Virtual Highgate Festival hailed a success

PUBLISHED: 14:00 30 June 2020 | UPDATED: 14:00 30 June 2020

Highgate Horticultural Society plant sale supporting the Harrington Scheme, in front of HLSI on 27.06.20.
From left Mandy Hill from the Harrington Scheme, Alicia Pivaro and Maggy Meade-King from HHS, and Pauline Treen a trustee of the Harrington Scheme.

Highgate Horticultural Society plant sale supporting the Harrington Scheme, in front of HLSI on 27.06.20. From left Mandy Hill from the Harrington Scheme, Alicia Pivaro and Maggy Meade-King from HHS, and Pauline Treen a trustee of the Harrington Scheme.

Archant

“Amazing response” to a week of community festivities, from Zoom concerts and talks to radio shows, virtual exhibitions and sending in photos of lockdown projects

Highgate Festival pink plaques. Organisers Alicia Pivaro and Catharine Wells with two of this years plaques, commemorating Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts, and Harriet Mellon.Highgate Festival pink plaques. Organisers Alicia Pivaro and Catharine Wells with two of this years plaques, commemorating Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts, and Harriet Mellon.

Highgate celebrated a week of virtual festivities last week after taking its annual celebration online.

From Zoom concerts and talks to radio shows, virtual art exhibitions and garden tours, it was a chance for the community to come together during the pandemic.

“We felt it was important to document Highgate in this unique time and holding an online Festival was a way to do that,” said Andrea Horth, part of the Highgate Festival team, who built an enhanced website for the event.

“People are feeling a sense of community just as we are socially distancing. We wanted the Festival to counterbalance that sense of isolation.”

Dancing to the band outside 10a on 27.06.20.
A scaled down Highgate Festival with local musicians Will Fairhead and Eddie Ogle (pictured in the crowd) and band. The band came together during Clap for Carers on Southwood Lawn Road.Dancing to the band outside 10a on 27.06.20. A scaled down Highgate Festival with local musicians Will Fairhead and Eddie Ogle (pictured in the crowd) and band. The band came together during Clap for Carers on Southwood Lawn Road.

The web producer “enjoyed harnessing the potential of the internet and social media to explore and enhance our sense of community”.

“We provided a platform for people to embrace new ways of being together through online events or by sharing art, music, ideas or their gardens.”

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The festival included an interactive element where residents submitted pictures of their lockdown activities - #lockdownlife submissions came from a wide cross-section of the community.

“People shared poems, photographs, new interests they’ve been exploring such as boat building, cooking or tai chi. It is powerful and moving to see them together.”

The theme of appreciating High Street Heroes - celebrating local traders who have helped the community through lockdown - struck a chord. And the Pink Plaque scheme saw yet more remarkable Highgate women recognised with markers.

There were even some non-virtual socially-distanced events with live music, a plant sale and coffee morning in Pond Square.

“I haven’t had time yet to look at our website stats in detail, but it’s clear that people “turned up” and we’ve had lots of positive feedback,” added Horth.

“In some ways, moving online made the Festival more accessible by bringing our events to people are can’t get out and about. The experience will certainly inform our approach to next year’s Festival.”

“Despite the virtual nature of the festival it has brought us closer together as a community and we’ve come to know each other a little better.”

Fellow festival organiser Alicia Pivaro added: “There was an amazing response. It’s great that everyone embraced new ways of being together with online events and sharing their lockdown activities.”


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