Swift action by West End Labour Councillor Pancho Lewis has ensured that a potential health risk posed by a mass gathering of Patti Smith fans in Piccadilly Circus, to see a 10-minute virtual performance by the singer and her band on New Year’s Eve, will not now go ahead.
Fans of Patti Smith will be able to see her performance at midnight which will be streamed around the world on the YouTube channel of digital art platform Circa.
Yesterday, following an article in the Evening Standard, Councillor Pancho Lewis wrote to the City Council urging the cancellation of the performance to be shown on the big screens in Piccadilly Circus:
“Residents have raised concerns that the event will attract crowds. I strongly agree with their concerns. Whilst this is only running for 10 minutes, given the height of the pandemic and its infectiousness it just isn’t worth the risk – we could see large crowd gathering. Please can it be cancelled? People can view it from home.”
Councillor Lewis also wrote to Landsec, who own the screens on Piccadilly Circus and had arranged the show, who responded:
“We have spoken to the Metropolitan Police this morning in relation to the concerns about the new year’s message, whilst the Metropolitan Police were comfortable with the content being shown Land Securities have taken the decision to remove all new year’s messaging from the Piccadilly Lights.”
Councillor Lewis said:
“I am very pleased that common sense has prevailed. We’re in the midst of a pandemic, and this really isn’t sensible, not just from the perspective of people gathering but also because it might encourage more people to use public transport for no good reason. We’ve had plenty of issues with large crowds gathering in the West End throughout the pandemic and it’s crucial we prevent more gatherings.”