Hackney WickED festival scrapped due to Games

The three-day Hackney WickED art festival has been cancelled this year due to a clash with the Olympics and a shortage of funding.

Starting in 2008, the festival has previously offered a platform for local creative talent in Hackney – an area famous for having the greatest density of artists per square mile in Europe.

Festival organizer Anna Maloney said: ‘The festival was growing each year and it was amazing to see Hackney Wick full of people enjoying art’. However the council were not happy for the festival to go ahead at the normal time this year due to a clash with the  opening weekend of the Olympics in July. Also increased security requirements were not feasible for the festival, which is run on a voluntary basis.

Maloney said she was disappointed with the lack of support: ”The cultural Olympiad is supposed to inspire creativity in the arts, so it seems ironic that we can’t go ahead this year’’.

She felt it was a shame that the locally focused WickED festival has not received the same support as the BBC Hackney Weekend, which will feature big international acts such as Rihanna and Jay Z, rather than WickEd’s focus on showcasing local talent.

In previous years the festival has featured art exhibitions, live music and installations. The festival has also seen a narrow boat transformed into a cinema, graffiti workshops, performances from local circus and cabaret group The Hive and a coracle rowing regatta.

However in place of the three-day festival, the organisers are promising a year-long programme of events and the return of the whole weekend next year. Discussions are also taking place with Hackney and Tower Hamlets council over future funding.

Maloney added: ”When people found out we weren’t going ahead this year, they got in touch to say what they loved about the festival.” This has inspired an exhibition set to take place later this month which will take a retrospective look at the highlights of the past five years of the festival.

There will also be the Hackney WickED film festival this October, with a series of film screenings celebrating independent filmmakers, to coincide with the BFI festival. Hackney WickED also promises live music events throughout the year with a  line up featuring ska, Celtic, electro and flamenco acts.

For more information visit: http://www.hackneywicked.co.uk/ 

By Oliver Shaw

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