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Tower Hamlets in bid to be ‘London borough of culture’ as Victoria Park festival deal is signed

PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 October 2017

Crowds swarm for last Love Box festival to be held at Victoria Park, being replaced by All Points East festival in 2018. Picture Jenna Foxton

Crowds swarm for last Love Box festival to be held at Victoria Park, being replaced by All Points East festival in 2018. Picture Jenna Foxton

© Jenna Foxton / Fanatic 2016

A campaign to make Tower Hamlets “the London borough of culture” has been launched in the week a deal has been signed with international promoters for major festivals and community events at Victoria Park for the next five years.

The last Love Box festival stage at Victoria Park. Picture: LBTH The last Love Box festival stage at Victoria Park. Picture: LBTH

Tower Hamlets is bidding to win £1 million up for grabs from the Mayor of London for whichever local authority makes the best case in 2019 and 2020 to stage a year of cultural events.

The bid follows the deal with AEG International promotions to stage the All Points East festival over two consecutive weekends between May 25 and June 3 next year.

They replace the Lovebox and Field Day festivals—but with as difference.

The four weekdays in between are for free community events using the festival facilities such as the stage, lights, toilets, bars and the huge screen to use as an open air cinema.

Pavillion cafe by the lake in Victoria Park. Picture: Kois Miah Pavillion cafe by the lake in Victoria Park. Picture: Kois Miah

“We have put community benefits and mitigating the impact of festivals at the heart of this new contract,” Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs tells today’s East London Advertiser.

“The contract with AEG will help protect Victoria Park and make sure they involve nearby residents to reduce the impact of events held in the park.”

The four community weekdays include school programmes, local bands, choirs and youth groups, as well as ping pong, lawn golf and giant jenga.

The council wants to train mentors for schools and colleges, while a craft beer event for small breweries is also planned.

Baishakhi Mela held at Weavers Fields in Bethnal Green every summer. Picture: Rehan Jamil Baishakhi Mela held at Weavers Fields in Bethnal Green every summer. Picture: Rehan Jamil

The deal with AEG comes in the week the town hall launches its ‘London Borough of Culture’ campaign to stage a year of events if it puts the best case to City Hall.

The East End’s traditional cultural global mix makes Tower Hamlets “quite simply the best London borough”, town hall bosses insist.

Heritage and creativity are evident in markets and high streets such as Shoreditch, Columbia Road, Whitechapel and Brick Lane, while Docklands and Tower of London are integral parts of London’s maritime and royal history, they point out.

At the top end is Victoria Park with hundreds of thousands of spectators every year coming for major London music festivals, while Bethnal Green’s Weavers Fields stages the largest Boishakhi Mela outside the Indian sub-continent.

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