The best potential venues are usually in problematic locations … otherwise they’d already be in use! The Westway is a perfect example. Fifty years ago, construction of the Westway demolished much of North Kensington’s vital Portobello neighbourhood. An estimated 3000 families had to be relocated for every mile of construction. But one elevated stretch, where the road swoops over the canal, creates the only weather proof opportunity for gatherings on 100 miles of the city’s canal network.
With no illumination it’s dark at night, a scary walk for many. With no sun, plants don’t grow and boaters can’t use their solar panels to charge their batteries. No surprise then that this enormous space with a cathedral-like arch is a magnet for fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour. The acoustics are awesome, however, and events can go on rain or shine. Our latest grant, from the Westway Foundation, helps us demonstrate an alternative future for this vastly under-utilised space.