Whatever Camp Royale is going to be, it seems it’s definitely happening.

And it’s been a lesson in how not to organise and publicise an event of this nature. The first that many people heard about it was news reports of a 10,000 person campsite on Clapham Common, which is managed by Lambeth Council. When Wandsworth (which covers part of the Common) enquired it was impossible to get an answer from Lambeth: it seemed they knew as little about it as residents did!

Then we got the message that Lambeth hadn’t formally agreed it, but had indicated they were minded to allow it for around 4,000 people. But at the same time Camp Royale were claiming that they had signed a lease agreement:
Even more recently it looked as if the event was in trouble, with the story getting out that Camp Royale had failed to pay the required bond to Lambeth at the same time they were slashing the cost of tickets – all creating the impression it was a venture that wasn’t looking successful. But realistically, it was hard to see it not going ahead so late in the day when, one would assume, there were already many who had made travel plans and were preparing to descend on the Common for the bank holiday weekend.

The bond has, apparently, been paid and it’s entirely possible thousands of people will be descending on the Common for the weekend. While many have the impression that responsible stewardship of the Common or engaging local residents are unimportant to Lambeth when compared to the revenue raising potential of such events we can only hope the event is successfully managed and works well.

The organisers have issued a contact number which residents can use from this Thursday (28 April) for the duration of the event: 07957 990420. It will also be monitored by Lambeth officers so should be useful for dealing with any matters or problems related to the site.

It seems Camp Royale don’t, yet, have permission to set up a camp on Clapham Common. According to a Lambeth Council statement:

The Camp Royale event has not yet been approved, but has been granted an ‘in principle’ agreement for a family event with a campsite of 1806 tents and capacity of 4000 people.  This means that the council is satisfied that the event can be run safely within the council’s strict guidelines.

The next stage is to discuss the proposal with local residents and elected councillors before a final decision about whether the event can take place.
If agreed, the campsite would be managed totally separately from any event activity on the common. The entertainment will be accessible to all Lambeth families free of charge to enjoy this special day.  All the events we run on Clapham Common have restrictions on noise levels, health and safety and adhere to all the normal by-laws in force at the park.

I suspect they only refer to Lambeth residents and councillors so will have to watch closely for the formal consultation.

It does strike me as a little naughty that Camp Royale are talking of 10,000 places and taking cash from people just six weeks before the event without even hinting that it might not happen at all. If you are customer 4,001 (or even the first customer if it’s rejected) you aren’t going to have much time to make alternative arrangements, especially in that price range.