Lewisham People’s Day, Saturday 9th July

Lewisham Council writes:

Ska Legend Neville Staple, from The Specials, and his Band lead a cast of thousands at Lewisham's longest running free festival, Lewisham People's Day, on Saturday from 12pm-8pm, Mountsfield Park.

The Neville Staple Band and the BBC Singers lead a fantastic line up of over 1,000 local and international performers on eight beautifully themed stages. Plus Electro Swing Tea Rooms, Art in the Park, Guerrilla Knitting, Blackheath Halls, The People's Theatre and lots more at one of Lewisham's favourite friendly family festivals.

For more information go to: www.lewisham.gov.uk/peoplesday


TM said...

Now I always thought 12pm or am for that matter did not exist and it was either 12 noon or 12 midnight.

I was just going to have a go a Lewisham Council when I discovered their publicity material quotes 12 noon!

So it appears there are strange goings on at BC Towers in respect of the coventions of the clock.

Brockley Nick said...

it's a middle class thing, tm

Brockley Ben said...

Um... 12am and 12pm are perfectly valid. Midnight and noon (respectively) are commonly used because the am/pm switch has the potential for confusion.

knitshop.co.uk said...

Looking forward to the day, lets hope we will have plenty of sunshine!!

I will be at the Knitting Lounge in the big top, yellow area - come and say hello if you there....

TM said...

Here is a greater authority than I on the question:


And I thought we had decided class no longer exists ;0) or was that another blog?

Brockley Nick said...

How about if I write it 12p'm?

TM said...

Now that I have established that the show starts at 12 noon then frankly I don't giv'a damm

And Catman it's SAINSBURY'S

Brockley Nick said...

@Tm - glad you corrected him, I would have done it but didn't want to be accused of a grievous conflict of interest.

Anonymous said...

Will there be a free knifing and/or gang fight as in previous years?

Brockley Ben said...

@Nick you can cut that right out!

@TM interesting. I'm failing to find a source that definitively cites the contrary, other than what I was taught many years ago and have used ever since. TBF, though, even the maritime lot say it's a convention established to avoid confusion rather than suggesting 12am/pm don't exist. In my experience the context usually does a similar job.

(Other sources, including the Guardian Styleguide, go further and say that the 12 should be avoided altogether, reverting to simply "noon" and "midnight")

Lou Baker said...

There's an error in your report.

You describe it as a 'free festival.'

Actually we all pay for it - out of our council tax.

So rather than charging those who want to go they charge all of us.

We all pay. Even if we'd prefer our hard earned cash was spent on impoverished pensioners or disadvantaged kids - instead of not very well known musicians.

? said...

Lou, you do keep labouring that rather obvious point. It's free at the point of use, we don't means test those who attend, it's an event that makes Lewisham a slightly better place to be. Free papers are not free, we pay though the increased cost of good through advertising etc, etc...

Anonymous said...

Blimey, were even trying to change the time now.

Innocent bystander said...

Anon earlier - the knifing may be free but I suspect the Gang Fight might be all ticket.

It's a shame said...

Um...I kinda agree with Lou. I don't think this event makes Lewisham a better place to be; it's more like a glorified family day for Lewisham council employees. Let's get rid of this and the Lewisham Life magazine - and maybe we will be able to save an important service.

max said...

I'm a big fan of the People's Day actually.
People like Lou that have a very busy life can get in touch in the flesh with every community group in Lewisham in just one outing.

Erm...no said...

It's open to everyone so your comment about it being for employees is demonstrably false. In addition s far as I am aware, council employees pay income and council tax so it's a doubly incorrect assertion. My local council used to hold a parade every year, it's ain't new and it a perfectly appropriate function of a council. If, like Lou, you want to live in splendid isolation to those around you and have no sense of civic pride well that's a little depressing.

Stay at home and fester.

Lou Baker said...

@erm .. no

It might be 'a perfectly appropriate function for a council' when there is plenty of money to go around.

But in these tough times it is not appropriate for a self proclaimed cash strapped council to spend taxpayers money on this sort of superfluous guff which will appeal to a fraction of the population.

