Holloway Arts Festival 2013 brought people a holiday within Holloway from 1-8 June. The sun came out for Mayton Street Festival on Saturday 1 June and people joined us to experience the atmosphere of the British seaside through a riot of eclectic music, spoken word, film, visual arts, crafts, theatre and comedy.
Performance artist Bobby Baker, celebrated author Deborah Levy, world-renowned gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, ‘people’s poet laureate’ John Hegley and spoken word sensation El Crisis were among the performers and speakers. Electro-pop cabaret duo Project Adorno joined the festival as guest curators.
All the fun of the seaside was brought to inner city London as the festival kicked off with a beach-themed Mayton Street Festival. A grant awarded by Arts Council England enabled the festival to expand its creative programme, and artists were commissioned for The End of the Pier, a series of curated interactive performances. This included London’s most flamboyant fortune-teller, Hedge Fund Harry’s Hoopla Stall and the Just Judy Tea Party.
The street was shut off from traffic and filled with live music, dance, a participatory carnival and a surprise pop-up show from The Pandemonium Performers, who took part in the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony. There were also plenty of opportunities to get creative with art, craft and poetry workshops for all ages.
Holloway Arts Festival 2013 offered the chance to meet, listen and celebrate international figures from the arts. Peter Tatchell shared his memories of filmmaker Derek Jarman at a special First Friday Film Club that screened his 1987 film The Last of England and celebrated his career with music, poetry and projections. Universettee with Bobby Baker offered an intimate surrounding at North Library to hear from the acclaimed performance artist. The Connecting Conversations series continued with celebrated author Deborah Levy and psychoanalyst Valerie Sinason. They touched on themes of love, loss, disability and mortality, and Levy read some of her work.
The literary and spoken word theme continued with Hello Holloway, an evening of alternative cabaret with festival favourite John Hegley, performance poet El Crisis and curators Project Adorno. Lyrics in Libraries saw quirky songstress Lorraine Bowen and critically acclaimed cult musician Momus perform on the theme ‘urban folktales’. The subject of ‘family affairs’ linked readings from acclaimed authors Pele Cox, Courttia Newland, Meike Ziervogel, Kerry Hudson, and Saira Shah at the Literary Event.
The question ‘Are the Arts for Everyone?’ was explored at a one-day conference christened Owning the Arts and encouraged active participation in group discussions. Contributors included: Peter Renshaw, Guildhall School of Music & Drama; poet Dean Atta; Sean Gregory, Barbican; Jocelyn Cunningham, Royal Society of Arts; Daniel Baker, Cubitt; Becky Swain, Arvon; Faith Liddell, Festivals Edinburgh; Diana Reich, Charleston Festival; Cheryl Pierce, artists’ producer and Sam Trotman, Artsadmin.
Produced by Holloway-based charity Rowan Arts, the 8-day festival showcased the work of local artists and performers and encouraged emerging talent with a host of competitions and opportunities to get involved. For those who wanted to step centre-stage, the Singer Songwriter Competition offered aspiring musicians the opportunity to win mentoring sessions and perform to the judging panel that included Victor Redwood Sawyer, MOBO award-winning musician, and new judge Ellis Rich, CEO of Independent Music Group. Photographers were encouraged to enter Urban Shots – Islington, A Sense of Place photography competition with striking and distinctive images of North Islington. The best entries were showcased on the Holloway Arts Festival website and the winning shot was awarded £500, sponsored by David Andrew Estate Agents.
Two guided walks brought to light aspects of the area’s hidden history. Andrew Gardner, chair of the Islington Archaeology and History Society, drew on his impressive knowledge of the borough and artist Sam Nightingale revealed Holloway’s rich cinematic past. Whilst the young enjoyed the Under 5’s Picnic at the Royal Northern Gardens, pensioners were invited to cut loose at the 21st Century Tea Dance at The Old Fire Station.
Local enthusiasts learnt circus skills, dance steps, art techniques and fancy football moves at The Big Day Out, which was programmed by The Lovebuzz Project. Whittington Park hosted an afternoon of free activities including arts and dance workshops; live music and a dog show competition run by Hornsey Vets.
The festival closed with Rock, Pop & Vox, a last hurrah of power-chords, synth-pop, indie and funk featuring the sounds of ToeJam n Earl, Sergeant Buzfuz, Project Adorno, John Arthur, and Diego Brown & the Good Fairy.