A wheely good time for all on the Common

Winterville has arrived in Lambeth. Billing itself as ‘London’s Alternative Festive Experience’ and offering a wide selection of pop-up food and drink providers, fairground attractions and live entertainment, organisers expect to see tens of thousands of visitors flock to Clapham Common between now and New Year’s Day.

The festival has been a fixture in East London’s Victoria Park for several years before transferring to Clapham this month. The main attraction is the the street food, organised by specialists Street Feast and bringing artisan traders including Up In My Grill, Mother Clucker, Petare and SE Cakery to the event.

Live music and performances include an opening weekend set from Norman Jay MBE, free shows from the likes of Guilty Pleasures, Ultimate Power and South London Soul Train and the Winterville Orchestra and Choir.

There are ticketed events with the line up including Cirque du Cabaret and Mexican Wrestling from Lucha Britannia.

There’s also a fun fair operating on the site, with most of the fun centring around the 118ft high £1m ferris wheel, on loan from Barry Island in South Wales.

On social media, one user spoke of having “fallen in love with Winterval (and its beer tent)”. It also features the Common’s first ever ice rink, a 600 square-metre structure made from real ice.
Some residents worry about the possible damage to the grass, while noise and light pollution are also a concern, with festivities running until 10.30pm from Thursdays to Sundays throughout the festive period.
Mark Leffler, from the Clapham Society, said: “We have considerable concerns. The weight of the heavy machines on the ground, which is already very wet, could cause some severe damage. It’ll be compacting that area.
“It’s a popular part of the Common for all parts of the community, for families with children or people taking their dogs for a walk.”
He said residents were also concerned about the negative effects sustained light and noise could have on the Common’s ecology.
He added, however, that the Society was pleased the council had committed to an environmental impact study afterwards.
Marcus Weedon, Winterville organiser and long time Clapham resident commented, “We have spent a year working with local community groups to address concerns and there are loads of community benefits vesting into the Common itself. Detailed information was submitted to the Council which clarified a range of issues including the protection of
the ground in an ecology report, residential amenity and the large financial contribution into the Common and the wider community. Local groups, including the local business community and the Clapham Common Management Committee of park lovers supported Winterville because this is an event for the whole of the Clapham Community.”
Speaking to Lambeth Life outside Winterville on Monday after it opened, Kennington resident Olivia said “It was great, I’d definitely go back. We had a lovely time and spent most of our time in Bar Humbug, partly for the wine, but mainly for the pun.
“Sadly only half of the food stalls were operating, but as it’s free you can’t really complain”, she added.
Entry to Winterville is free except after 6pm on Fridays and Saturdays when it costs £3 on the door.

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