of thousands of hungry/thirsty punters?
You seem to be arguing against all free festivals on the grounds of bureaucracy and a bit of litter.
What about the people who can't afford to fork out great wads of cash for ghastly corporate Mean Fiddler events - because if you don't let free festivals take place, that's all that's left.
politicians and publicity
This came over (to me) very strongly with the recent "Brixton Expo" (or whatever it was called).
Business-led, anti-politics i.e. no mention of the long traditions of radicalism and activism in Brixton, but trying to be 'hip an trendy' by packaging Brixton as a "centre for creative and cultural industries.'
It was dreadful, cynical, money-grubbing, Brixton-lite, nonsense.
If Lambeth Council and their business friends are attempting to bollock Collins and the Cannabis Festival in pursuit if this agenda then Collins should get full support, and make whatever political capital he wants out of the exercise.
1) Some people don't notice the difference a free festival makes to poorer people. Pay your £15 for a fenced off event if you like. Plenty of people can't afford it. So what if the JayDay costs the Met and the council money, that's part of their job - to facilitate stuff for the people.
2) No more personal comments about Shane - final. It's not fair as Mike said. Further personal stuff will be removed. (And yes I know I contributed too but that's enough now).
3) "Destination Brixton" (while it could develop to be much better) wasn't all bad Anna Key. Remember the excellent poetry night at Plan B - a good night out and a range of talent from across the community:
why would southwark be ideal? nimby attitude or something more?
Well that's the difference in the type of people that these events attract. After the event in Brockwell Park, the park was reasonably clean and most people had used the rubbish and recycling bins - and there were litter pickers to clear up what was left (and I'm believe I'm right in saying that the organisers paid for the litter pickers).
This is a complete contrast to the disgusting state that the park was left in after the "purple radio" and "Aussie" pay events held over the jubilee weekend in summer 2002.
It doesn't surprise me that the cricket fans on Clapham Common left a load of mess. Different sort of people innit.
Lambeth Council seem to want to move this "problem" out of the borough at any cost - perhaps they think it's tainting their "image"? Petty fuckers. They should be concentrating on getting our services sorted, not taking people to court.
Ol Nick said
Who are these "majority of Lambeth residents" then? And when did they tell you they wanted rid of the festival? I don't know how you can make such a sweeping generalisation. The festival causes NO major problems, there were a tiny number of arrests (I would guess no more than on a usual Saturday) and most local people who didn't go would probably notice little difference to their saturday.
So what's the problem? I'd say it's Lambeth COuncil.
Sorry I haven't found them myself. But email and postal address please anyone?
I'm sure many of us would write to support the festival and Shane.
Any road up, what it comes down to is loads of you guys like free festivals and believe the council should subsidise them. (Through clean up, licensing etc.)
I reckon (anecdotally, with out any demographic or psephological proof) that lots of other people -- older people, more conservative people -- don't much like them and don't much want to pay for them. The council seems to be taking these people's view against yours. If you think that there's good support for your point of view then you should be able to find some councillors to support you. Having said that, if you're given a licence for something like this, it's stupid to break its terms because it gives your enemies the legal ammunition they need.
Me, I rarely go to these festivals myself, but I'm all in favour of you chaps having a great time at them at some small expense to myself, but I've met lots of people who aren't.
if they don't want it, it's their loss and our gain
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