Predicted 2012 crowds never showed up
Fluid has been forced to pull the plug on a pop-up site in east London after just 12 days because predicted Olympics Games visitors never came.
The architect was behind the Industri[us] upcycling and recycling festival at a site opposite Canning Town Docklands Light Railway and underground stations.
It is the second scheme associated with the Meanwhile London initiative – the competition organised back in 2010 to find temporary uses for three high-profile sites during and after the 2012 games – to have hit the buffers.
The organiser of the London Pleasure Gardens scheme went into administration earlier this month because of a lack of visitors.
Fluid director Steve McAdam said the decision to shut the festival was taken on Wednesday evening after stallholders and exhibitors began to pull off the site.
He said the security and running costs meant it was impossible to keep the site open.
McAdam said the practice, which has agreed to lease the site from Newham Council until next March, has decided not to charge stallholders fees for exhibiting at the festival which on some days had just a handful of visitors.
“We thought visitors could be 1,000 a day,” he said. “But on some days, it was almost empty.” Locog had predicted that as many as 100,000 people could file past the site, which opened to the public on July 28, throughout the games.
But the expected crowds never materialised after spectators for Olympics events at the nearby Excel centre carried on to DLR stops at Custom House and West Silvertown instead.
The firm faces being out of pocket by at least £200,000 and McAdam added: “We never did it as a commercial venture but we didn’t do it to make a loss either.”
The site is expected to be shut for the rest of the month while Fluid decides what to do with it. “We’re going to lick our wounds and have a think. The plan is to still to put on some events,” McAdam said.
He added: “At the start, we were concerned at the numbers predicted and that we would spend a lot of time preventing people from coming in.” Ten foodstalls took space at the festival which McAdam said had been expected to double on the back of predicted numbers.
Newham Council said it could not accept responsibility for a drop in trade because of Locog’s success in getting 2012 spectators to and from venues efficiently.
Following the publication of this story, Christina Norton, director at Fluid sent this statement:
“The £200,000 reflects an overall estimate of value invested in the project by Fluid and its partners, including staff resourcing, director input, in kind donations from partners and sponsors as well as some direct donations and costs. It does not cover voluntary work.
Luckily for us we have not taken any loans to fund the process which we know other businesses have.
There are a few residual payments to make that are not a problem for us”
7 August 2012
7 August 2012
8 March 2011