HedgeFest: how Hackney hipsters are helping hedgehogs

British hedgehogs face possible extinction from modern farming and urbanisation Pic: LazyDaisie

British hedgehogs face possible extinction from modern farming and urbanisation Pic: LazyDaisie

Hipsters in Hackney will be drinking for a cause this weekend –  to help save the hedgehog.

The Sebright Arms on Hackney Road will host HedgeFest this Saturday, an all-day festival bringing together local music, poetry, art…and one of Britain’s most beloved wild mammals, the hedgehog. 

The festival will raise awareness for Britain’s threatened hedgehog population, which shrunk by over fifty percent in the past 15 years. 

Keenan Timko, a North Londoner who works in tech and is one of the organisers of HedgeFest, said: “When I describe the festival to people, they find the whole concept funny and a bit ridiculous – an overly earnest benefit show for hedgehogs held in an East London boozer. But once they recognise there’s a legitimate threat to the species, you get their attention.” 

The festival will feature local bands, slam poetry performances, and even hedgehog-themed drinks while informing Londoners on how they can help out their prickly neighbours.

HedgeFest will feature many local bands to raise funds Pic: HedgeFest

Proceeds from the festival will benefit Hedgehog Street, a non-profit organisation created by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) and the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES). The organisation raises awareness of threats to the hedgehog population and highlights ways citizens can make their gardens hedgehog friendly. 

Emily Wilson, Hedgehog Officer for Hedgehog Street, said: “Urban and suburban areas are becoming increasingly important for hedgehogs. Hedgehogs are a generalist species, so the more people can do to help them in their own back garden, the more they will also benefit other wildlife. Doing something simple can make a real difference to hedgehogs”. 

Hedgehog Street created the hedgehog highway, a series of holes in garden fences and walls throughout the country that allow hedgehogs unimpeded travel each night to locate enough nutrients to survive. Hedgehog Street has amassed over 47,000 volunteers participating across the country since launching in 2011. 

The importance of HedgeFest has even stretched across the globe as Timko mentioned two attendees flying in from Mexico for the event.  

“We’ll share a laugh, because indeed, how many hedgehog-themed festivals or parties have you been to?” said Timko. “I think it’s the feel-good story we all need at the moment.” 

More information can be found on the event’s Instagram page. Entrance fee is a £7 donation on the door and opens at 12.00pm. 

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