All Points East festival divides opinion amongst Hackney locals

Up to 50,000 people pass through Victoria Park’s gates over the two weekends but it has divided local opinion on its benefits.

East London is a fitting spot for a festival due to its large green spaces, vibrant communities, and good transport links.

Victoria Park has hosted various events for over ten years and this year the park saw the return of the popular All Points East.

A festival reveler taking in the sights of Victoria Park and the sounds during All Points East 2021.

The festival is in its fifth year running although 2020’s event was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.

While Victoria Park falls under Tower Hamlets‘ jurisdiction, the park sits on the border with Hackney and brings a lot of revenue to the area.

Up to 50,000 people pass through its gates over the two weekends but it has divided local opinion on its benefits.

While shops and cafe’s are happy for the extra income the increased footfall to the locality brings, not everyone was happy.

All Points East is held at Victoria Park every August

Victoria Park resident Desmond Williams said: “We are happy to have the festivals here, it brings a nice vibe to the area, but a few years back we had a real problem with rowdiness and drug debris left on the pavements.

“This is a family area and no one wants their kids to see this stuff do they?”

The first All Points East festival saw a plethora of drug paraphernalia strewn across nearby streets with nitrate oxide balloons thrown to the ground after each use.

Ice cream parlour worker Gemma said: “We’ve been open two years and the crowds have not affected us in a bad way.

“People have just been coming in for icecreams.”

Geoff Peters one of the security stewards said: “Compared to footie crowds, it’s been okay.

“Today and tomorrow there’ll be plenty of people but there have been no problems here.”

A customer care duo standing at the entrance to the park said: “There’s been no trouble or problems this year and that is down the mix of ages.

“We’ve seen people in their twenties right through to their eighties.

“The weather also makes a difference and also because we are now out of Covid, everyone is happy to be out.”

Young Father star Alloysious Massaquoi is a guest curator for this year's Jupiter Rising festival. Picture: Michael Jamison/Shutterstock

Rick Hudson venting on Nextdoor, the neighbourhood online group, said: “I took the kids to “Neighbourhood” at Victoria Park on Sunday.

“Very kind of the organisers of All Points East to let the locals in, for free, but boy, what a poor, poor effort.

“Literally a box ticking exercise for taking over our park for the best weeks of the summer and allowing 250,000+ people to enjoy the amazing music.

“But for the “Neighbourhood” really- no effort- no money spent. Friendly staff and all that - but pretty much nothing to do (for free at least).

“Yes, I could pay £7 each for a ride on the ferris wheel or £6 for a brownie or £5 for a tiny, tiny beer!

“The kids were really disappointed as I didn’t have the money to spend on those things. To do just a few of things they wanted would have cost me close to £100 with three kids and me.

“This is one of the poorest boroughs in London, why can’t they make it a little bit cheaper and why couldn’t they do more to make it an event worth attending?”

Victoria Park resident Zara Kai said: “I agree. £5 each for one of the rides that lasted only few minutes like maybe 10 min.

“Large bag chips were £10 lol.‘“

Katrina Saliba from Roman Road said: “It’s disgusting how people can think they can charge those prices with the current way things are going at the moment with “the cost of living” crisis.

“I’m having about 2-3 hours of sleep at night now my energy whacked up from £85 a month for gas and electricity to £195 a month that’s 129%!!

“We are a low income family we both work but it’s still not enough and the borough want to charge these prices knowing that the majority of us are skint! It’s a disgrace!”

Liam Gardener a fire fighter from the south east is attending All Points East this weekend

Liam Gardener a fire fighter from the south east said: “The line up makes a difference in what sort of problems there are and getting here was easy enough, the event is well organised and there’s been few problems.

“We’re here to see The National.”

There has been a much greater police presence at All Points East compared to previous years.

A police inspector who declined to be named said: “There have not been many problems here.

“We are here to look out for anything that happens when the gates open and the egress happens.

“We are looking for robberies, thefts and one of the key things is violence against women.

“We want everyone to get home safely but when the weather’s good, stuff can happen.”

A spokesperson for All Points East declined to comment.