When Mancunian indie rockers James sang “How was it for you?” way back in 1990 we’re pretty sure they weren’t banging on about gigs at Twickenham Stadium but their question remains valid today regardless. After June’s outing by The Rolling Stones and two nights of Eminem in July there has been a lot of social media chatter about the concerts and their impact on the town. We have a great big stadium that’s part of Twickenham’s identity and if you live in the town you (probably) accept that there’s going to be a lot of disruption for rugby matches. But what about concerts? Are they any different? Or are they just ‘more’?
The building work at Twickenham station and, in the case of the Stones concert, disruption on South Western Railway caused problems for gig goers departing our fair town but some might take the view that having 55,000 people trying to get straight outta Twickers at around 11pm is already cutting it fine when it comes to public transport in the burbs. Meanwhile there was the usual array of comments online about the state of the roads, littering and, everyone’s favourite, using the street in lieu of a toilet. Worse than rugby? Some thought so. Or is it just the accumulation of events that’s getting to some people? On the other hand, our special post-Eminem non-scientific Twitter poll showed a big majority of those who voted (locals mostly, we hope and think) were happy enough to see some concerts taking place at the stadium.
Please don’t say that it’s all about getting the balance right and ensuring that the RFU, El Brute and South Western Railway make sure they have proper plans (and contingency plans) in place to make the events run smoothly and clean up quickly afterwards. That would just be far too sensible. And just to clarify things for a moment, the RFU pays LBRuT for additional clean up work rather than it being an RFU thing ‘direct’.
So, is the balance right at the moment or is the town having to suffer the slings and arrows of other people making an outrageous fortune. As always, only you know the answer to that one.