‘Key to culture and entertainment’ festival to kick off summer of recovery in West End – South London News
Through Julia Gregory, journalist on local democracy
A ‘key culture and entertainment’ festival will help kick-start the summer of recovery in the West End.
The Underbelly Festival will set up its Spiegeltent in Cavendish Square, near John Lewis in Oxford Street.
The festival will run from July 1 to September 26 and it is hoped that it will encourage people to come back to the area and stimulate the economy and create 120 full-time and part-time temporary jobs.
Acts include Basil Brush and the Hotel Paradiso family circus show and West End improvisation favorites The Showstoppers who stage musical adventures for kids.
CBBC and Crackerjack presenters Sam and Mark will make their Underbelly Festival debut with the On the Road Show.
And the headliner of the festival is Bernie Dieter’s Berlin Underground cabaret show.
Comedians include BBC rapid-fire trivia presenter Lightning Zoe Lyons and star of last year’s Royal Variety Show Daliso Chaponda.
The tent can accommodate 500 people and there will also be food and drink stalls with a total capacity of 2000 people at all times.
The family festival includes cabaret, comedy, music and theater. People will need tickets to watch the shows, but they will be able to visit the stands without pre-booking.
The Westminster City Council planning committee has given the green light to organizers to set up the 24-diameter tent. (Tuesday May 25).
However, they heard that residents of the only apartment building in the square were concerned about noise.
The organizers will set up the tent in the far part of the plaza from the residential block of Harcourt House.
The performances will end at 10 p.m. Sunday to Wednesday evening and 11:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday evening.
Police also wanted 24-hour security in the square due to the “high level of crime”.
The Parks and Garden Trust also opposed the plan.
Ed Bartlam, co-founder of the Underbelly Festival, said it aims to be accessible and affordable.
The team organized Christmas events in Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square.
Mr Bartram said: “We have strong noise management plans.”
He explained that there had been numerous site visits with the police to address their concerns and that the team had strong stewardship plans.
Underbelly also works with Connection Crew, which gives people a way out of roaming, to set up and break down the site.
Last year, plans to demolish an underground car park in the square were approved. It will see spaces for shops, gyms or medical centers.
Councilor Guthrie McKie said: “This aims to attract people from all over London, not just from Westminster. If we reduce (hours) it won’t make it viable.
President Jim Glen said: “Bringing the West End back is so important.”
Selina Short, member of the committee, said: “It is a very elegant temporary building”.
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