If Lewisham wants to put on a people's day, fine. But it should charge an entrance fee and get sponsors on board to ensure the event makes a profit - or, at worst, breaks even.

Constantly branding things as 'free' when they are
palpably not is highly damaging. It does immense harm to the NHS, for example, for people to think it's free. If they think it's free they forgive the inflexible GP service, they accept 18 week waits for treatment, they are happy to seek unnecessary treatments. Simply giving everyone a bill for their share of the NHS every year would dramatically change perceptions of it. Suddenly these downsides which seems acceptable when it's free don't seem so acceptable when it's actually cost you £2000.

So have your People's Day - and enjoy your taxpayer funded party. Just don't call it free when it's not.

glass half full said...

30,000 people attend the Lewisham People's Day, and having visited for the last few years, I'd say the demographic it attracted was comparable to what you would see if you went shopping in Lewisham town centre - a pretty fair representation.

No idea of the cost, but it does provide an excellent opportunity for different parts of the community to come together, as well as a platform for sharing information about council services, college courses, local community groups etc. I'd say that was worth quite a lot.

Given how strapped for cash everyone is these days, these "free" local festivals may be about the only chance for some of that 30,000 to get out, have fun, see some good music (from well known performers and others) and leave the struggles of day to day life behind for a few hours.

Lou Baker said...

Charge them a couple of quid each - 60K, that'll pay for it.

And 30,000 go to it? Even assuming they all come from Lewisham - which they won't - that means 220,000 of the borough's residents don't go to it.

Waste of money.

It's a shame said...

Hey 'Erm No' I didn't say it was just for council employees, I said that it 'feels like' a council employee family day.

My comment is saying (in plain English) that in these times we should not be wasting money on a council funded event or producing a council funded magazine.

Lou is absolutely right - this event is far from free.

Tamsin said...

I'm involved on the fringes of it and, as understand it, this time it is in theory self-financing(having been going that way for a few years now). Most organisations with a stand are paying for their pitch and there are some major sponsors and externally sourced funding.

Where the cost to the Council comes in, of course, is all the officer and employee time as various LBL bodies get their act together to present themselves to residents and churn out hundreds of leaflets and information to give away. Also, obviously, public money on the extra policing.

Again, like the drain on the public purse it used to be, knife fights are, hopefully, a thing of the past. There is stringent security in place - last year an old lady in her nineties had a fruit-knife taken off her (although she did get it returned later) - and a real effort is being made to change the age demograpic of those attending - with more attractions for young children and the elderly.

no, not really said...

If a lady in her nineties is carrying a knife then the effort to change the age demographic has worked.

Anonymous said...

Is there even such thing as a fruit knife? Or is it just a conservation area object of fancy?

Lou Baker said...


But why does the council have to be involved at all?

There are plenty of companies, charities, schools, individuals that put on all sorts of festivals, fetes and parties year round.

They do it to raise money or to make money or to raise awareness. But they don't delegate it to bureaucrats who, frankly, should be doing something better with their time.

When our council properly educates every child, properly cares for every child in care, properly feeds every needy pensioner, has fixed every street light, pothole, and removed all the grafitti and dog mess from its streets then
it can start funding parties. Until then it is spending our money inappropriately and councillors should act to
end this folly.

glass half full said...

Well, accepting your figures, Lou, I'm happy to see 24p of my council tax being spent on a massive community event like this, even if I don't end up going myself. Individual companies, charities and other organisations can't get the economies of scale that the Peoples' Day can. It's like fireworks - if everyone has their own party, you only get to see a handful of fireworks - if everyone comes together you get a great display for the same per capita cost.

And for some people it could be life-changing, if they enrol on a course, or even consider adopting a child as a result of visiting a stand at People's Day.

Anonymous said...

Hear Hear.And i believe they have done away with the Lewisham Life Mag and is now online.

D said...

Lou - your point seems to me much like saying that Vera Lynn shouldn't have entertained the forces in the war because it was superfluous guff?

I'd say that in these 'difficult times', events like this become even more important than ever as they show everyone that this is still a good community to live in and be a part of, and to stop us all from falling into the gutter of negativity that you seem to wallow in.

Anonymous said...

