Many commentators suggest that access to public spaces is threatened by privatisation and commercialisation. In this paper, these processes are linked to the festivalisation of cities. Staging temporary festivals in public spaces can animate and promote cities. However, staging events restricts access for some user groups and ‘once in a lifetime’ events may act as precedents—providing justification for further exploitation. This paper explores the use of public parks for events. The paper focuses on Greenwich Park: the equestrian venue during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Observation work and discourse analysis were undertaken to explore this controversial case. The paper analyses the discourses deployed by those seeking to justify and resist the use of the Park as an Olympic venue. Advocates claimed Games organisers were merely borrowing the park to share it with the world. Ultimately, the research highlights the importance and difficulties of regulating high-profile event projects.