Thousands still expected to attend despite local group saying the party is off
A community group in south Belfast has said Sandy Row’s infamous street party on the Twelfth of July will not officially be taking place this year.
Belfast South Community Resources (BSCR) said there are no plans to hold the party, which in the years before the pandemic saw thousands of people gather in the area to watch the parades before descending into an outdoor rave.
Local businesses and community figures, as well as residents, previously expressed concerns over the street party, claiming there were incidents of drug use, assaults and robberies.
BSCR, who are based in Sandy Row and act as a programme for the physical and economic renewal of the area, cited the behaviour of attendees at previous years parties, including urination in residents’ gardens, as well as anti-social behaviour.
Videos of various incidents that take place on Sandy Row during The Twelfth often go viral on social media.
In early 2020, BSCR held a meeting at their headquarters which was attended by representatives of the Greater Village Regeneration Trust (GVRT), the PSNI, Belfast City Council, the Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast and local businesses, to discuss putting an end to the party.
There were measures put in place to stop the party taking place that year, including an agreement bars in the area wouldn’t play “open music”.
However, these plans didn’t come to fruition following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic which was declared two months later.
BSCR said the only official party planned this year is a children’s street party set to take place just off Sandy Row on July 11, which will feature fun activities for children and bouncy castles. The area is also still expected to have a bonfire.
Despite the confirmation that an official gathering is not due to take place on July 12, there have been conversations on social media from people still planning to attend.
There is also speculation Sandy Row may see its biggest turnout of partygoers as this year marks the first full Twelfth of July celebrations since the beginning of the pandemic.
Belfast City Council was unable to confirm whether or not the street party would go ahead, while the PSNI said “details surrounding the organisation and administration of street parties is a matter for local councils”.
They added: “The Police Service of Northern Ireland would like everyone who is planning a street party to have a safe and enjoyable time while being respectful of the rights of others.
"Officers work closely with partner agencies and local residents to ensure that people enjoy themselves safely and sensibly.”