Walthamstow Garden Party was a two day festival of music, theatre, arts & crafts, food and family activity that attracted over 35,000 visitors to the beautiful Lloyd Park. The festival was a huge success in 2014 and 2015 and continues to be a key event in our calendar (see current projects).
Programmed in partnership by Create and Barbican, the free festival made full use of the landscape of the park, home to the award-winning William Morris Gallery, and took inspiration from the radical Victorian craftsman who called Walthamstow home.
The festival’s two music stages featured international and local artists including soul pioneers The Brand New Heavies, African reggae powerhouse Tiken Jah Fakoly; all-singing, all-strumming group The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain; psychedelic cumbias from NYC-based Chicha Libre; Barcelona rhythm ‘n’ blues and old school soul outfit The Excitements, London’s Ibibio Sound Machine who brought their mix of West-African funk and & disco and modern post-punk & electro; local community musicians Walthamstow Acoustic Massive, Ibibio Sound Machine, E17 Jazz Collective and many more.
The programme on the theatre and performance stage included performances and workshops by hip-hop dance company Boy Blue Entertainment; fusion dance company Bollywood Vibes and Rock a Hula! plus Leyton-based Circus school Gravity Circus Centre. The Real Food Festival provided food from around the globe while E17 Designers Market showcased handmade gifts and jewellery by local makers. Artillery Island (in the garden’s moat) was home to the Summer Appetite Festival with spoken word, poetry and perfomance alongside edible treats. Budding artists had the chance to explore the legacy of William Morris, through arts and crafts workshops and demonstrations in the Useful and Beautiful Craft Marquee, as well as explore the William Morris Gallery, which was open throughout the weekend.
The weekend also saw artist Zarah Hussain’s stunning new Magic Carpet commission projected onto the facade of the William Morris Gallery.The Walthamstow Garden Party built on the legacy of Waltham Forest Council’s 2013 two-day music festival the Walthamstow Big Weekender and followed on from last summer’s Open East Festival which saw the Barbican and Create programme a two-day celebration in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to mark the first anniversary of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games and the opening of the north of the park to the public. The weekend of events was delivered by the Barbican in partnership with Create and the Waltham Forest Council.