In addition s far as I am aware, council employees pay income and council tax so it's a doubly incorrect assertion.

And the source of council employees income with which they pay taxes....is?

Anonymous said...

...the taxpayer, just like everyone who works for every company ever.

dave said...

Er no, the taxpayer does not pay the wages of everyone who works for every company ever.

Durr! said...

...and the income for every company in britain that provides services comes from someone else who pays taxes, from your local corner shop to the bank who looks after your wages and pays its chisf exec £20m. So your point is?

It's not hard, have a think and get back to me.

Anonymous said...

Indeed - thats why people who cream expensive off private companies are very often as wrong as the MPs were. It all has to come from somewhere and if it didn't we might all be better off.

Lou Baker said...

@glass half full

Maybe it is only 24p per council taxpayer - who knows. But then there's the 24p per council taxpayer it takes to employ a 'cycling champion' and the 24p it costs for Lewisham Life. And the 24p on catering at council functions. And the 24p on PR people. And the 24p on over-priced supplies and so on and so on and so on until you have dozens and dozens of pounds. And the same applies with central government spending.

Now, you may think it's fine for our hard earned money to be spent on glorified fetes in Catford while pensioners die alone in manky hospital corridors or teenagers in care are left to fend for themselves - almost inevitably slipping in to
crime and misery - but I don't.

When our governments - central and local - get all the important things right then they can spend on the extras. I think it's a disgrace that there are poor kids getting a worse deal than they should and pensioners are getting worse meals than they should when money
is being spent on superfluous guff like People's Day.

I'm not criticising the event - if residents want to go
to it, fine. But they should pay and it should be entirely self-funding. And, until it is, it should never be described as free. Something we are all obligated to pay for - whether we want to or not - is clearly not free.

max said...

To improve community life and relations is clearly one of the functions of the Council and as such the funding of a day out for all community groups of the borough is an entirely legitimate expense.

Honestly, the argument that until other functions like social care has not reached level of excellence than nothing else should be done is just one enormous intellectual fallacy.
You could then say that they should not fill in pot holes either until all children in care are catered to excellence. Only that you hate People's day and so you apply this warped reasoning to it and not pot holes.
Not just a blinkered argument, but an arbitrary blinked one.

Lou Baker said...


I don't hate People's Day. I choose not to go to an event that I suspect is dominated by sandal wearers - but that's my choice.

What is not my choice is whether or not I pay for your hippy festival. I pay for your fete in Catford - while you contribute zilch, zero, nothing to events I might choose to go to.

And it's an arbitrary choice because a bunch of bureaucrats have decided your sandal festival should be taxpayer funded and others should not.

I make no apology for expecting important services to be prioritised. To me it is entirely reasonable to expect pensioners to get decent meals and kids to get a decent education BEFORE Birkenstock fans get a chance to compare footwear.

Go ahead and have your gathering. I have no qualms with you meeting to celebrate mediocrity. I ask merely that you pay for it. I expect my money to go to far more worthwhile causes.

DJ said...

A 'hippy festival'? Bless. Have you heard of popular beat combo The Beatles, grandad?

max said...

Lou, on behalf of the sandal wearing brigade (Birkenstock by the way) let me apologise for the standards of the People's Day that sadly don't allow you be part of it.
Selfishly we'll enjoy ourselves without you, please eat 24p worth of tar from the public road as compensation.

Lou Baker said...


Enjoy your day. I donate my 24p towards lunch for an impoverished pensioner. She can have more boil in the bag fish and an extra carrot because I have selflessly refused to contribute towards a gathering of people with inappropriate footwear.

Wiggle your toes in joy that someone old is starving while you and your middle class chums rave.

max said...

They can eat tar (there goes the myth of the sandal wearing middle classes sense of guilt).

Larf said...

Lou, will you please stop pretending that you give a flying f**k about the poor or infirm. There has never been time when you couldn't have spent more money on schools, hospitals etc, etc... It does not mean that you have to ignore civic events, pick up litter, maintain our historic buildings, keep parks free (yes not "free" free at point of use) not charge kids to use swings...

Stop being a brainless knob end...thanks

By the way, how do you feel about the sandle wearing guardian blowing the rightwing press out of the water?

