was a total washout last year; the Erith Riverside Festival that is.
Such a shame because it is organised by a small band of volunteers, not much more than one man and boundless enthusiasm as far as I can tell, and no council support. The organisers are too polite to say but it looks to me like it’s more a question of piling on red tape than help and the expenses are considerable.
If council leader Teresa O’Neill had had her way it wouldn’t be happening at all, for she had plans to build all over the last remaining public space in the whole borough which overlooks the Thames.
Hugh Neal covered her ambitions in his own inimitable style over at the Maggot Sandwich two years ago. I hope he won’t mind me reproducing a reduced version of it here but I have yet to work out how one can make a direct link to a Blogspot entry. (See Note below.)
The plans to build over Erith Gardens ultimately failed when the developer pulled out of the negotiations.
Readers with long memories will recall the final comment (above) from Hugh about “descending on councillor Teresa O’Neill with flaming torches and pitchforks”. It sent O’Neill scurrying off to the police to report a metaphor as a real threat of violence but in her confusion she named John Kerlen and me as those responsible. I wonder why that was? Maybe she is simply congenitally dishonest. Yes that could be it.
Anyway, despite her best intentions, the Erith Festival is on again this year, no entrance fees, from 10:00 to 16:00 on Sunday 2nd June. Maybe O’Neill will honour it with her presence, I’ll take my pitchfork just in case.
Notes: Hugh Neal’s blog entitled ‘The Shrine’ and dated 6th March 2011.
The News Shopper report to which he refers is here.
The ‘Propaganda Leaflet’ is available here.