Get involved: send your pictures, video, news & views by texting TIMES NEWS to 80360, or email us
Wet weather forces committee to pull plug on East Barnet Festival
East Barnet Festival was cancelled as another weekend of heavy rain spread across the borough.
Downpours swamped Oak Hill Park, leaving the festival’s committee no choice but to pull the plug on the community event planned to take place from Friday, July 6-Sunday, July 8.
Barry Ainsworth, festival trustee, said: “We were setting the electrics up on Thursday and building the stages. Everything was going fine until the storms started that night.
“On Friday it just got worse and worse – vans were getting stuck on the field and the electrics were getting wet. We couldn’t risk it.”
After calling an emergency meeting, the committee decided to cancel the weekend’s events including a dog show, 20 dance groups, a car show and 22 bands which were set to perform on a stage sponsored by Noah’s Ark charity the Hadley Trust.
Solo artist Tim Leffman was going to open the music stage on Saturday night. He said: “It as such a shame – but they had to is for health and safety reasons. “Hopefully there will be an opportunity for us to perform somewhere else. We’re all very keen about promoting live music in Barnet."
The festival annually attracts crowds of up to 15-20,000 and usually costs approximately £30,000. It brings in approximately £33,000, and after putting £1,000 aside for the following year, the rest is split between local charities.
Mr Ainsworth said: “People were disappointed, but most understood and said ‘that’s life’.
“It wasn’t a nice thing to have to do, but we had no choice.”
Despite the downpours and Pymmes Brook bursting its banks on Saturday, the funfair still operated over the weekend and some stalls turned out to sell a variety of food, jewellery and arts and crafts.
Mr Ainsworth is also determined to reschedule the music performances in the next three weeks.
He said: “I’m not going to give up that easily. I’m looking at indoor sites – I won’t risk the weather again.”
Priya Singh, Noah's Ark community fundraiser, said the charity is looking forward to being involved in the rescheduled event.
She added: “Noah’s Ark, together with The Hadley Trust, was really disappointed that the music festival was unable to happen this weekend especially after all the hard work and planning that has gone in to it by the organising committee.
"Unfortunately the weather is not something we can predict.”
East Finchley Festival was similarly called off last month when Cherry Tree Wood was waterlogged following torrential downpours.