A Marble Hill Mudfest (Updated)

The recent Foodies Festival at Marble Hill House drew in punters from around the area keen to experience a wide range of stalls, watch cookery demonstrations, listen to some live music and generally stuff their faces full of food and drink. Not a bad idea if you ask us. It was a good event. But of course it was an English Bank Holiday weekend and that usually means one thing: rain. OK, so it didn’t rain for the duration but there was plenty of it. The result? Getting all those vehicles off the park left the grass in front of the house looking more like farm tracks than a suburban park – and we should know, we went to the countryside once.

Not good:
Marble Hill mud (2) - June 14

Basically, a large area is a massive mess. We’re talking mud, ruts and the odd splattering of engine oil. We’re sure it will be sorted out between English Heritage and the festival organisers but it’s likely to involve some quite significant costs. The planning statement for the event indicated that it would return for a second year but we can’t see either English Heritage or park users being particularly keen on that unless something changes, and not just the weather. English Heritage’s ‘Design and Access’ statement in their El Brute submission said, “The principal physical impacts on the site are the wear and tear of vehicles during installation and dismantling, mitigated by the use of a track-way. Reinstatement of any damage to the grounds will take place immediately after the event”. Well, there was a trackway but it was clearly inadequate for the heavy rain / heavy vehicle combination over the weekend.

There will always be those that don’t want any kind of new event on their doorstep – the noise, the smells, the disruption, all those bloody people! We certainly don’t take that view. No doubt English Heritage need to find new ways to raise revenue and the Foodies Festival seemed like a good idea, but with that amount of damage to the grass, English Heritage and most locals must be thinking that once is enough unless things are done differently for future events of this scale.

Meanwhile, with the media luvvies of Soho House returning to the park for their House Festival on 3rd July, English Heritage must be nervously re-reading the small print in the contract and endlessly checking the long range weather forecast.

Still not good:
Marble Hill Park - mud (June 14)

Actually, this is bad:
Marble Hill House - mud - June 2014

Notice from English Heritage:
Marble Hill House - sign June 14

UPDATE: 19th June 2014
Work has been taking place to rectify the damage. The ground has been levelled, some new turf has been laid and the sprinklers are working away to try to help it bed in.

Flattened & turfed:

Levelled & partly turfed.

Levelled & partly turfed.

Sprinklers on:

Sprinklers & turf, Marble Hill Park

Sprinklers & turf, Marble Hill Park


* English Heritage
* Foodies Festival


Filed under Food & Drink, Local Issues & News, What's on

11 responses to “A Marble Hill Mudfest (Updated)

  1. David

    Locals killed the picnic concerts and now want to kill this: they want the park empty and quiet all year so their Labs can sh1t in peace.

  2. Jon-Paul

    The only downside to a soho event is that it is by the riverside held in the middle of a site set aside as a nature conservation area

    Not the ideal place to have a rock concert type event or to have banks of BBQs sending out tonnes of smokes into the wooded area that are recognised in the boroughs development plan as being important for wildlife.

    It would have been far better to have the noisy and smokey activities on the front lawns and have the quieter activities by the riverside.

  3. Kate H

    I went to the festival and really enjoyed it. Would be a huge shame for it not to visit again as events like this make Twickenham a vibrant place to live and visit. However, there is damage. From what I have read above, it may have been avoided or lessened, so the organisers should indeed rectify it now, at their cost, and take more care next time…. if there is one.

  4. So presumably the Foodie Festival organisers are going to pay to repair it?

    • twickerati

      English Heritage sign (above) refers to a “full debrief” with the event organisers. The contract would probably contain something about ‘making good’.

      Perhaps there are ‘Some learnings to take away for the future’, as they might say in corporate land. It would be good to see the Festival return but with better preparation & contingency plans for bad weather.

  5. George

    I went to the Foodie Festival and enjoyed it. I am sure the grass will grow back but the churning up by wheels will require more to fix it – assuming people want to play cricket of a reasonably flat pitch. It’s all fixable. There was a sign up at the park from someone saying that these kinds of events organised by “non-locals” shouldn’t be allowed as they don’t care about the community. Seemed a bit harsh!

  6. I loved the event, it was very interesting and I forgot where I was, it was like being on holiday. I just cannot believe that the Foodies Festival organisers used such a tiny amount of duck-boarding/tracking (as we can now see); or that vehicles were allowed on and off site from so many different pathways (not using any tracking or boarding at all); or that Marble Hill House didn’t say ”this is inadequate go and get some more”. Of course it was likely to rain hard – this is the UK. Soho House seem to manage to put on a big show each year without damaging the grass cos their tracking is extensive and excellent and the grass soon bounces back (but maybe they can afford huge amount necessary for putting on a large event?) Either way MH needs to be far stricter and insist on a minimum amount of tracking x the amount of space used – can’t be that hard to work out and ”manage” set-up and close-down much much better.

    PS I understand the birds have liked the watery trenches, so someone’s happy – glad it’s being put right though!

  7. I think the main thing is that it is put right. I wouldn’t want this to stop future events (unless the organisers don’t fix and then it should only be them that are barred). The weather was pretty atrocious on the Saturday to be fair to the organisers so they were a bit unlucky.

  8. This is a sad thing. However, it shows how the council parks team and various friends organisations do a good job in preserving publicly owned land in Richmond and making sure that it is used responsibly. Roll on The Village of Twickenham Green Fete on Sunday 6 July 12 to 6.30ish all welcome. More volunteers for the Friends are always welcome (£5 donation per year to join). Charles Owens for Friends of Twickenham Green fete committee.

  9. Mumto1plus2

    When are they going to fix it? It’s been a fortnight already. I worry that legal wrangling might mean that this mess will be around all summer… 😦 I was shocked by just how bad it looks when in the park at the weekend.

  10. We had a cricket match cancelled beacuse of this. And our next fixture is also in doubt, IT SUCKS!! Someone must pay!!!!