It was a damp start to Party In The Park this year, as a band of rain moved over West London at midday and outstayed its welcome by an hour or so. Early arrivals at the event understandably sheltered under trees or umbrellas, but the PCA volunteers are made of sterner stuff. Working in the open, the barbecue crew made themselves some chic little black raincoats out of bin-bags, and the first act on main stage was rapidly switched to the beer tent. Then the sun came out, people started pouring through the park gate and the event team breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Thereafter dancers danced, singers sang, children tried mini tennis and dogs embarrassed their owners in the arena. Or was it vice versa? The PCA beer tent provided musical entertainment and liquid refreshment, and the gastrodome served up a wide and eclectic choice of food, including the unusual but delicious “poutine”, a Canadian speciality consisting of chips, gravy and curd cheese.
Party In The Park is a massive undertaking, costing nearly £30k to put on (yes really). The planned income is also around 30k, meaning that the eventual surplus/loss is very sensitive to changes in either expenses or income. This year our income was down a little, probably due to the weather, and our expenses were up a little, so instead of the record surplus last year we limped over the line this time with about £2k in hand. Your committee and the event team will be exploring ways of making the event more financially secure (and we’re open to ideas on that front).
Another concern is the struggle we had to recruit enough volunteers this year. We are immensely grateful to all those who did volunteer, including some late additions and newcomers who were very welcome. But everyone reading this newsletter needs to understand that the event cannot continue in its current form unless more people step forward to help.