Over 2,000 residents came together at City Park last night to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years as the Head of State of the UK, the head of the Commonwealth and as the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
To celebrate the occasion, the Council held the Bradford Great Jubilee Tea event at City Park, which aimed to be the “biggest free cake stall” in the North.
The event officially began at 6.30pm, although people began to turn up much earlier in the day. It went late into the night, with the lighting of the beacon taking place at 9.45pm to coincide with the beacon lighting outside Buckingham Palace and across other cities in Britain and the commonwealth.
When Asian Standard turned up to check out the event, people were enjoying themselves with free biryani, pakoras and cake. Around a dozen tables were laid out ceremoniously outside City Hall upon artificial grass and Union Jack bunting above.
Speaking to around ten people from different walks of life, the consensus was that they were enjoying being out and celebrating the Jubilee, especially after two years of being in a pandemic.
Nasreen, a Bradford resident, said: “We are here to celebrate The Queen’s jubilee and the atmosphere is wonderful. She has led the country for seventy years and that is amazing, I love her for that.
“The whole family is here. I am with my nieces and her children and grandchildren. The weather is beautiful, and we are enjoying every bit. I’ve lived in Bradford for over fifty years, we grew up here and we’re a part of the country. We don’t mind what nation, what culture, what religion you are, we are united and multicultural and that is what is beautiful about Bradford.”
A mum who didn’t want to be named, said: “It is nice to see people from different cultures getting on and seeing everybody happy. I wanted to bring my children out to show them what is going on and to get them to mix with others.”
A volunteer who helped out on the food stall said: “Today was unexpected, people were hungry for food. It is incredible that we’ve all come together after the Covid-19 struggle that has impacted people’s lives. An event like this is an opportunity for people to come together, regardless of race, faith, or differences. It is buzzing, I am so happy.”
However, people are expressing online that they are less than impressed with the event, especially after Bradford won the City of Culture 2025 bid just a few days ago, which promises to focus on events, arts and culture in the district.
The food and cake at the event were donated by volunteers and people were encouraged to bring their own picnic and soft drinks, but people have expressed how let down they felt by the lack of provision available, with not even a stall available to buy a bottle of water or a flag to wave.
Residents have also voiced their disappointment about the lack of activities for children, with just two stilt walkers, a brass band and a “drunken Boris Johnson” walking around for entertainment.
Booze was not banned from the event, but Bradford Council did ask people not to drink alcohol at the tea party because it was supposed to be a “family-friendly” celebration.
According to one family, people were visibly drunk, there were “minor skirmishes,” and people were passed out with vomit around them. Noticeably, there was only a handful of private security guards and police officers to control the crowd which may be the reason things got out of hand.
Taking to social media, one man said: “I think what they did in City Park was a sham, what happened to all the festivals? The cake stall was going until 9pm but the main food was gone within an hour. If they are going to organise something, it should be big. We have won the culture award, but the entertainment was a waste of time.”
Another user added: “I have to say that I went down at about 7pm and was underwhelmed. It was good to see lots of people in Centenary Square and City Park, I had expected there to be various stalls with cake and food.
“All I could see was one area that appeared to be cordoned off, with a couple of stalls, some picnic tables and a huge queue. Maybe I missed something, but I wanted to be there for the Jubilee celebrations. Needless to say, after what I saw I didn’t stay.”
A third person said: “It didn’t seem like an event at all, apart from wishing The Queen a good jubilee from the side of a bin wagon.
“With it being Sunday services on the buses, they were rammed packed, making the trip in and out of town unpleasant.”
People also noticed the fact that apart from a few strings of bunting and a handful of flags used to decorate the artificial plants surrounding the picnic tables, there was a lack of pomp and circumstance, with the only display of The Queen being a flag hanging from the side of a red bin lorry.
One resident said: “I’ve seen it all now. The Council couldn’t even be bothered to set up a proper structure to advertise, so they stuck it on a big ridiculous bin wagon, there should have been something more appropriate.”
Another commented: “That big daft bin wagon would be far better off on the night shift cleaning up the town centre.”