- Tower Hamlets
East London music-lovers will be treated to a varied programme of music and arts in the fourth annual Land of Kings Festival this Bank Holiday weekend.
The multi-venue festival, which allows its wristband-wearing punters to hop between over fifteen Dalston venues on Friday and Saturday nights is the brainchild of two local music promoters, Nick Griffiths and Connie Harrison. East London Lines spoke to Nick this week, who explained how the festival is organised. He said:
“We work with a lot of local curaters, record labels and art collectives based in and around Dalston and Hackney, and each of them presents a different showcase or event. Then people can buy a ticket either for one day or two days, and then the wristband that they get in return gets them into all the venues.”
“The whole local angle of the festival is something that we do try to stick to, and that’s kind of how it started”, said Nick. “Myself and Connie are both big fans of the local area, and part of the inspiration for Land of Kings was that there’s so much good stuff culturally happening in this area so why look further afield…not everyone who’s performing has to live in Hackney of course…we’ve had performers from all over London and international people as well, but we do try to keep an East London flavour.”
The area’s small and unusual venues were also one of the inspirations. Nick added: “Back in 2007/2008 there were all these interesting venues that people were starting to use, whether it’s basements under Turkish restaurants or Victorian school halls. All of these interesting spaces kept cropping up, and so the idea at the beginning was not only to present local collectives but also to showcase all these spaces. We still try to bring in at least a few new spaces each year that people might not be familiar with, or if they are we try to put on something that they wouldn’t really expect.”
Music highlights include Factory Floor on Saturday; a Kwesachu DJ set on Friday; and a takeover of the Arcola Theatre Studios (on the top floor of the acclaimed theatre’s new Dalston home) by local club promoters Black Atlantic on Saturday.
Meanwhile on the arts side there’s a showcase of short films by Hackney directors curated by the Hackney Film Festival at the Dalston Roof Park; an installation in a post-war bunker behind McDonald’s entitled ‘The Austerity Games’ by local artist Gillian Fox; and ‘Live Art Speed Date’, a one-to-one theatre performance by Stoke Newington International Airport at Dalston Boys Club.
A final word from Nick: “Get involved, get lost, and hopefully end up somewhere you weren’t expecting.”