Sunday, 3 October 2010

Stockwell Festival 2010

It was a blustery autumnal day in Stockwell. Over the years since I was little I have been to Larkhall Park to run around like a screaming loon or to cloud gaze as a teenager. I’ve always thought of Larkhall Park as small but this particular day the park looked huge and brimming with activity, because today was 
Stockwell Festival.

For 10 years the festival has been building in size and on its tenth birthday the park was full of all sorts of marquees, pop up tents, canopies and bouncy slides all enthusiastically flapping about in the wind. I had specially ventured down to help out with Stockwell Studios and Art4Space stands, promoting their presence in the community and activities in our little pocket of sunshine that is Stockwell. As I was swept in by the breeze, I shared greetings with Art4Space co-ordinators Eli Seath and Jewels Norburn before we knuckled down to building the giant fake cake. They pre-prepared pieces which we fitted together into a giant cake to celebrate Stockwell Festivals 10th birthday. With hand drills, staple guns and a sprinkling of magic we pieced it together, wrestling the wind which wanted a piece of that cake, and threatened to blow out the giant fake candles.We successfully finished as one o’clock struck just as curious kids came flocking. With our Arts Workshop we decorated paper smarties and cardboard candles with glitter and wishes for Stockwell and decorated the cake.

Once the workshop was running smoothly, I went in search of some hot food and some old faces. Being a local to Stockwell I spent much of my childhood in the little church on the park, Courland Grove, where my parents still go, I knew they’d be open with bric-a-brac and hot food and tea, I got myself some chicken and chips and lots of hugs. Then waving farewell continued my wander through the Oasis Nature Gardening stands, the Oasis Go-Karts, the Wellbeing Zone, the stilt walkers, the Punch and Judy man and the awesome Pineapple Car. I stopped off for a fantastic coffee (possibly the best in London) at Morgan’s Coffee Experience (Cart), for an impressive cappuccino, usually situated outside Clapham Common tube 7 days a week, this coffee is the famous Monmouth coffee, and expertly prepared this is probably the best coffee around. Walking around the festival it was fantastic to see the signs created by the Elevate volunteers, such a good job! Finally I jigged along to the Pineapple stage with its impressive collection of performers. I discovered the MC for the pineapple stage was gospel singer Adelaide Mackenzie an old school friend and local, small world Stockwell indeed.
Back at Art4space the workshop was teeming with kids creating and getting their faces beautifully painted. The cake was overflowing with candles and wishes. And it was nearly time for the parade. At 4:30 all the children came back for their candles and lined up behind Lady Pineapple and all the pineapple kids, the pineapple car, Oasis go Karts, Cheerleaders; Fyer Flyz, drummers, stilt walkers and all the Art4Space and Stockwell Studios crew and to the beat of the drums the parade began with dancing and singing all the way around the park at which point the sun came out and beamed cheerfully. A big cheer rang out for Stockwell Festivals 10th Birthday celebrations.

Even with the wind a great day was had by all. As things got taken down at the end of the day and sheets were chased and vans loaded. Our faces glowed with wind burn and shone with smiles.

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