Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a patch of turf in Victoria Park reached out to LondonFuse to let us know what they go through in order to satisfy London’s appetite for large, well attended, downtown cultural events.
“I remember when I was a young blade of grass I could go and go, weekend after weekend, right until September. Now I can make it to Sunfest, or maybe Home County Folk Festival at the max, but that’s it. By Ribfest I’m just a mess.”
There are apparently ups and downs, the resilient and determined bit of lawn added, “a few times I’ve been right under the cool down zone – you know the tent that just sprays cool mist all afternoon? Those were good times. Or near one of the side stages at Home County during the workshops, just listening to talented musicians discuss their craft. Don’t get me started on Ribfest… I have asthma. The smoke is too much for me.”
But, the city…
The City of London, of course, does all it can for these heroes. Municipal crews can be seen administering emergency health care to the injured turf each Monday after a weekend festival wraps up, but with barely a weekend off during the summer, there isn’t much time to recover.
Although the life of the sod in Victoria Park can be challenging as well as rewarding, there is some comfort in the stability of the position.
“At least I know I have a job, you know? My cousin used to work over at London Life. Real short haircut, people trampling across him all the time to get to the parking lot. And do you know what happened? He got a bit burnt and patchy, and the next thing you know they just ripped him out and brought in replacements. It’s not right.”
Victoria Park’s modern turf might just have it a bit easier than some of their forbearers. The location of today’s park was once a British Garrison, as well as a playing field home to cricket matches. British soldiers occupied the site from 1839 to 1853, and then again from 1861 to 1869, in case the American Civil War decided to move North.
When asked whether the turf had any requests to make of Londoners during the 2017 festival season, LondonFuse was told:
“I mean first off just pick up your garbage, please. And cigarette butts are garbage too. I’ve seen squirrels eat those things before and just start throwing up everywhere, it’s not pretty.”
While they are looking out for the flora of our beautiful park, visitors should also look out for themselves. “Listen, I’ve been talking to the trees, and this global warming is an actual thing. Don’t listen to anyone who says it isn’t. Bring a reusable container to fill with water at the free fill-up stations and fountains, get yourself a sweet hat for sunny summer Saturdays and don’t forget the sunblock! Remember to contribute a few bucks if you can too, especially to the non-profit festivals like Home County and Sunfest so we can keep the music playing for summers to come.”
The blades, the very dedicated patrons at every downtown summer festival have said their piece… do listen.
And remember, downtown London truly comes alive during summer festival season. Browse the links below and plan your summer accordingly! Check out the line-ups of performers and lists of vendors to make sure you catch all your favourites. And remember to thank Victoria Park’s heroic turf for being the canvas of our summertime lives.
Victoria Park Summer Festivals
Victoria Park Kids Expo (June 16 – 18, 2017)
International Food Festival (June 23 – 25, 2017)
TD Sunfest ‘17 (July 6 – 9, 2017)
Home County Music and Art Festival (July 14 – 16, 2017)
London Rib Fest (August 3 – 7, 2017)
“Bands 150” (September 16-17, 2017)
There are some very exciting days ahead, London!
Featured photo by Dave Knill