In March Parklife festival tickets sold out. There’s 600 performers and 200 acts. This weekend an audience of 140.000 are partying at the largest municipal park in Europe. With stage and sound technician, production teams, security and information staff a total of 150,000 pairs of feet will make up Parklife festival. And the local community will benefit to the tune of six million pounds. Amongst this logistical maelstrom a young man missed the deadline to get his ticket.
Back in 2013 the director of Parklife – Sacha Lord-Marchionne – offered free tickets as a gift to the care leavers of The Christmas Dinner 2013. We took him up on it. But on Tuesday, long after the tickets had been allocated one of the care leavers emailed. He explained that he hadn’t heard from us about the tickets and that his telephone number had changed and that he would love to go to the festival. To give a flavour of him, his eloquence and humility, below is the first paragraph of his email.
“Hello my name is Steve Bartlett. I attended the event you guys put on last Christmas. Firstly i’d like to thank the staff, organisers, donators and all those involved for such an enjoyable evening. I believe i speak for all those present when i say it was truly something special and definitely a Christmas to remember. I fully appreciate the idea behind the project and the fact that the organisers were willing to take time away from their own families to be with young people who couldn’t be with theirs; that is human kindness in its boldest form and is truly heart-warming.”
There’s no way. I’d be stretching the festival’s generosity by asking for one at this late stage. But under pressure from a friend I wrote Sacha thus: “I missed a name off the list. It is a young man called Steve Bartlett. No need to reply if it’s too late. But I owe it to him to ask if there is a chance for one more ticket under his name.” Park Life is bigger than the town I grew up in and the final stages of construction were in place. I didn’t hold my breath for one lone ticket for one young single care leaver amongst 150,000. On Friday morning the ticket arrived.