Events in Parks Explained
Benefits of having events in parks
Having a varied and well-managed outdoor events programme can offer much value and benefit to the residents of Haringey. The council is committed to supporting events in parks that contribute to our vibrant culture, environment and economy.
In 2013 Haringey Council adopted the Outdoor Events Policy 2014 (PDF, 241KB) which details how we build a sustainable and varied programme of events for Haringey residents. It seeks to protect the community and the parks and open spaces infrastructure and minimise and mitigate negative impacts which events may cause.
There’s no denying that events also generate a much needed income which is invested back into benefit the borough’s parks.
Type of events allowed
Anything from small-scale community events and charity fun runs, through to major music festivals are allowed in our parks, depending on the size and suitability of the park itself. All event applications are subject to rigorous checks to make sure the event and size is suitable to hold in the proposed location and that all appropriate organisations and stakeholders are notified and involved in making sure that safe events are held for visitors, and that park users are still able to enjoy using their local park.
Each year approximately 100 events take place in Haringey parks. The vast majority of these are community events which have included Jazz festivals, art events and cultural celebrations. Sporting and charity events are also very popular, and a limited number of major music festivals are held in Finsbury Park each year.
Haringey Council very much welcomes and encourages events put on for the community and offers support and guidance to community and voluntary organisations wanting to host their own events in the parks and open spaces.
Indeed the vast majority of events held each year are those put on by the community, for local people. In 2017 we wanted to encourage even more very small community events (less than 100 people in attendance) so we've waived the application and park hire charges. If you would like more information on how to do this please visit the community events page.
Money generated from major events held in Finsbury Park contributes to providing support for community events to take place in parks. This includes more than £20,000 from the Parks and Open Spaces Small Grants ‘community events’ theme which is available for anyone to apply for.
Event management training is also held each year for groups who want to learn how to put on a safe and exciting event.
History of events in Finsbury Park
Parks have benefited from having events held in them for years.
Public events have been taking place in Finsbury Park since it first opened in 1869. In recent years, Finsbury Park has been the prime location for many international music acts, playing to large audiences within the open arena of the Park. This includes the first open-air symphony concert of the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1948.
The Fleadh Irish music jamboree started in the park in 1990. The Rise Festival launched in 1996 and was held for many years promoting its anti-racism message, and many individuals and groups have played including Neil Young in 1993, Pulp in 1998, Oasis and New Order in 2002 and Arctic Monkeys in 2014.
Cost of hiring a park for an event
An application for a 'very small community event' held in a park, with less than 100 people attending, is free of any park hire charge.
All other applications to use a park are subject to an application and booking fee. These go towards the administration costs associated with facilitating the hire of parks.
Costs to hire the parks are dependent on the type of event and the person or organisation hiring. All Friends of Park and recognised park user groups can use the parks free of any charge, although they still have to follow the booking application procedure to ensure all guidelines are met.
For other community groups or charities wanting to hire a park to host a free public event, with more than 100 in attendance, charges can range from as little as £25 per day, through to £500 per day depending on the size and type of the event and the park they want to hire.
Funfairs and circuses hiring Finsbury Park for a day could be charged in the region of £800 and large scale commercial events could be charged as much as £240,000 for one days basic site hire fee.
All event organisers are charged a refundable deposit which is only returned after a site inspection has taken place to determine no damage has occurred during the event. If damage has occurred the deposit will be retained to pay for rectification works. And if the works to repair the damage comes to more than the placed deposit, the hirer is liable to pay for all costs.
Download our Outdoor Events Fees and Charges (PDF, 335KB)
Where the money goes
All income generated from events taking place in Haringey parks and open spaces, is spent in the parks and open spaces.
All income generated through events specifically held in Finsbury Park, will be spent in Finsbury Park as required under the Open Spaces Act 1906. In the first instance, this will assist with all management and maintenance costs associated with running the Park. Any surplus event income derived will be used to make improvements to the parks infrastructure as set out in the Outdoor Events Policy.
The application and booking fees will be utilised to fund the staffing and administration costs of the booking and event management process.
Surplus income will initially be used to support and develop community led festivals and events in parks across the borough. Part of the money will be used to fund training opportunities for community events organisers to help increase the number of people and the skill level of those working voluntarily within community organisations to put on events.
The remainder of the income will be used to make improvements to parks.
Decision making process
This is dependent on the size and scale of the event. All applications are shared with recognised park stakeholders for their comments before any decision to hire the park is made. These stakeholders include Friends groups and statutory bodies including Licensing, Highways, Police and the fire authority.
For most events that take place the final decision lies with council officers.
For events that come under the following, authority is sought from the Cabinet Member for Environment prior to giving an in principle agreement:
- attendance is over 10,000
- event lasts for more than 7 days
- event lasts more than 2 days with 5,000 or more in attendance
- organiser occupies a site for more than 14 days including setup and take down periods
- additional major scale events where there is demonstrable community support
How you can have a say about what kind of events take place in your local park
All applications are shared with recognised park stakeholders and their feedback is considered before any decision on hiring the park is made.
Anyone who has a concern about an event can also raise the issue with the Friends of their local park or their local ward councillors who will feed back their views.
How to find out about events taking place
Details of all events taking place in parks is publicised on our What’s On calendar.
In addition, as soon as a major event has been confirmed for Finsbury Park, information will be shared in a number of ways including:
- placed on our Events in Finsbury Park page
- LB Islington and LB Hackney are encouraged to share major event information on their webpages
- emails sent to those who have pre-registered their interest with us – to register please email firstname.lastname@example.org requesting to be notified of Finsbury Park major events
- shared through social media including Twitter
- notices placed in park notice boards
- letters delivered two weeks before a major event to over 10,000 households around Finsbury Park in Haringey, Hackney and Islington, detailing the event and contact details
Potential disruption caused by events
For most events that take place in parks, little disruption is experienced by general park users. In fact most of these events are open to the public and usually free of charge so actually benefits local people.
Major events that take place in Finsbury Park can have an effect on those using the park and living and working in the area. This includes bits of the park being unavailable to use, large numbers of people coming into the area, and an increase in noise and litter.
In the many months leading up to a major event, much is done to minimise or mitigate disruption as much as possible. Detailed plans are developed and action implemented to mitigate and limit any possible impact.
Complaining about noise, anti-social behaviour or other issues caused by an event in a park
We have provided further information on noise control of major events that take place in Finsbury Park here. If someone would like to submit a complaint about an event taking place in a park then they can complain via email to email@example.com. Complaints about noise generated by an event should be directed through to the Noise Control team.
When major events are put on in Finsbury Park, all residents and businesses in the surrounding area are provided with a leaflet detailing information on how they can get in touch in the lead up to and during the events to complain of any issues that may arise. This leaflet is delivered directly to residents and businesses two weeks before a major event.
Details are also put on the Events in Finsbury Park page so that should always be the first point of contact.
Organising your own park
If you would like to put on an event in your local park then there are a number of things you need to consider beforehand and documents you will need to produce. These include putting your plans together into an Event Management Plan, doing risk assessments for the various activities that you are planning to put on and getting insurance.
All park bookings are now done online through our EventApp booking portal (external link). Here you can also view guidelines and template documents that will assist with your event planning.
And for those wanting to apply for a grant to host an event, all the details on the Parks and Open Spaces Small Grants Scheme are available to view online.
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