Anonymous said...

I'm going to with Lou. In this period of Council Cuts, my money as a rate payer could be better spent on libraries, health care, almost anything else than a "free" festival. Total waste of time and money. Labour Council buying votes in much the same way as Roman Emperors used to.

Anonymous said...

Cobblers. It's a false argument, you could use that argument at any point over the last 100 years. Cuts have been made, the Max had funding cut. The idea that you spend nothing on the arts or community events is wrong, even now. After all as a country we seemed happy to spend oodles of cash on a state wedding and give everyone a day off.

EternallyBored said...

I dread the day when society ends up at the point Lou idolises, where we're all healthy, well fed and looked after but when we're not allowed to do anything that might be considered fun. Brilliant - we can all live and work through 100 years of misery.

Lou Baker said...


I'd like us all to be healthy, wealthy and wise. And I believe we all have to take some responsibility for our own lives - not expect the state to do it all.

I'd love everyone to have fun too. But I don't think taxpayers should pay for that fun. I can think of nothing worse than hanging around a soggy field in Catford - surrounded by a bunch of beardy wierdies in sandals and cords, listening to dull music and forced to celebrate mediocrity. That might be your idea of fun - in
which case go for it. I have no objection to you doing whatever you like to enjoy yourself. But why should I fund your fun?

I like skiing, cycling and dining out. They're some of the things I do for fun. Should I expect taxpayers to fund a trip to Val d'Isere or an evening at The Ivy?

People's Day is wrong. It takes money from the people who really need it and gives it to middle class professionals who wear cords.

Anonymous said...

What's this constant obsession with corduroy and sandles?
You sound like a pervert.

max said...

So, Lou, you've never been to People's Day because of your prejudice against those that wear garments you don't approve of but you feel that this prejudice of yours justifies comparing the cost of a village fete in a local public park (rumoured on this thread to be about 24p per taxpayer, i.e. almost nothing) to that of a some of the most expensive luxuries money can buy.

And all this to pathetically trying to justify a completely bogus argument whose main and as far as I can descern only merit is that of being contrarian.
Well please stop this, you're making no favour to contrarians.

DJ said...

Lou thinks he's Christopher Hitchens.
He lacks the wit, intelligence and charm but his stance on sandals is spot on.

effeffess said...

I am incredibly grateful that I don't know Lou Baker. Long may this continue!

I cannot believe how narrow minded your views are, and you've clearly never been to People's Day before. Either that or you were taking very strong drugs and have corrupted your memory of what it's actually like.

You are welcome to your life of misery, but I'm heading off to the park shortly for a great community event where I shall be enjoying myself and having fun.

And to argue that the council shouldn't pay for it when money is tight is to entirely miss the point: why are you just accepting the council's funding cuts? If you care as much about feeding the elderly etc. as you claim to, surely you should be taking action aimed at stopping the reduction of the council's budget rather than whinging about an event that happens one day per year.

Do you find it acceptable that Bullock earns twice what David Cameron does?

Do you find it acceptable that large retail chains send profits overseas to avoid contributing tax to the country where their earnings are coming from?

Anonymous said...

I'm not Lou, but let's answer a few of those points.

" to argue that the council shouldn't pay for it when money is tight. "

No it isn't. Why should I pay for your enjoyment? Very little of what is going on in "People's Day" appeals to me. I do not ask for the Borough to subsidise those things I enjoy.

The money should either be spent on things that the borough has an obligation to provide (such as libraries) or returned to the rate payer.

"why are you just accepting the council's funding cuts?"

Why not accept the council's funding cuts if it means that rates can be kept to a reasonable amount and that taxes don't need to go up? We can then do what we want with the money that we earn rather than passing it over to local government to do what they want with it.

"Do you find it acceptable that Bullock earns twice what David Cameron does?"

It is probably things like the "People's Day" bread-and-circuses (and a mindset which says you must vote Labour) which keeps the current lot in local power in Lewisham and allows them to pay themselves what they want. In any case, The Rt Hon David Cameron will earn much much more than Sir Stephen Bullock after he retires. Look at what Blair is earning now.

