Chantry Park unlikely to hold more major concerts anytime soon, says council
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More than 100,000 people may have loved seeing Ed Sheeran at Chantry Park in Ipswich a year ago – but don’t expect any more major concerts in the town’s parks for the foreseeable future.
That was the blunt message from Phil Smart, Ipswich Borough Council’s portfolio holder for parks, as the authority looked back at how it coped with the four nights of music that brought the world’s biggest music star back to his home county.
Visitors from a wide area flocked to the town for the concerts – staying in the town’s hotels, visiting restaurants and pubs and paying a visit to Christchurch Mansion and the Ed Sheeran: Made in Suffolk exhibition.
But the coronavirus pandemic put paid to any hope of more concerts in the parks – and the economic benefits of the event seem a long time ago as Ipswich town centre struggles with the new reality of the post-lockdown world.
Mr Smart said: “I can’t see any more major events like that in Chantry Park or in our other parks for the time being. We’re still not able to bring people back to Portman Road for the football and concert promoters are just not interested in one-off events like this.”
He said promoters would be likely to concentrate on regular festivals like Glastonbury or Latitude before looking at staging one-off events – and at present there is no clear indication when they will return.
The founder of the Glastonbury Festival, Michael Eavis, has said he thinks it is unlikely the festival will be able to go ahead next year although he was hopeful of resuming in 2022.
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Mr Smart said: “With the Ed Sheeran concerts we had almost a year to prepare and we would need that again. We did make changes to the park entrances so it would be easier for people and equipment to get in and out – but I cannot see anything happening like this again for some years.”
But last year’s concerts did leave fans with some great memories of legendary performances by Sheeran and his support act, the Suffolk-based band The Darkness.
Whether there will be further concerts in future years only time can tell – in the meantime fans will have to simply savour the memories of those summer nights over the 2019 August Bank Holiday weekend.