The fate of "South London's answer to Notting Hill Carnival" is in jeopardy. Lambeth council has rejected an application from the organisers of the Brixton Splash festival, an annual sound system street party founded in 2005.
According to the Evening Standard, the party has become a "victim of its own success", with last year's event seeing a surge in crime and a "huge amount of drug taking", including event staff allegedly smoking cannabis on the job, as well as a gun being found on one of the 40 arrested guests.
The news isn't wholly unwelcome, even among those involved with the event. Ros Griffiths, one of the festival's founders, who has since stepped aside, spoke to London Live this morning and said Brixton Splash had "moved away from what it was meant to be about". She agreed that "the council has a duty of care to make sure all visitors are safe. They cannot have an event spiralling out of control or wait for something to happen." The news will also presumably came as a relief to residents who complained about the noise and "mountains" of litter.
However, one of the party's current organisers, Shezal Laing, also talking to with London Live, was keen to stress that Lambeth council had barely considered the application, let alone opened a dialogue about improving safety. She claimed their application had been blocked on "every level", despite the council "not having enough information to make a decision".
This sentiment was echoed in a statement released by board members of Brixton Splash, who have accused the town hall of trying to take over the event, as well as suggesting the council has deliberately blocked any possibility of a meeting between organisers and the community. They conclude their statement arguing that "Lambeth's dwindling financial support and physical support over the last few years shows its true feelings towards the event."
That said, a spokesperson for Lambeth council has hinted that the rejection might not spell a permanent end to the event, stating: "We need to pause it for this year, let the community take it back to its roots as a safe, fun event for everyone with professional organisation."