LIVE BLOG: Music, theatre and Brazilian dance along the Regents Canal at the Shoreditch Festival

Owiny Sigoma on the main stage. Pic: Ellie Baskett

Live music, dance and theatre performances plus boat trips, a floating garden and food markets are among the attractions at the Shoreditch Festival which starts today and runs all week.

The free festival is now in its 10th year and is based around the Regent’s Canal area of Shoreditch.

Despite the forecast for wind and rain today, many people were still expected to head down to the festival, which takes place along a stretch of the canal which runs from the De Beauvoir Town area on the Islington-Hackney border right through to Haggerston. We will be reporting and blogging from the scene today and at intervals during the rest of the weekend and next week. Our reporters are Ellie Baskett and Koos Coovee.

Among the acts to watch on the main stage today are Red Baarat, a nine-piece bhangra and funk band from New York and headliners The Whip, an electro four-piece from Manchester. The floating stage features DJs with live accompaniment while the community stage showcases live performances including drumming and the Brazilian dance form, capoeira.

Tomorrow, local youth bands take to the stage in the afternoon and topping the bill is the Soul Rebels Brass Band, a New Orleans jazz band who will be performing ahead of dates at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival and the Barbican.

The rest of the week includes screenings at the Floating Cinema – a customised narrow boat, art exhibitions and the Shoreditch Bark Dog Show, which takes place next Saturday in Shoreditch Park and has awards for Hoxton’s Hottest Dog and Waggiest Tail.

Next weekend marks one year until the London 2012 opening ceremony and, as part of a nationwide celebration, there is a guided walk to the Olympic Park as well as free sports coaching sessions in Haggerston Park.

The Shoreditch Festival is organised by the Shoreditch Trust, a charitable regeneration organisation, which aims to produce long-term social, economic and environmental benefits for the local community.

Full details and a map can be found here; our live blog runs below and new readers should begin at the bottom….

20.00 It seems the hip and happening after-party is at Shoreditch where Snoop Dogg is also going to be appearing following his set earlier at Lovebox: Miss_Cakehead Tweets: ”Whoop – confirmed that Snoop Dogg is playing at Shoreditch House tonight (runs for train)” and kigucrew adds: ”Just heard Snoop Dogg is doing a private show at Shoreditch House tonight for 100 people! Need to get in there!!!”

19.00 Koos may have left to go and DJ elsewhere in north London, but things are still happening in Shoreditch. MusicTravelsWeb Tweets: ”Currently listening/watching @re_raw drop some ridiculous tracks at the Shoreditch festival! Amazing! Even the canal is jumping!”    And dialect adds: ” @ redbaraat just rocked the Shoreditch Festival * and * brought the sunshine out!!”

18. 45: Koos texts: ”I decide to make my way home, whilst desperately trying to keep my jerk chicken and corn on the cob dry. It has been a typically British event, the weather has tried to dampen the spirits but thanks to the efforts of those working for community organisations, makeshift bars, bands and the many foodstalls have made it a great day for those braved the weather. Let’s not forget to mention the sound provided by the SAE Institute. More African music from Red Baraat promise to keep the vibes going on the main stage. I hope to be back for more tomorrow.

18.15: The rain is absolutely hammering down.

17.45: The rain has returned. A large crowd has gathered under the railroad bridge to watch Owiny Sigoma on the main stage, a Nairobi-London band that mixes traditional Kenyan Luo styles with contemporary western influences. The rain does not seem to dampen the mood in the slightest, and more and more youngsters are arriving at the festival.
17.20: At the Community Performance Stage a show from Hackney Schools Bateria (left)  is under way. Despite their youth they sound very tight and move from the stage along the canal towards Kingsland Road.

17.00: Hey, the sun is shining over Shoreditch again. Briefly.

16.45: Koos texts: ”It proves to be quite difficult to get a pint of lager on the Islington side of the festival. I am standing by the floating stage where basslines are rolling from the speakers and a crowd has gathered around the bike shop Route Canal. James (22) is only selling ale and cider. He is happy the organisers have closed the canal for cyclists today, and hopes it will get busier later on. I decide to make my way back to the main stage in search of a lager!”

16.30: A very young crowd is hanging out by the floating stage run by the SAE Institute, listening to a dubstep mix by DJ Frankie, a lecturer at the Institute, which provides degrees in audio, music production, music business and film. The rain is pouring down, but the vibes are good.

16.20: Koos bumps into a youthful group of aspiring journalists. Eugene Osei, 19, Muzzamic Hashmi , 17, and Obed Adeofo, 20, who are filming the event for A New Direction (, a company that provides young Londoners  opportunities to pursue their aspirations in journalism, arts and culture.

Appropriately enough @Zee_Le_bebe Tweets: ”Sold over 100 cakes today, baking more, doing it all again tomorrow at the Shoreditch Festival. Come buy some…”

16.00: Koos texts: ”There are great foodstalls and great coffee here at the festival. Foodstalls include about three different Jamaican ones, a Ghanaian one and a French one.”

15.45: The weather has taken a turn for the worse. It is now raining and very windy, but that has not stopped Simon Ryder from the charity Beauchamp Large from bringing out his real life chameleon to show to visitors to his science boat. It is an independent charity that offers science, environmental and history lessons to primary school pupils in Westminster. The boat operates as a classroom and has a small onboard zoo: as well as the chameleon, there is also a tarantula, a scorpion and a massive millipede. They are currently making a film about the  history and ecology of the Regents Canal at Paddington and has also completed a project with local kids at Limehouse.

15.30: Koos Coovee, our reporter who has just arrived at the scene texts: ‘I’m standing – with dark clouds above my head – by the Community Performance stage having just seen the dance group Ebonessence perform. They are a street dance group for kids, teenagers and your adults aged 5-20 based in Hoxton. They are currently performing a hip hop routine with an Oliver Twist theme. I spoke to two members, Natifa and Kaylorile, both 17. They said: ‘We’ve had back to back rehearsals for a month and we are not nervous at all!” The group have another show tomorrow and are hoping to get funding to do a proper show with the Oliver Twist theme at Stratford Circus. Their website is here

People are already getting worked up about the Shoreditch Festival: LondonCallingUK Tweets: ”Don t miss the Shoreditch Festival along the Regents Canal puppets, crafts, a floating cinema..”

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