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Olympic Jamaica festival in Finsbury Park cancelled

08:57 05 April 2012

Usain Bolt was expected to make an appearance at the festival.

Usain Bolt was expected to make an appearance at the festival.

PA/Press Association Images

A Jamaican carnival set to take over Finsbury Park for 10 days during the 2012 Olympics has been cancelled.

Up to 15,000 people a day were expected to flood into the park between August 3 and 13 to eat, dance, watch the games on the big screen and even get the chance to meet the Caribbean island’s top athletes, such as world record holding sprinter Usain Bolt.

Although the event – called Jamaica Village – had permission from Haringey Council, organisers announced on its website last week that the festival would no longer be taking place due to a lack of funding.

It is understood that licensing restrictions such as a three day “quiet period” did play a part in the decision.

Ziggi Goldsmith, who was involved in the organisation of the festival, said: “I was still involved until quite recently but the organisers went very quiet, which is never a good sign. It is a great shame it is not happening in Finsbury Park, but we have managed to secure a site in Stratford where people can celebrate Jamaican tradition and culture.

“The official line was funding, but unofficially I think there were licensing problems, so they couldn’t have live music every day. I think some of the sponsors may have pulled out.”

Angela Woodburn, 49, who lives in nearby St Thomas’s Road, said: “The whole community was looking forward to it so much. It’s devastating for Finsbury Park. Why have it in Stratford? They already have the Olympic village.

‘‘This was going to make the perfect summer and would have been a brilliant way to celebrate 50 years of Jamaican independence.”

But some residents living close to Finsbury Park welcomed the decision, amid fears the event would create problems with noise, anti-social behaviour and littering.

Madeline Palm, 59, co-chair of the residents’ association for Woodstock Road, off Stroud Green Road, said: “It’s not fair to inflict that noise and disruption on people who have no choice but to sit here and suffer it – and then deny us access to the only piece of open space we’ve got.”

As the Gazette went to press, Jamaica Village organisers were not available for a comment.

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