Abbeyfest sheds jazz nights in Merton Abbey Mills following anti-social behaviour

Abbeyfest attracts thousands every summer

Abbeyfest attracts thousands every summer

First published in News Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Colliers Wood's much-loved summer festival, Abbeyfest, will return this year, but not as you remember it.

Organisers have been forced to cancel the Friday night jazz and blues concerts due to a lack of sponsorship and complaints anti-social behaviour.

Peter Wallder, director of Wheelhouse Productions and one of the event organisers, said: "It's my hope that without the Friday night concerts there will be public outcry. We don't want to lose this event. I hope in 2015 we can bring it back and respect it and there will be some people putting their hands in their pockets."

Police were called on numerous occasions last year, after vandalism, drug-taking and drunkenness were reported when the Friday concerts finished at 10pm.

Mr Wallder said: "It's not the image this site wants to have. It is private land and we allow people to come through, but they then think it is their right to come here and do what they want. We want to encourage families to come and enjoy al fresco dining."

Organisers would like to pay for security to keep the concerts safe for everyone and stop visitors bringing their own booze.

Hosted at Merton Abbey Mills on the banks of the River Wandle, the festival, launched in 1998, offers a diverse programme of theatre, music and comedy throughout July and August.

Highlights of last year's Abbeyfest included ten theatre shows, ten free open air concerts, eight Edinburgh Festival preview shows, music nights, symphony concerts, chamber concerts and Kidsfest.

The Friday night concerts that have run throughout July and August in previous years, were enjoyed by up to 2,500 Londoners per night.

The charity symphony orchestra and Kidsfest are confirmed for this year, with the rest of the programme to be announced around May.

Organisers are busy preparing for March Abbeyfest, when comedians, actors and musicians will all descend upon Merton Abbey Mills. For more information, contact the box office on 020 8542 5511.

 

TODA

Comments (2)

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6:42pm Sat 1 Feb 14

Lyon Road Factory Boss says...

AbbeyFest long ceased to be a Jazz & Blues festival! Nothing more than bland 80's pop cover versions. For far too many years residents of Colliers Wood endured Friday nights & Saturday mornings blighted by this event. Drunks, vandalism, crime, intimidation, theft, trespass on residents private gardens and all till the early hours.

Pathetic security left at 10.00pm leaving businesses & residents to suffer the consequences. Our overstretched police force does the best they can but the blame lies with the 'organisers' of this event. AbbeyFest has run it's course and should be consigned to history.
AbbeyFest long ceased to be a Jazz & Blues festival! Nothing more than bland 80's pop cover versions. For far too many years residents of Colliers Wood endured Friday nights & Saturday mornings blighted by this event. Drunks, vandalism, crime, intimidation, theft, trespass on residents private gardens and all till the early hours. Pathetic security left at 10.00pm leaving businesses & residents to suffer the consequences. Our overstretched police force does the best they can but the blame lies with the 'organisers' of this event. AbbeyFest has run it's course and should be consigned to history. Lyon Road Factory Boss
  • Score: 0

11:16am Mon 3 Feb 14

Colliers Wood Resident says...

At long last the sponsors have pulled support for an event that would surely tarnish any organisation's good image! It has become associated with anti-social behaviour: rowdiness, drunkenness, brawling and drug abuse. And I agree that the music is very far from being jazz, just the same pub singers year in, year out.

The current Director of Events needs to be shown the door so that the Market can return to its core values - arts and crafts stalls and quirky shops/restaurants. His focus on sub-standard live music is killing Merton Abbey Mills and attracting the wrong type of clientele.

We can only hope that Merton Abbey Mills will now learn from the errors of the past and start on a new journey of regeneration that will hopefully help it to shed its current badly damaged reputation.
At long last the sponsors have pulled support for an event that would surely tarnish any organisation's good image! It has become associated with anti-social behaviour: rowdiness, drunkenness, brawling and drug abuse. And I agree that the music is very far from being jazz, just the same pub singers year in, year out. The current Director of Events needs to be shown the door so that the Market can return to its core values - arts and crafts stalls and quirky shops/restaurants. His focus on sub-standard live music is killing Merton Abbey Mills and attracting the wrong type of clientele. We can only hope that Merton Abbey Mills will now learn from the errors of the past and start on a new journey of regeneration that will hopefully help it to shed its current badly damaged reputation. Colliers Wood Resident
  • Score: 0

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