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Vyner St Festival hopes blown by wind—and recession

PUBLISHED: 08:00 02 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:47 05 October 2010

Blustery wind too much for Woofi (inset), sheltering in his master’s rucksack, while crowds stay away...

Blustery wind too much for Woofi (inset), sheltering in his master’s rucksack, while crowds stay away...

Carmen Valino

BLUSTERY weather and the recession hit this year’s Swinging Sixties’-theme Vyner Street festival in London’s East End Disappointed organisers saw crowds cut by three-quarters from last year’s record 5,000

Pictures: Carmen Valino

BLUSTERY weather and the recession hit this year’s Swinging Sixties’-theme Vyner Street festival in London’s East End.

Disappointed organisers saw crowds cut by three-quarters from last year’s record 5,000 over Saturday and Sunday.

It meant the fundraising at the Bethnal Green street bash for the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths was sadly well below 2008’s total of £1,500.

The 1960s was this year’s theme, nostalgically looking back 40 years for the two-day family fest.

But organiser Steven Bones, guv’nor at Vyner Street’s Victory pub by the Regent’s Canal, was feeling nostalgic more for last year’s crowds.

“Sunday was so blustery and cold it kept people away,” he told the East London Advertiser.

“Only 700 people turned up. You could see they were shivering.

“The recession has also hit people who just don’t have the money to spend this year, which has reduced our fundraising.

GRANDSON

“Last year was scotching weather which brought out 2,500 people each day, when we made £1,500 profit for the foundation.”

Steven and his wife Auring, who have run The Victory for 13 years, got involved in the Infant Deaths charity after losing their six-month-old grandson Jordan to cot death in 2000.

A couple came up to them on Sunday who had recently lost a baby boy at three months.

“They felt so responsible,” Steve added. “But I told them they shouldn’t blame themselves.

“There are a hundred reasons why a baby dies and usually there’s nothing you can do—it just happens.”

Organising the festival each year has been Steve’s salvation for the family’s loss eight years ago.

“I plough myself into this event each year as the only way I can give back something,” Steve revealed.

“It’s been hard for my daughter Rachel. Only in last two years has she managed to fully get into it and help us organise the festival.”

Vyner Street is home to several trendy galleries which have turned this little cobbled thoroughfare off Cambridge Heath Road into an idyllic venue for street entertainment with live music and 22 craft and art stalls this year.


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