The recent news that Baselogic, the holding company for Bloc, has gone into administration may have confirmed what we already expected, but the future of London Pleasure Gardens is still uncertain.
Worse still, the debacle has cast an unwelcome shadow over London's dance festival circuit as a whole. After years of crackdowns, licensing wrangles and noise restrictions, it was beginning to feel as if the capital finally had its sights on unlocking the festival potential underlying its already teeming club scene.
Bloc 2012, with its multiple stages and plethora of underground talent, was ready to carve its name into the London festival hall of fame. Joining the likes of SW4, Lovebox and Field Day, which have (as with most London festivals) faced pressure from the authorities and continued criticism about noise levels despite pushing on, succeeding and growing each year. It also appeared alongside other club brands announcing mini-festivals in outdoor urban locations for later in the summer – the likes of Eastern Electrics (at Area 12, Greenwich Peninsula) and Secretsundaze (Go Bang! at London Pleasure Gardens). Up until Friday, everything about the outlook was positive. Now, the only positive is that nobody got hurt.
The scenes inside and outside of London Pleasure Gardens on Friday July 6th were certainly chaotic, for some even frightening, but the long-lasting effects of the event's eventual closure remain to be seen. As it stands, future events at London Pleasure Gardens still plan to go ahead, and the general feeling is that the site will cope with events of a much smaller scale. Art Of Dark with Steve Bug, Kate Simko, Phil Weeks and Hector this Saturday (14th July) is still on, and word from Secretsundaze is that Go Bang! on 26th August is still happening at the location.
An official statement from Secretsundaze read as follows: “As far as we know, no other events other than the second day of Bloc have been cancelled at the venue. Yes, we do still plan to go ahead there and will of course work as closely as possible with the venue to ensure we are 100% happy with the conditions of the site for the event. At this stage, we are confident that can be achieved.”
That may be so, but whether LPG can shake off the negativity and coax people out to the far reaches of South-East London so soon after the Bloc fiasco only time will tell. Regardless of who is to blame (a full investigation is underway), one certainty is that last weekend's events are a wake-up call. More disciplined planning as well as more cohesion between organising parties will be needed in future. More than anything though, we are lucky the only fatality here is the liquidity of a company — and not any actual people.
Words: Adam Saville
Pic: Beth Crockatt