Highgate Festival 2021 needs ideas and volunteers

Highgate Festival pink plaques. Organisers Alicia Pivaro and Catharine Wells with two of the 2020 plaques, commemorating...

Highgate Festival pink plaques. Organisers Alicia Pivaro and Catharine Wells with two of the 2020 plaques, commemorating Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts, and Harriet Mellon. - Credit: Archant

There may be no Chelsea Flower Show or Glastonbury this year, but The Highgate Festival, now in its 4th year, will happen and is something to look forward to.

Running from June 19-27, it will be primarily virtual with several physical events if the circumstances permit. It is a unique community festival inside out concept with events (free and fee-based) taking place all over Highgate, encompassing top bottom sideways… and in some rather unusual places, spaces and venues.

Highgate Festival logo.

Highgate Festival logo. - Credit: Highgate Festival

Highgate Festival celebrates the breadth and variety of Highgate – its history, residents, dance, buildings, culture, sustainability, art, gardens, literature, music, environment, businesses, local talent and creatives.

Its aim is to bring together and connect the community, boost Highgate’s economy and support local artists, businesses, performers, cafes, pubs, restaurants and shops. This joyful celebration of Highgate, is organised by a small group of locals who generously commit their time to the festival’s creation, coordination, PR, and marketing.

The Highgate Festival team welcomes all feedback - ideas, things you’d like to see more of and things we need to change. Email info@highgatefestival.org


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For 2020, the festival dug deep with the total transition to online events due to COVID -19 restrictions and social distancing. After several deep sighs, furrowed brows and gulps; the team expanded its technical knowledge and organised a zooming festival to be proud of. The website manager actually built an enhanced website which offered nine days of remote community festivities, from Zoom concerts and talks to radio shows, virtual exhibitions, garden tours and the public sending in photos of lockdown projects. It created a positive opportunity for the Highgate neighbourhoods to come together during the pandemic.

The Virtual Highgate Festival also included live socially distanced music events in Pond Square and

The 2020 Virtual Highgate Festival included live socially distanced music events in Pond Square and outside the homes of performers - Credit: Archant

The team’s thoughts are already turned to this year’s Highgate Festival, and how to plan for it when they don’t know what summer 2021 will bring. Crowd pleasers such as Historic Jewish London Walk with local historian Peter Walton, Open Gardens of Mona Abboud - Sue Whittington - Ruth Benton - Bunty Schrager, commemorative Pink Plaques, a dedicated festival show Upstairs at the Gatehouse Theatre, Highgate Allotments Video Visits will, fingers-crossed return to delight the community.

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2020’s festival was WOWED by the musical performances of The Handlers, Archway Lightnin’ Boys, John Landau & The Giants, violinists Clio and Lily Harwood, String Repertoire, Will and Eddie, Dai Watts and Mark Nevin and family.

The festival team graciously invites all of them to take part once again in the Highgate Festival 2021.

There is currently a CALL for talent, so please make contact with the festival team; if you wish to be involved or to share your suggestions of performers you recommend. New ideas suggested for 2021 include the Dog and Owner Show, a “Conversation” between Sir Mark Elder and John Caird, an appearance by the Pearly Queens, Princes, Kings and Princes and a staging of a combined arts performance of Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner by Live Literature Company.

In the planning stages is the Highgate Gardeners’ Question Time (HGQT) which will be looser and freer flowing than the classic Radio 4 Gardener's Question Time. HGQT will entertain and engage with ALL ages and especially aim to gain the attention and participation of children. This is a not to be missed festival event with such questions to our panel of experts as – How to grow tomatoes in a window box? How to get rid of a nasty rash after gardening? How not to kill your indoor plants? How to tip toe through the tulips?

Highgate Festival, now registered as a not-for-profit Community Interest Company (CIC), relies on the dedication, expertise, energies and time of its small dedicated volunteer team. A CIC is a special type of limited company which exists to benefit the community rather than private shareholders. The additional support of generous individuals, businesses and organisations is enthusiastically sought to help with promoting and maintaining the festival and its events.

Funds are needed to:

· Create new festival opportunities

· Pay artists, educators, performers

· Rent venues

· Print/produce promotional materials

· Boost advertising, publicity and social media

Visit https://highgatefestival.org/ to make a donation on the funding page or contact the team directly to discuss sponsorship packages info@highgatefestival.org and join the Ham & High and Highgate School as a Highgate Festival 2021 sponsor. The festival team are seeking community volunteers to support social media, photography, filming and audio and video production.

Please help make the 2021 celebration of Highgate even more outstanding, inclusive, inspiring and interactive!

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