Funding application to restore Beckenham’s Bowie Bandstand won’t be put in until ‘later this year’ as mystery investor eyes up site

PUBLISHED: 16:38 05 July 2017

The bandstand in Croydon Road Recreation Ground, Beckenham, where David Bowie once played

The bandstand in Croydon Road Recreation Ground, Beckenham, where David Bowie once played


David Bowie played at the bandstand in 1969

The quest for funds to restore an Edwardian bandstand where David Bowie played nearly 50 years ago is set to continue, as the council continues to draw up a funding application.

But a mystery investor eyeing up the site could take over its development to create “something even grander” at Croydon Road Recreation Ground in Beckenham.

Details remain scarce around the anonymous firm, but with the bandstand, which Bowie played a festival at back in 1969, in need of repair, fans and campaigners have raised thousands since his death last year, with more than £17,000 coming from a concert organised at the site last year.

The Starman’s performed at the bandstand at a festival he co-organised with artists known as the Beckenham Arts Lab, which he was a part of during his time living in the town.

He would immortalise the day in his song Memory of a Free Festival, which appeared on his Space Oddity album.

Weeks before his death in January 2016, the council had a £302,000 application to restore the bandstand to its former glory rejected by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

In the wake of the decision, HLF said it “recognised the importance of the bandstand” and would welcome a fresh application.

Nearly 18 months on from Bowie’s death, the council is still preparing its latest bid, which is expected for submission later this year.

But with more funds expected to come from the second Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity festival next month, no sum has been agreed as yet.

Councillor Colin Smith, executive councillor for environment, said: “These are very exciting times for this project and with the excellent boost in funding the impending event will draw in, I am extremely confident we will be able to press the go button over the course of the coming months, especially if the HLF application is successful as we hope it will be.

“We are also looking at other ideas to twin track this, including a potentially very interesting proposal from an investor looking to do something even grander in the park to celebrate David Bowie’s super stardom.

“Providing we can gain the permission of Bowie’s next of kin as to the sustainability of any proposal which might be brought forward, a far wider ranging permanent tribute could even be the final out come for residents and Bowie fans alike.”

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