The concert bowl opened in June 1961, with a performance by the London Symphony Orchestra. In the 1970s and 80s, it hosted The Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, Elton John and Bob Marley. A campaign called Back the Bowl crowd-funded £55,000 for a new stage surface. Following the successful effort, work on the stage was completed a fortnight ago.
The “rusty laptop” stage at Crystal Palace Park has been fixed after ten years, but it still won’t be utilised at a major festival. The second South Facing Festival will take place this weekend in the renowned bowl of Crystal Palace Park. The stage, known locally as the “rusty laptop,” has been abandoned for ten years since the wood has deteriorated. The stage, which had been made of concrete and steel since the 1960s, was replaced by the current building in 1997.
“We are already getting a lot of enquiries about using it for music, theatre and performances. “We are excited to have South Facing back, it was a really successful festival last year. [The stage] was finished just before they came on site. The stage they are using has technical needs – We are talking about how we can activate the stage.” Although there is not yet a date of when it will first be used it will be part of Open House London on September 17.
Bill LaSasso has been the chief executive of the Crystal Palace Park Trust as chief executive for a year. He confirmed that South Facing Festival would not use the new stage, it will instead use a temporary structure in the lake in front of the stage, as it did last year. He said: “The replacement of the stage was largely community led through the Back the Bowl campaign. “That means we have a great venue which has been restored after a decade of not being used.
In April 2023, Bromley Council will handover control of the park to the Crystal Palace Park Trust. Mr LaSasso said information about how much money the park has made from events, including from Wireless Festival, will be revealed in its annual financial reports which are yet to be published for 2021/22. Belvedere train fare dodger ordered to pay 100 TIMES original ticket price.