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Important Information about Waterworks Festival - 17th September

A message from the Chair of the Board of Gunnersbury Estate (2026) CIC

We are all deeply saddened by the recent announcement of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Royal Family at this time.

During this period of national mourning, we have taken the very difficult decision to continue with the planned Waterworks music event on the 17 September. This decision was not taken lightly, and only after full consideration of all the options including the very serious implications for the financial sustainability of Gunnersbury, which cancellation would pose.

We recognise that this decision will be unpopular with some people so have been working with the event organisers to ensure the impact on the local community is minimised and a respectful tribute to Her Majesty can be made during the event itself.

Waterworks have issued their own detailed statement (below) which the Gunnersbury CIC supports, and which explains in more detail their reasons for the decision to continue with the event.

Thank you all for your continued support.

David Babington-Smith

(Chair of the Board)


With the date of the State Funeral now confirmed for Monday 19th September, we have decided to continue as planned with the Waterworks Festival in Gunnersbury Park on September 17th 2022.

This decision is following Government Cabinet Office advice issued on 9th September 2022 with regards to the period of national mourning which states the following

“There is no obligation to cancel or postpone events and sporting fixtures, or close entertainment venues during the National Mourning period. This is at the discretion of individual organisations. As a mark of respect, organisations might wish to consider cancelling or postponing events or closing venues on the day of the State Funeral. They are under no obligation to do so and this is entirely at the discretion of individual organisations. “

We were asked by Hounslow and Ealing Councils if we would consider cancelling or postponing the event, but with the event already 10 days into the build, over 500 people booked in to work across the event and 80+ artists travelling from across Europe to play the event, the task of postponing to rearrange for a later date, especially for an outdoor event, this year is unfortunately an impossible one.

We then considered the feasibility of the event being able to safely take place under the change of circumstance that the country and specifically the capital city finds itself in. We stress-tested all our critical infrastructure that forms our Event Management Plan and found that all contractors and key staff are still able to perform their roles for the event. The event does not plan to and is not expected to draw on any other public services who might now be called in to support plans for the State Funeral. We spoke with Gunnersbury Estate (2026) CIC and received their support for the event to continue as planned and checked the licensing conditions under which the event must operate to confirm that we are still able to operate within them.

Having confirmed internally that the event is safe and adequately resourced to continue as planned we then had to consider the ethical decision of continuing with the event during a period of national mourning.

Waterworks costs over one million pounds to put on and whilst it holds cancellation cover, cancellation due to the death of a monarch and period of national mourning is excluded from this cover. If we had taken the decision to cancel the show then all tickets would have to be refunded to ticket buyers and with the build already well under way, hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of equipment already delivered to site, nine months of promotion and artist fees and deposits paid, this would mean immediate placement of the company into administration. This would mean hundreds of staff not being paid for the work that they have already undertaken as well as future work that they had committed to for the forthcoming weeks. With a huge number of self-employed freelance staff working on the event it would mean incredible loss of earning for a huge number of people. It would also mean a very large number of suppliers, firms and small business owners not being paid for their services.

At a time of the biggest cost-of-living crisis in living memory this is simply not something that we are prepared to consider doing. It is not out of a lack of respect for the Royal Family that we continue with the event, it is due to the respect for the individual staff, artists and small companies that we employ for the show that we have decided to continue.

Finally, it is our belief that in scenarios such as the one we collectively face as a country right now it is all the more important for people to come together and feel the support of the communities to which they belong and certainly from the messages we have been receiving since yesterday our audience agrees with this.

We fully appreciate that many people may still not agree with our decision to continue but we hope with the transparency of our considerations listed above people can at least understand why we have taken the decision that we have.

Team Waterworks

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