In March, Goldenvoice and AEG Presents revealed details of In the Neighbourhood, a programme of free activities that will bridge the gap between the promoters’ All Points East festival and APE Presents shows. Taking place in Victoria Park, London, from May 28-31, In the Neighbourhood will place community at its heart. Here, Jenny Hamada, event manager at In the Neighbourhood, answers our questions, ahead of the inaugural event…
When you discussed plans to launch All Points East was a midweek programme and community-led content always on the cards?
Yes, the midweek programme has been in the plans from the moment the tender came up in 2017. Our proposal to Tower Hamlets council put forward our ambitions for two weekends of fantastic concert days (All Points East Festival and the APE Presents shows) sitting either end of four midweek days of free entry and free activities for everyone to enjoy, including cinema, theatre, sports, and children’s activities, as well as a diverse range of high-quality food and bars – utilising the existing festival infrastructure and overlaying extra production.
We were extremely excited to have won the contract and truly believed in the full 10-day offer we were putting forward, with the midweek programme – In The Neighbourhood – being a key element of this. An integral part of our midweek proposal was not only to engage the local community by offering a diverse range of free content but also to promote local organisations and artists when securing the programming.
We are proud to have already secured 13 local content partners including theatre, arts, sports, film, as well a large selection of local food traders, with many more local partners yet to be announced. Two Tower Hamlets brewers (Redchurch and Truman’s) have also granted free pouring rights across the 10-day event.
Do you think this helped to secure Victoria Park as the event’s location and was a key driver for Tower Hamlets council?
Tower Hamlets council were keen to ensure that community benefits were a key part of what was delivered, and increasing the positive impacts of our event was integral to our proposal and the delivery of the festival.
Opening up the site for free between the two weekends of shows enables us to give the park back to the community for a full four days – which we’ve ensured coincides both with the Bank Holiday Monday and the May half-term holiday. These dates allow us to reach as many visitors as possible to enjoy the benefits of the programme, especially residents and families living in Tower Hamlets. Activities on site are also free-of-charge – everything from cinema, music and theatre, to sports, circus and arts workshops. This makes the event as inclusive as possible, removing all barriers to entry and engagement – especially important for the borough in which we’re operating.
Engaging local organisations and artists was a major consideration of this midweek programme – with activities being sourced from the outstanding organisations and artists based throughout Tower Hamlets and areas surrounding Victoria Park. This was something that we promised in our original proposal and are working hard to over-deliver on within the programming, boosting the positive economic impact of our event on the borough. The fact that there are so many amazing businesses and creatives based locally makes this an extremely enjoyable commitment to achieve.
How are you working with the local authority and community to put the event on?
Our philosophy of delivering first-class events extends to creating lasting and quality relationships with all stakeholders. Engagement with the local authority and the local resident and business communities is an extremely important element of our event delivery across the full 10-day event.
So far, we have held three community information meetings, with one more to come before the event dates, to allow residents and businesses to present and suggestions, queries and concerns regarding the event. These meetings also provide the opportunity to find out more about how to get involved. Alongside this we have a dedicated community email address all year around to answer any queries and concerns regarding the event, and a dedicated content email address to received ongoing applications from those who wish to get involved in the programming.
For our midweek programming, we have been working closely alongside Tower Hamlets arts and events team throughout the booking process. The team’s extensive knowledge of local content providers and organisations complemented our existing connections within the borough. We hosted the event’s first Tower Hamlets Business Fair in January, which was open to businesses, operators, suppliers and performance content from the borough interested in getting involved with the event.
This event was closely supported by Tower Hamlets arts and events team, and well as the Tower Hamlets enterprise team. The fair was a great success, with more than 20 local businesses and arts organisations attending – many of which went on to become officially involved with the 2018 event, both across midweek and on the show days.
What kind of demographic are you trying to attract and how many people are you looking to get on-site midweek compared to the weekend?
The simple answer is that we’re aiming to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, creating a programme of content that has the local community’s interests at its heart and also engages with those who are not able to or do not wish to attend a show day.
We’re confident that In the Neighbourhood has something for everyone – whether that be watching a movie, creating a unique art piece, watching some live music, taking children along for workshops and theatre, or just sitting back and grabbing a bite to eat and drink. As it is taking place during the May half-term and encompasses the Bank Holiday Monday we’re expecting a large amount of families attending and have therefore booked a broad range of family-friendly activities suitable for children.
The event site is licensed for up to 40,000 people a day on the show days, and 14,999 on the midweek days. We predict the Bank Holiday Monday to be the biggest footfall driver during the week so are definitely expecting to start the week on a high. We will be in Victoria Park for at least the next four years and hopefully many more years after this, so our ambitions are to grow the midweek footfall each year.
Will all of the All Points East site be open for In the Neighbourhood or just parts of the site?
The first weekend of shows – All Points East Festival – will be using the whole event site, with the second weekend – APE Presents – using the middle and east sections only. In the Neighbourhood will take place within the middle section of the site, which includes our North Stage, X Stage and the Bandstand, while the east and west sections of the site undergo the changeovers for the second weekend.
What will stand out about All Points East and In the Neighbourhood?
The sheer volume of free content and the range of high quality, locally sourced activities on offer. The programming runs all day, every day until our 9.30pm curfew each night, and visitors don’t need to spend a penny unless they’d like to sample some of our delicious food and drink.
The Monday of In the Neighbourhood – All Points Equal – will focus on celebrating the Votes for Women centenary, which we’re extremely proud to be part of. We have influential speakers, themed cinema screenings, banner-making, exhibitions, as well as spoken word and music from some very impressive females.