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Brick Lane Comedy Festival cancelled after residents raise antisocial behaviour fears

PUBLISHED: 12:41 17 June 2013 | UPDATED: 14:07 17 June 2013

Al Murray, who was due to perform at the Brick Lane Comedy Festival

Al Murray, who was due to perform at the Brick Lane Comedy Festival

PA Archive/Press Association Images

A five day comedy festival which was due to feature some of the biggest names in stand-up has been cancelled following “heavy opposition” from community groups.

The inaugural Brick Lane Comedy Festival had been set to bring the likes of Alan Davies, “pub landlord” Al Murray and Ed Byrne to Allen Gardens, Spitalfields, in July.

But the plans ran into heavy opposition from residents who feared that thousands of fans pouring into the area would exacerbate problems of antisocial behaviour there.

In a statement announcing the cancellation, organiser Cass Briggs said: “We have not taken this decision lightly and after exhausting every possible alternative we’ve agreed that a cancellation is the only option.

“We are incredibly sorry for any disappointment or inconvenience caused and we hope that ticket holders will appreciate the situation.

“Despite the event having the full support of the borough we ran into heavy opposition from local community groups and residents that have proved impossible to overcome in the limited time before the festival starts.”

The event had previously been held in Greenwich, but was due to relocate to the East End for the first time this year.

But residents have repeatedly highlighted the problem of heavy drinking, antisocial behaviour and street urination in the area surrounding Brick Lane.

And many of them wrote to Tower Hamlets Council urging it to revoke the alcohol licence granted for the event.

Jon Shapiro, of nearby Spital Square, is vice chair of residents’ organisation the Spitalfields Community Group.

He said: “I feel a bit sorry for Cass Briggs, who’s clearly put a lot of work into it, but obviously we are totally delighted that it isn’t going to be coming to Allen Gardens park.

“Life can be such a misery for residents. The problem from our point of view is adding 1,400 people – however nice they are – into Brick Lane.”

Anyone who bought tickets for the festival will receive a full refund.


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