Camden Lock Live bringing cool to hot summer nights

Camden Lock Live

Camden Lock Live - Credit: Archant

When the sun is out and the jugs of Pimm’s are overflowing, there are few better places to be in London than by the banks of Camden Lock, watching the colourful local characters floating by.

In that spirit, Camden Lock Market is opening up its space over the next two months for a series of events hoping to claim back some of the area’s fashionable reputation. Starting with the one-day festival Camden Lock Live, they will proceed to host a series of night markets and open-air cinema screenings, which encompass great music, great street food and, most importantly, great company.

“We’re looking to raise the profile of the market and showcase everything that’s good about it and Camden as a whole,” says James Milligan, the market’s events manager. “There can be a view of Camden that it’s lost its way a bit and I think that this event, as well as the night markets and the cinema, is all about saying, ‘Actually, that perception isn’t quite right.’”

Three stages

With a line-up of talented performers and exciting entertainment across three stages, together with a dance tent, a plethora of street entertainment, exemplary street food and arts and crafts designer makers’ stalls alongside the Regent’s Canal, the festival is expanding since its debut last year.

Some of the quirkier musical offerings include the Big Dance Company – who will be teaching “hip-hop moves to use in social situations” – and the Folk Dance Remixed Company, who are aiming to convert audiences to their unique mixture of traditional folk music and modern dance.

“There’s some really amazing music in Camden and we’re looking to work with people from the local area,” Milligan adds.

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“We’re also working with the Amy Winehouse Foundation this year, who are providing us with staff and helping out with our social media, but also sending down a group of their young performers from Amy’s Yard. We’re going to give them the slot before our headliners on the main stage.”

Since their recent rejuvenation, food has also been at the heart of the market, with traders like Honest Burgers, Big Apple Hot-Dogs and Reggae Roast bringing a touch of style to proceedings.

This street food in particular will be the emphasis of the night markets, which provide live DJs and a more chilled-out way for locals young and old to spend a warm summer evening.

In addition to this, the open-air cinema nights are proving a big success already: “Their tickets are selling out like hotcakes at the moment. There are a lot of great films now in their anniversary years: Ghostbusters, The Matrix, Pulp Fiction and Spinal Tap. While a lot of these are unfortunately sold out, there are a lot of newer films showing too. There’s Grand Budapest Hotel which is showing on the opening night, Superbad, The Goonies – there’s some gems in there.”

Independent traders

Competing with four other markets for the attention of passers-by can often be a tough task but, with their summer events, Camden Lock Market is hoping its dedication to authentic, passionate independent businesses and traders will set them apart from the crowd.

“We’ve got some fantastic stuff here that we really want to shout about; putting on live music, getting in the different stages and putting it on as a festival is our way of doing that.

“A lot of this stuff is here every day; I think people have forgotten that. We have a real high quality offering that’s been kind of lost in the chaos that’s surrounded by it.”

Camden Lock Live is on July 11. Entry is free. The Summer Night Markets begin on August 7 and run every Thursday for five weeks. See for more information.