Yesterday (July 12th) I ventured out to Mountsfield Park in South East London (my endz lol) to check out the Lewisham People’s Day 2008 festival, which is Lewisham’s longest running community festival.
Every July this event takes place, but up until yesterday I always chose to stay away. Reports of trouble flaring up during the festivities put me off so I always opted to stay home.
But this year I made up my mind to attend and have no regrets. I had a really great time and thankfully the event went off without incident.
With knife crime, currently spiralling out of control on the streets of London, as expected there was a strong police presence in the park, a long with undercover police officers operating in the surrounding area.
They also brought out the metal detectors, bags were given a thorough search, and security staff patted down everyone who passed through the gates.
When I arrived a group of black male teenagers were also entering the park at the same time. As soon as the police officers standing at the entrance spotted them, the atmosphere grew tense. They walked towards them, asked them their names and then moved them to one side.
Visibly and physically irritated, the smallest member of the group started to raise his voice when questioned. I thought to myself ‘shouting really isn’t going to help your cause. So shut your mouth and just remain calm’.
But I think in the end him and his friends were eventually given the go ahead to enter.
I was told that throughout the course of the day large groups of black male teenagers had been turned away by the police.
10-15 years ago this treatment would have angered me and I would have screamed “this is police harrassment”, “this is blatant racism”. But with street crime and gang culture on the rise in London, and the fact that the majority of these crimes are being committed by young black males, 90s babies, who have clearly lost their minds, yesterday’s approach by the authorities was indeed called for.
Not only is Lewisham Peoples Day, supposed to be a day of entertainment, fun, good food and music, it’s also a family day. The authorities simply couldn’t take any chances on this ocassion.
Anyway once in side the huge park, the mouth-watering scent of jerk chicken/jerk pork coming from various food stalls, the music, warm weather, and just seeing thousands of people, black and white, young and old enjoying themselves was enough to let me know that I had made the right decision to not stay home this year.
Another reason why I decided to attend this year’s People’s Day, was because my loyal subscriber/top UK Hip Hop artist Ty was on the bill.
UK Hip Hop artist Ty
Whilst I walked around taking in the sights and sounds, I spotted Ty and his entourage rushing towards the main performance tent (hee hee). The busy MC got his days/festivals mixed up and ended up going to North London’s Finsbury Park instead, where he is set to perform at the Rise Festival 2008, which will take place today.
He had to then hot foot it back across the Thames to South East London, once he realized his mistake. But the man whose talent is WASTED in this country, was still in good spirits, and gave a brilliant, highly energetic and thought provoking performance, alongside a top class live band and ultra talented backing singers (you’re right Ty they should be stars but sadly its a question of ‘if your face fits’……..).
I also took time out to watch the other performances that took place on various stages across the park. Local street dance troops, rappers and singers all showcased their talents, and I was actually really impressed.
I didn’t catch this artist’s name but she could sing!
As 7pm approached people began filing out of the park – destination home. Police helicopters could be heard hovering above, but none the less Lewisham Borough had organised an enjoyable and positive event and I will definitely be in attendance again next year.
Categories: UK Event