StreetFest: Eleven Years Strong
Emerging out of East London, the StreetFest concept and ethos is uniquely an urban arts platform combining the country’s leading creative minds, across live art, dance, fashion, urban sports, music, food and more. Ahead of their family friendly eleventh edition this Saturday at Oval Space, we sat down with the minds behind the event to chart the history of the now iconic event.
StreetFest was born out of a single initiative in 2008 at Juno bar, Shoreditch. It was created to provide a platform to celebrate artists and their work with the ethos of electric audience participation and creative stimulation. Gaining an immediate cult following, the event grew annually, moving to Hearn St carpark in 2010 pulling larger acts and incorporating more dynamic forms of creative expression. The introduction of the Secret Walls live art battle, bSupreme breakdancing battles, skate & inline competitions, MC battles, record breaking BMX demos, a traders market, live drawing from illustrator Jon Burgerman via satellite link up in New York and much more. Local & international performers such as Professor Green, Oddissee, Devlin, Lady Leshurr, Ghostpoet, Mr Hudson, Dot Rotten and DJs Nextmen, Wookie, Martelo, Urban Nerds, MK and many, many more hit the stage over the following 3 years, elevating the event’s status to the wider London community.
2014 saw the event moving over to Forman's Fish Island, Hackney Wick with the biggest skate ramps and the most visual artists to date creating over 2500 square foot of live art on the day, alongside electric performances from heavyweights Miss Dynamite and Goldie amongst many others. The next year, StreetFest took over London’s Tobacco Dock, hosting one of its most diverse line-ups to date. Talent such as Loyle Carner, Kutmah, Soom T, James Massiah, Shamz Le Rock, Hannah Faith and many more took to the stage.
Fast-forward to 2018, and they celebrated a 10 year anniversary with a one-off free party in Gillette Square, drawing huge crowds to watch the dance and skate competitions headed off with a mighty set from Co-op’s Selectors Assemble crew. Streetfest left East London for the first time in 2019, hitting Leeds in May with the likes of Foreign Beggars and DJ Semtex, alongside local talent from the North of England.
StreetFest returns to London at Oval Space this Saturday 14th September with a big welcome to families with children interested in practicing and learning street dance, live visual arts, graffiti, spoken word and more. The event has been carefully curated with sessions and workshops to cater to the next generation of counterculture creative. Throughout the day children of all ages can take part in street art, manga and graffiti workshops as well as dance battles alongside award winning Bboy crew Soul Mavericks and Bgirl collective b.supreme. Hotly tipped DJs Chloëdees (NTS) and RBC (Wireless, Afropunk) will be on the decks. The festival’s top billing goes to counterculture iconics DJ Ron (Rinse FM) and Shortee Blitz (ITV2 Dont Hate The Playaz) catering to the hip hop and jungle lovers. In the words of founder Bayo Alaba:
11 years has seen over 35,000 people through the gates, more than 2000 performers, we’ve flown artists in from America, Singapore, Japan, Germany, Spain, Denmark and more. It’s been one hell of a journey and today we are just as passionate about showcasing all these diverse, creative talents in a safe and tolerant space as we were back in 2008. EVERYONE is welcome and we hope you will be inspired by what you see on the day.
A limited number of advanced tickets for StreetFest 2019 remain. Grab one of these below and come get a taste of the thriving community that's seen StreetFest flourish over the past two decades.