Concerns Over Larger Pop Festivals at Chiswick House

Pub in the Park licence application 'a blank cheque' for the future

Pub in the Park combines a range of food stalls with live music
Pub in the Park combines a range of food stalls with live music

Concerns are being raised about the licensing application submitted by the Pub in the Park (PitP) event being held in Chiswick House Gardens later this year. Some local residents believe, if granted, the organisers will have leeway to hold much larger events in future years.

What is described as the UK’s biggest celebration of food and music combines chefs from award-winning chefs with live music from acts such as Craig David TS5, The Sugar Hill Gang, Beverley Knight, Faithless DJ, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, The Christians, and more. This year it takes place from 2-4 September with two sessions taking place on Saturday 3 September in the afternoon and evening.

The event organiser wants permission to have a maximum attendance of 5,999 ‘at any one time’ and the licence application is for an event to take place yearly and on an on-going basis. The application process requires the applicant to specify an attendance number if it is expected to be above 5,000.

In a document submitted with the application it is stated that the maximum attendance for each session would be 4,500 to 4,750. We have been unable to confirm how many tickets were sold for previous events. We asked a number of people who were at earlier PitP events and generally estimates were under 2,000 for an individual session. For previous events tickets have been sold in tranches with more allocations being released closer to the event.

It is thought possible that with a different ticket pricing policy or a different line up of acts the attendance at a future event could be significantly increased and this would be allowable under the licence requested.

Live music at the event would cease by 10.45pm on Friday and Saturday and 7.15pm on Sunday with the serving of alcohol ending earlier.

If granted Brand Events Ltd would be allowed to hold a three day event in the gardens once a year with 120 days notice prior to the event taking place.

A resident who lives next to Chiswick House Gardens contacted us to say, “I fully support the efforts of the Trust to raise money through holding more events in the park recognising that this is essential to provide the income needed to maintain it for future generations. Additionally, up until now most events held have been professionally organised with minimal disruption including previous Pub in the Park events.

“What is concerning about this application is that it is a blank cheque that will give significant scope to expand the scale of concerts held there in the future. I would estimate that around a thousand people have typically been at previous events. They always say the events are sold out but I believe they release tickets according to the level of demand. The question has to be why specify up to 6,000 people in attendance if much bigger events aren’t being planned for future years? Although these are likely to be highly lucrative, I don’t think the gardens and the local neighbourhood would emerge unscathed.”

Xanthe Arvanitakis, Director of Chiswick House & Gardens, said, “Chiswick House & Gardens is a treasured local and national asset, but we must earn 75% of all income to look after the House and Gardens. During the pandemic we lost all commercial income and are delighted to welcome our partner events back for 2022.

“We work hard to ensure a reasonable balance between the needs of the estate, our neighbours and estate visitors. We review every event at conclusion. We operate under strict conditions from the Council and English Heritage.

“Pub in the Park (PiTP) has hosted at Chiswick House for two years (2019 and 2021), a welcome addition to the W4 calendar of events and supported by a very local audience. Capacity in 2019 was max 5,999 but was limited in 2021 due to COVID restrictions. The application for an event-specific premises licence is common in the events industry and follows advice by the Hounslow Council Licensing Department. All events over 500 people are reviewed by Hounslow Council Safety Advisory Group which includes members of the emergency services, licensing, planning, health and safety. Chiswick House & Gardens Trust fully support the licence application for PiTP.

"We are delighted to welcome Pub in the Park back to Chiswick House & Gardens this year – they are a great partner to work with and have consistently delivered a fantastic event which was sold out last year."

We contacted Brand Events for comment and await a response.

You can comment on the application by emailing

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January 8, 2021