Highgate Festival is back with more than 50 virtual and live events

Alicia Pivaro and Catharine Wells with two of the 2020 plaques, commemorating Angela Georgina Burdet

Alicia Pivaro and Catharine Wells with two of last year's pink plaques, commemorating inspirational Highgate women. A self-guided trail of plaques is part of the 2021 Highgate Festival - Credit: Polly Hancock

From dog shows to art workshops, music to walking tours, there’s something for everyone at the 2021 Highgate Festival with online and live events across nine days.

Running from June 19-27, outdoor live events include a Pearlies Progress – where Pearly Kings and Queens will tour Highgate on cargo bikes, setting off from Pond Square at noon on Saturday 19th, then heading towards Lauderdale House and down to Swains Lane.

The Boogaloo pub in Archway Road. Picture: Nigel Sutton

The Boogaloo pub in Archway Road hosts a takeover of its radio station and a yard sale as part of the Highgate Festival 2021 - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Also on the 19th, there's a focus on Archway Road from 12–6pm with a Festival takeover of Boogaloo Radio, a Boogaloo Yard Sale with vintage, makers, records and art as well as special offers from Archway Road shops (collect a wristband from the Boogaloo).  Highgate Art school in Archway Road is hosting a free outdoor art workshop (12–2pm) and children’s art exhibition, Parkland Walk Wildlife Trail runs a crazy clay creatures workshop (2–4pm). And there are two design and engagement events – one at the BMX track (2–3pm) and one at the location of a new natural play space at the Milton Park entrance to the Parkland Walk (3.30–4.30pm). Take a wander and visit everything!

On June 22nd, Pond Square will host a Silent Disco, and on June 26th, a Community Eco Fair (11–3pm) with live music by the Archway Mountain Lightnin’ Boys. As well as a brocante (second-hand market) there will be stalls by the Harington Scheme, Wood that Works, Highgate Honey, XR and Walter Castellazzo. You can help create a huge clay art installation called ‘The Village’ by adding your own clay person or creature to those made by local school children.

On June 27th there is a Dog and Owner Fashion Show in Waterlow Park with awards including Most Highgate and Most Glamourous – spaces are limited, so sign up soon to take part.

John Plews of Upstairs at the Gatehouse Theatre, Highgate. Picture: Nigel Sutton

John Plews of Upstairs at the Gatehouse Theatre, Highgate. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton


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There is music at Highgate Woods Café on weekends at 2pm, the humorous Highgate Histories by Blacktooth Productions on the 23rd, and An Evening of Chekhov by Handplay Productions on the 27th. Upstairs at the Gatehouse reopens with Forever Plaid running throughout the Festival, and following the Tuesday 22nd performance there is an opportunity to meet the cast.

OmVed Gardens in Highgate and gardener Vicky Chown

OmVed Gardens in Highgate - Credit: Archant

At 6.30pm each evening we have musical offerings including the London Mozart Players principals playing with three students from Guildhall School of Music on 23rd, and Stacey Cohen and Acoustic Garden Concert on 24th, both at OmVed Gardens. Michelle Berriedale-Johnson, a new Highgate resident and founder of Salon Music, has organised a series of concerts in Highgate School Chapel featuring The Corran Quartet, Korros Ensemble (flute, harp and clarinet), Alacris Quartet and Madeleine Mitchell and her quartet. Other highlights include Chineke!, which will be performed by Music with Love on the 23rd. Created by Highgate resident Jennie Muskett, Music with Love streamed 36 concerts into care homes during the pandemic.

Filming one of the care home concerts in Jennie Muskett's Highgate studio

one of the care home concerts that took place in Jennie Muskett's Highgate studio - Credit: Jennie Muskett

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More than 15 guided and self-guided walks celebrate our wonderful history, including Peter Walton’s Historic Jewish Highgate walk, our popular Pink Plaques trail, a Ghost Signs walk, Keats Meets Coleridge walk, Highgate Literary tour and a guided walk around Highgate New Town. New for this year is Highgate Stories – a self-guided trail featuring some of the best tales from our neighbourhood with many images provided by the Archives at the HLSI.

The ever-popular Sunday Open Gardens returns, highlighting the glorious gardens of Mona Abboud, Ruth & Peter Benton, Bunty Schrager, Sue Whittington, Sophia Davison and the Harington Scheme. Highgate Modern Homes allows us to enjoy three local modern houses in new short films created by the Highgate Society and the Highgate Festival Film Unit.

Harington Scheme students barrow produce up Highgate High Street to sell on stall in Pond Square. Pi

Harington Scheme students barrow produce up Highgate High Street to sell on stall in Pond Square. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

For those interested in addressing the climate crisis, the Highgate Eco Network is bringing a Think&Do Eco pop-up exhibition to Lauderdale House where you can learn about and sign up for climate action projects and organisations. At 7–8pm on 23rd join us on the Tea Lawn at Lauderdale House to hear from local climate activists. Bring a rug and refreshments or get something from the café.

A picnic concert featuring young musicians from Highgate School, on the Tea Lawn at Lauderdale House

A previous Highgate Festival event on the Tea Lawn at Lauderdale House. - Credit: Polly Hancock

Join us online every weekday at 1pm for talks and conversations by Highgate people including LUX director Ben Cook in conversation with ecologist Richard Layzell, a documentary on 50 years of radical publishing by the managing director of Archway Road based Pluto Press, conversations with local authors Katharine McMahon and Nadia Ragozhina, and an overview of literary Highgate from Isabel Raphael. At 4pm each day we have Gardeners’ Tea Time featuring short talks and films about all things horticultural.

A still from Marvell Park by Richard Layzell

A still from Marvell Park by Richard Layzell who gives a talk at the 2021 Highgate Festival - Credit: Courtesy of Lux

There are things taking place all over Highgate and online with Lauderdale House, the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institute, and the Highgate Society contributing wonderful events.

Highgate Festival 2021 runs from June 19-27

Highgate Festival 2021 runs from June 19-27 - Credit: Supplied

Find all the latest Festival information at https://highgatefestival.org/and @HighgateFestival but please do check nearer the date as events may have to change. Get booking and enjoy the fun!

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