Licence granted for dance festival in Barking

A new dance festival showcasing electronic music is coming to an east London park this summer after the local council approved plans last week.

Percolate Entertainment LTD was granted a premises licence by Barking and Dagenham Council and will host its first ‘unique performance installation’ at Barking Park over two weekends this summer.

According to Percoloate’s application, the first weekend will run from Friday, May 31 through to Sunday, June 2 and will start at midday until 10.30pm on the first two days and from 12pm until 10pm on the Sunday.

The second weekend dates have not yet been revealed but the premise licence lasts up until September 30.

Matthew Phipps, who was representing Fred Letts, the founder of Percolate, said: “Mr Letts has significant experience and has been organising events for the best part of 10 years.

“He has repeated events over the years for much bigger capacity events than just this which have been across a number of London boroughs.”

Percolate said in its licensing application that it plans to create a natural space like ‘nothing ever seen in a London park before’ with a capacity that will range from 6,999 to 7,999 people per day.

Percolate is working with Lucid Creates, a creative design company that has been responsible for installations at Glastonbury Festival, Creamfields, Parklife, Boomtown as well as for brands including Adidas, Google, New Balance and Asics.

The festival plans to be called ‘High Lights’ and will be hosted in the woods of Barking Park complete with ethereal lighting and mirrored pillars will be installed among the trees.

Percolate has said that residents who live nearby will be entitled to a range of community benefits and are welcome to enjoy the installation for free during the week.

The application mentions that residents could access tickets early which plan to be sold at a ‘unique’ price to them.

During its consultation stage, the plans received an objection from Louise Chappell who raised concerns about the impact the festival could have on wildlife.

She said: “Holding the event in this area will be of great detriment to the park environment.

“The effects of this application on the local wildlife including the lake will be upsetting to the animals given that it is the breeding, nesting and raising of the young time-of-year.”

She added: “The park is an important part of the community for families, runners, walkers, dog walkers and people young and old, this event will effectively make it out of bounds for all those users during the planned events.”

In response to Ms Chappell’s concerns, Percolate said most of the site would be ‘fenced off’ from the public and would be away from shrubbed areas.

Mr Phipps addressed Ms Chappell’s concerns during last week’s meeting, and said: “…this application is not the whole park, it’s a modest portion of the park.

“The inconvenience of not being able to access the whole park for dog walkers as it has been referenced in the representation would not legitimately and fairly be considered a public nuisance.”

The meeting was briefly adjourned while the sub-committee deliberated in private.

Upon returning to the council chamber, the licensing sub-committee decided to grant the licence, meaning the festival will go ahead and will take place in Barking Park later this summer.

Percolate has already begun selling tickets for the festival online with Carl Cox, Calibre and Ross From Friends as confirmed headliners.

Ruby Gregory

Local Democracy Reporter