Kenwood Concerts Scare Alf Garnett’s Dog
A barrage of complaints from locals has caused Camden Council to cut the number of summer shows at Kenwood House to the point that they’re no longer viable.
It had intended to reduce the number of concerts from 10 to eight and cut the capacity from 10,000 to 8,000, but English Heritage, which promotes the shows, says that’s not enough to make them worthwhile.
The local authority had lodged 38 complaints, including one from 81-year-old actor Warren Mitchell, who played grumpy bigot Alf Garnett in the seminal TV sitcom "Till Death Us Do Part."
His temper, and that of his neighbours, has not been improved by the move away from classical concerts toward more energetic entertainment at the north London venue from the likes of Ronan Keating (formerly of Boyzone) and Katie Melua.
"It’s awful. As well as noise from the concerts, there’s some terrible MC making inane comments, disturbing the peace. You can’t sit in the garden at all and simply contemplate nature. Our little dog has to hide under the bed," he explained.
"This is a very sad day for Kenwood as well as for all the people who enjoy coming to a beautiful setting to enjoy music on a summer’s evening. Not only are the concerts a real highlight in the London calendar but they also provide crucial income for Kenwood House," said English Heritage chief exec Simon Thurley.
It costs £1.8 million a year to maintain the house and grounds, which were already running at a loss before this announcement.
English Heritage hasn’t commented on how much the concerts were worth, but it is understood to have been a sizeable contribution toward the £700,000 raised by donations and commercial activities each year.
Mitchell was one of many to complain of a "definite dumbing down" when the classical shows were abandoned in favour of such attractions as Buena Vista Social Club, Art Garfunkel and tribute shows themed around Motown music and "Dirty Dancing."
A spokeswoman for Camden Council said the cancellation was "disappointing."
Mitchell didn’t share the sentiment, telling newswires that he was very pleased with the decision.