Hundreds of people gathered on Midsummer Common in Cambridge on Saturday (June 26) to celebrate the historic Midsummer Fair.
Midsummer Fair is an 810-year-old event that takes place on the last week of June every year and is of massive cultural significance to the UK’s Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller (GRT) communities.
Despite the event being officially cancelled by the Showmen’s Guild for the second year running, due to Covid, Cambridge City Council gave the event a go ahead.
The event has caused some issues among local residents however after the common was left covered in rubbish.
Some residents have even claimed that portable toilets had been knocked over in a deliberate attempt to cause a mess.
Dr Michael Cahn, a local bookseller, said he was pleased to see people experiencing togetherness and community spirit, but was shocked at the state of the aftermath.
He said: “I was cycling down the river and I had a bit of time to waste because my baker would only open in half an hour.
“I have been cleaning beaches of cigarette butts before, but this one was special. I was shocked by the recklessness, the wastefulness.”
Another resident, who wanted to stay anonymous, claimed that besides the mess there was also a lot of anti-social behaviour, homophobia and misogyny.
He claimed that at one point his Polish girlfriend was called a ‘foreign b*tch’ by some of the group on the Common.
He said: “There was an enormous amount of anti-social behaviour, threats of violence, and direct racist abuse to my Polish girlfriend.”
Another resident named Chris, who did not want to give his surname, said the same thing happens every year, but that it was especially bad this year due to the fact it wasn’t an organised event.
“It’s disgusting, it’s so disrespectful to Cambridge and Midsummer Common. I had to stop and take a picture because no one leaves that much rubbish,” he added.
Local authorities responded to the meeting with a large police presence and a clean-up team was brought in to deal with the litter this morning.
The Friends of Midsummer Common (FoMC) group, which includes the residents of surrounding roads, had asked Cambridge City Council to provide facilities to allow the unofficial gathering to take place with minimal disruption to residents.
FoMC said in a statement: “Residents of the neighbourhoods surrounding the Common recognise that for many centuries, various groups have held a June gathering. This tradition should be respected and supported in a way that provides a positive experience for both visitors and residents.”
Workers from the council green space and street cleaning teams tackle the huge amount of rubbish left behind at Midsummer Common in Cambridge, following the celebration of Midsummer Fair