Greenwich Council’s annual Get Together festival is to move from Woolwich to Charlton Park and be given a new look and name, tender documents issued to potential event producers reveal.
Held to coincide with Armed Forces Day for the past decade, the event began life at Barrack Field on Woolwich Common, as a merger of smaller events held around the borough in the years before that. It moved to Woolwich town centre in 2019.
After last year’s event fell foul of the pandemic, the council is now planning to relaunch its annual jamboree, with Saturday 21 August pencilled in as a start date – at a cost of £165,000.
The move from Woolwich to Charlton Park will disappoint those hoping for a boost to the troubled town centre, which is receiving up to £17.1m in government funds to make it more appealing to visitors and residents.
But the council says “this year provides a natural opportunity to reconfigure the event and move location”.
“This location has been chosen as the park is in the centre of the borough, is a large, flat, green space with many sections, fenced with several gates, a small car park and is well equipped with existing facilities including a skate park, cafes and a playground making it the perfect location for a contemporary outdoor community festival, with exciting new content for residents to enjoy,” the tender document, spotted by tweeter Jo Brodie, states.
“The event will also provide an opportunity for thanks to our NHS and key workers, as well for reflection and memorial to those lives lost during the pandemic. The focus for the event should be a contemporary family festival with an overriding theme of equality and diversity,” potential organisers are told.
“We envisage music, arts, culture, food and entertainment from around the world, but embedded in the diversity of the variety of communities we have in Royal Greenwich [sic]. The event needs a rebrand – with a new name that captures this essence.”
The document says that for this year only and as “a celebration of the potential end of the pandemic, we are able to invest more in the event than ever before, enabling the opportunity to produce a really spectacular show”.
While coronavirus restrictions remain in place until at least June 21, and scientists have warned of a third wave in July or August, the tender document makes the assumption that London will be in a better position to hold outdoor events.
“The end of summer date hopefully allows for the Covid-19 restrictions to have been lifted, the vaccination programme to have been completed, and anticipates that visitors will have regained confidence in large events and social gatherings again,” the document states.
The proposals appear to be similar to those for the hugely popular Lewisham People’s Day, which takes part in Mountsfield Park in Catford and was recently cut back to take place every other year because of austerity cuts. However, organisers have also been told that “due to the borough’s rich military history and some armed forces content at previous events, we may want to include some content of this nature such as an assault course and visibility and support from local community groups such as the Army Cadets and British Legion”.
Companies who want to put the event on have until 30 April to submit their application.
Last year, 853 revealed how another council culture initiative, placing ribbons on trees with messages from residents on them, cost over £200 per message after a light show from Shooters Hill which few people saw was included in the event.
In a separate process, councillors are due to sign off proposals to build a performance stage and seating areas in Beresford Square with the Better High Streets Fund money from the government.
While the council could get up to £17.1m from the government, only £3.4m is currently confirmed, papers to be presented to the cabinet on Wednesday reveal. The government funding was first announced over Christmas.
Other plans include remodelling the public realm in Powis Street to “declutter” it and the conversion of the Old Town Hall on Calderwood Street as space for businesses.
A version of this story also appears on our sister website The Charlton Champion.
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