"Do you find it acceptable that large retail chains send profits overseas to avoid contributing tax to the country where their earnings are coming from?"

What the heck has that got to do with Leiwsham Council spending our money on a free festival? If it is worth going to, they should be able to charge £5 a head, rather than use our money to seek to buy our votes.

Anonymous said...

Guerilla knitting!!!!

Sounds dangerous....quick call in the police, the army, the navy, the SAS...

Anonymous said...

What if you are a family of four and are on a low income? Its my money too and Im happy that some of it is spent on a community event. Very traditional and not an unreasonable thing for a local authority to do. I find the v&a a little dull to be honest but I'm also happy that so e of my taxes go toward maintaining it. These things enhance our little world, London can be an overwhelmingly oppressive place. We need more events, not less.

D said...

I went on Saturday and have to say it was a brilliant day - this is exactly the sort of thing that makes me love living in the area. A couple of the obvious benefits that some people choose to ignore are:
1. Events like this increase our impression of the local area and community and as a result will encourage us all to promote the area to outsiders who otherwise may hold the stereotypical view that Lewisham is rubbish. That will bring in investment which is generally a good thing.

2. Seeing the mix of people and cultures there does wonders to break down the stereotypes that exist around here. In particular, seeing gangs of young black youths helping out, having fun and generally just being nice kids makes a great change from everything the papers tend to tell us, and as a result helps make us feel safer in our homes.

These benefits will reflect on everyone in the community, (even those like Lou who are too blinkered to go along and see the reality) so we all see a return on our 24p whether we take part or not.

A massive well done to everyone involved!

Lou Baker said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lou Baker said...

Oh dear ... censored by Nick.

I must try harder.

Brockley Nick said...

Make the same point, minus the abuse and accusations of racism.

Lou Baker said...

It wasn't meant to be abusive - if it was I apologise. But I felt compelled to highlight the mildly offensive turn of language in D's post.

Using the term 'gangs' to describe the 'young black youths' helping out .... That is seriously uncool. Even taking the rest of the sentence into account.

Anyway, the rest of my point was that I also went to an event on Saturday and it had music and food and great community spirit. But it was in west London, was organised by a charity and cost £2 to get in.

Fun - free of state funding. And it made some money for a good cause too.

The question isn't whether People's Day is good - I'm sure for those with a questionable taste in footwear it is. The question is who should pay. And with money tight and complaints all over about budget cuts I believe there is no case at all for the council to subsidise it. I trust next year it'll either be run for profit or axed.

drakefell debaser said...

Don't worry Lou, Birkenstock might sponsor it next year.

bread and circuses said...

I believe you support the Olympics, as I do? An element of State funding is involved and many would argue, far less inclusive with the cheepest ticket 20 odd quid.

You seem to be ideologically opposed to any public funding for events designed to strengthen community cohesion. I think thats daft. 24p? cheap at twice the price.

Anonymous said...

Lou, as Tamsin pointed out way up there ^ the event is already self financing so your 24p is safe for you to spend on sensible lace up shoes.
Don't let that get in the way of one of your needy 'look at me, aren't I just so outrageously opinionated!' rants though.

D said...

Sorry Lou - Nothing offensive was intended, I was just pointing out that the image we tend to be shown of the youths of Lewisham, is that of gangs of young black kids causing trouble, wheres events like this let us all see (obviously as most of us knew already) that this just isn't the case.

max said...

D, it's a perfectly valid point, common experiences challenge prejudices and at People's day lots of people benefit by sharing with people they normally are prejudiced about.

Lou could have mingled with sandal wearing pinkos, he decided against, his loss.

Lou Baker said...


How could I have missed such a classy gathering?

Incidentally, at the non-state funded event I went to very few people were wearing sandals.

The others must have been allowed in in error.

max said...

Lou, tell us more about your affordable charity gathering in West London, it's getting increasingly fantastic.

Please - said...

STOP feeding the troll!
He's (lou) so boring.
As boring as all the mung/honest fare comments.
Worst thing on Brockley Central.

Anonymous said...

Lou, you got a:

"This post has been removed by a blog administrator."

if you do something that *really* gets under Nicks skin you don't even get the pleasure of public admonishment - please try harder.

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