Streatham Festival enters final weekend following triumphant week of events

The Streatham Festival has featured online events for the first time and launched a successful new literature festival, ahead of its final weekend.

Streatham Festival 2020 officially closes on Sunday 18 October after over a week of celebrating all aspects of the arts, but several projects will remain live and come to fruition over the coming months.

The Streatham Festival organisers are now calling on Streathamites and Londoners to visit the festival website and book tickets and register for the final remaining activities and events.

With the arts under threat like never before, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the organisers feel the festival has been needed more than ever.

The local MP for Streatham, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, officially opened the festival on the evening of Friday 9 October at the Romantic Cello by Candlelight concert in St Thomas’ Church, Telford Avenue, Streatham.

The festival, which is now in its 20th year, has many more exciting events to come this weekend, including:

STREATHAM’S QUEEN OF THE BLUES – An online event on Friday 16 October to celebrate the life and music of the legendary Jo Ann Kelly. Born and raised in Streatham, Jo Ann had a unique and powerful vocal style. She came to be regarded as one of the finest blues singers ever. It will be almost 30 years to the day since she died tragically early on 21 October 1990. The event will also mark the creation of the Streatham Blues Festival.

COLLYWOBBLERS COMEDY – The comedians are going online to bring the magical experience of a live comedy club to everyone’s living rooms on Friday 16 October. There’s a fantastic line-up of comedy talent including the comedy circuit legend and TV star Shazia Mirza (as seen on C4’s ‘Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls’, ITV’s Jonathan Ross Show, and C4’s Travel Man), the brilliant Esther Manito, Mock The Week and Smack The Pony’s Fiona Allen, Brabantia, and Dan Evans.

The proceedings are all hosted by “utterly charming” (Time Out London) Siôn James, and beamed directly into your own home. This is a charity special so 50 per cent of profits will go to the homelessness charity Spires, in Streatham.

STREATHAM STRUT – Coronavirus restrictions mean the famous Streatham Strut will be a virtual one broadcast on YouTube on Saturday 17 October. 10 artists and bands will perform – including the London-based nightclub magician-turned-rapper, Stigmartyr, Blodyn Bach and the ever-popular Whiskey Kittens. The Streatham Strut is proudly sponsored by Sambrook’s Brewery, who have a Streatfest Special offer – 15% off home delivery orders, as well as a competition to win a case of IPA.

YOUTH MUSIC SHOWCASE – Once again Streatham Festival is passionately supporting local youth talent and there is a fantastic line-up at the Rock the Rookery Youth Showcase being held on Saturday 17 October, 11:00am to 3:00pm. The event will be hosted by Streatham’s very own hero and musician Colin Baptiste, who played for all his neighbours every Sunday during Lockdown.

EYE ON STREATHAM – Streatham Festival hosted a hugely successful photography festival – Eye on Streatham. Still to come on Saturday 17 October, there is an open house event at Empire Arches, where the organisers of Eye on Streatham, LDN Photography, are based. In these tough times, the professional photographers are offering free headshots for the unemployed as part of the event. Visitors can also see a laser cutter in action and buy artwork from the artists in residence. And the Eye on Streatham photography competition remains open for entries until the end of the month.

Throughout the festival, there has been more than ten popular events – online and in real life – to help teach and share many aspects of photography. Eye on Streatham was particularly proud of hosting a webinar from acclaimed music photography and music video director Peter Neill. His talk was so popular it has been shared on the Streatham Festival website for anyone who missed it.

Not only has Eye on Streatham improved photography skills in Streatham but it has raised over £160 for Brixton and Norwood Food bank via their online workshops.

The organisers have even created a dedicated app for learning how to improve your photography skills. A link to the app can be found at StreathamFestival.com/photoapp. Just open the link in your smartphone and save to your homepage!

STREATART20 – Streatham Festival provides a platform to showcase local artists and form links with the many venues and businesses in the area. 20 artists are taking part, including Karolina Jonc Buczek, whose work focuses on body positivity and mental health, and bread sculptor Bernardete Blue. There is also a joint exhibition in the Streatham Tate Library and the Woodfield Pavilion.

LONDON CONCERTANTE – After an amazing sell-out series of al fresco concerts in Streatham, and two popular Festival concerts, the Secret Garden Concerts team will host a dress-up Spooky Strings Halloween-themed strings workshop for children on Sunday 18 October.

Streatham Literature Festival is a new event to the festival. There have been workshops and readings by writers, publishers, and illustrators – as well as a short story competition and two downloadable guided walks around Streatham exploring some of its amazing local literary links – from The Devil Rides Out to Pride and Prejudice! Created in association with The Streatham Society and The Ramblers

On Sunday 11 October, Streatham Space Project hosted the Streatham Sunday Special – a day of workshops, readings and discussions followed by spoken word, music, and poetry. The Streatham Sunday Special included a talk and drawing workshop by award-winning children’s author and illustrator, Fran Preston-Gannon. LOUD BLACK GIRLS was a panel discussion between Abiola Oni and Temi Mwale, two writers from the Loud Black Girls anthology of Black British writing, chaired by Marcelle Mateki Akita.

On Thursday 15 October, Streatham’s own Kevin Day shared his new book with Streatham Literature Festival at The Rabbit Hole pub. The stand-up comedian, comedy writer and former Match of the Day presenter talked about his new book – Who are ya? – with fellow local comedian and Crystal Palace fan, Chloe Petts.

The Literature Festival is sponsored by Northwood Senior School and the Streatham Society. Streatham Festival is also proud to work with Moon Lane Ink bookshop to supply all the books available to be signed at select events.

Streatham Festival is hugely grateful to their main sponsors: InStreatham BID, Heart Streatham Magazine, The Vale Living, and Anthony Gold Solicitors.

Anthony Gold Solicitors are not only sponsors but are hosting a series of webinars during the festival and offering FREE 20 minute ‘Speak with an Expert’ sessions on a variety of topics.

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