Brick Lane Comedy Festival axed after complaints

Organisers of the inaugural Brick Lane Comedy Festival, which was set to take place on 10-14 July, have been forced to cancel the event due to heavy opposition from the local community.

Organisers forced to cancel Brick Lane Comedy Festival
Organisers forced to cancel Brick Lane Comedy Festival

The event had to be relocated in March from its previous base at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, where it was previously known as the Greenwich Comedy Festival. Owners of the site said they could no longer accommodate a large marquee in which the comedy event takes place.

At its new location in Allen Gardens, near Brick Lane, organisers said the festival faced backlash from local community groups and residents, despite the full support of the borough.

Cass Biggs, who was organising the five-day event with her brother Will, told Event that even though they had prepared a robust event management plan, the siblings’ licence application had received a high level of representations against the festival.

She said: "Residents said they were sick of the boozy night life around Brick Lane and that is why they objected to our event. But the festival is not like that – it predominantly attracts 35-45-year-olds.

"We had detailed plans of elements like stewards and security who would be positioned down roads so that guests would leave quietly and safely to not disturb local residents."

The pair revealed the news earlier this week by publishing a statement on the event’s website, which was expected to attract up to 1,400 attendees each night.

The line-up for the Brick Lane Comedy Festival 2013 included Al Murray, Alan Davies and Ed Byrne, who were set to perform in the Comedy Big Top marquee. The event was also set to host live music being performed on a bandstand, as well as bars and street food stalls.

Biggs confirmed to Event that plans are already in motion to host the Brick Lane version of the comedy festival next year.

She said: "We are considering other locations like Victoria Park and Mile End Park for the Brick Lane event, and we are currently in talks with locations in Greenwich to revive the festival there as well for 2014."

Cass and Will Biggs revealed that ticketholders to this year’s event would be contacted by their ticketing agents in due course, including TicketWeb, and would receive a full refund.

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