A few months ago, The Crouch End Festival began as a mere spark in the minds of a few North London creatives, but received such an incredibly enthusiastic reception from the locals that it has now grown into a major London happening with over 130 events across the area.
As a result of this brilliant idea, between 4th and 13th May Crouch End - or the N8 area of London - is going to be filled with all kinds of arty events. There will be music from Country to Rock to Indie to Classical. To raise money for a cancer charity, and to add to the festival atmosphere, a Guerrilla Bunting gang will be hanging their one-off decorations all over Broadway and beyond. A Craft Trail will show off the more eclectic creativity in the area. A Barboot will offer vintage finds in bars and cafes along Middle Lane. There will be exhibitions with photography and fine art in shops, bars and cafes. And there's secret cinema, comedy, theatre, poetry and Burlesque. To quote the Crouch End Festival poster, 'There's more but we ran out of space.'
I've picked a few events for the first day of the festival, Friday 4th May, (more days to follow) which to me look interesting, but there are so many events, it's a very difficult choice. For full Crouch End Festival 2012 events listing, click here.
To begin with there are a couple of exhibitions, which, for me at least, are a must:
James Bridgman and Thomas Skovsende will show their black and white prints in St James restaurant on Middle Lane, N8.
James' work is called 'Viewing the viewers' and is an interesting collection of images concentrating on those who observe art, rather than those who produce it.
Thomas on the other hand, has drawn inspiration from the rock star Bruce Springsteen and New Jersey to produce a collection of prints called 'Into the Springsteen Heartland'. This exhibition will be showing all through the festival from 4-13 May.
A second exhibition I will visit is to be housed at Oddbins on Crouch Hill and is a collection of oil paintings by Wendy Saunders, called Look Up.
Wendy's, sometimes haunting, images have really caught my eye. She says, 'Although portrait-like in appearance, my paintings are really about expressions.'
Wendy is going to be showing 17 canvases in all and I cannot wait to see them all up close. The exhibition will run from 7 pm on 4th to Sunday 13th May.
From visual arts to music.
I am definitely going to be heading for a bit of swing and soul with Down for the Count at The Music Palace on Tottenham Lane. This 9-piece band will be performing their popular jazz, swing, rat pack, soul and Motown music on Friday night only. Doors open at 8 pm.
To calm my senses, I might just briefly nip into Riley's Ice Cream Parlour on Broadway, to watch a sixteen minute, four way split screen video, called 'The Joining of Heaven and Earth'. It's a mood piece about medieval pilgrimage. Here's a short excerpt of this wonderfully serene work by Georges Meisner. The short film will run from Friday 4th to Monday 7th May.
But I must also make some time on the first night of the festival to visit our local, The Maynard Arms . There, for the duration of the Festival, you can view the sensual and dreamlike art by Michelle Eva May (above) as well as sample the Crouch End Festival beer.
If I'm still standing, I'll end the first night with a bit of a of sing-a-long (as long as I am kept well away from the mike - I could strangle a few cats with my tuneless singing…). There's a Karaoke and Festival Warm-up Party at the Moors Bar on Park Road. It starts at 10 pm and runs well into the night. Just as well it's only a crawling distance from home!