Lewisham arts festival Brockley Max goes online

DreZone performing at Brockley Max in 2010. Pic: Chiara Ceccaoini

The nine-day local arts festival Brockley Max 2020 has gone online this week for the first time because of the lockdown.

The Brockley Max Festival has taken place across Brockley, Crofton Park, Honor Oak, and Ladywell since 2001. This year’s festival began on May 29 and will run to June 6 with daily streaming of live shows.

The community arts festival celebrated local creative talent. Music nights, poetry readings, art installations and all other forms of arts have featured in previous Brockley Max festivals.

Moira Tait, founder and organizer of the festival, told Eastlondonlines that the idea of hosting the festival online was only proposed last week, a few days before the festival was originally due to begin. They had initially postponed the event until September this year when the Government imposed the lockdown; it was later planned to cancel it on financial grounds.

Tait said: “Several people were saying to me that they can’t believe there’s no festival this year.” It brought her to the idea of presenting the festival online, so Tait started to contact event organizers and people on their mailing list, inviting people to send pictures and videos. They publicized artwork online and have organized online live concerts every night during the nine-day festival. “It is really down to local people.”

The online arts festival provided another opportunity for artists and musicians to be seen and heard during the pandemic. Local DJ the DreZone first performed on Brockley Max Festival in 2010. He joined in the festival again this year and along with local guitarist and singer Jim Carey Cornell, performed on the opening night streamed live on YouTube. Tait said: “Jim Carey Cornell played on the opening night. We were sitting and eating dinner. We can see the computer and hear him. It was lovely.”

“People are watching movies, listening to music, and doing creative work online, people come to realize how important arts are under the current circumstances,” Tait told ELL. “It is a very good time for the arts, and it is a very bad time for the arts. Some venues and theatres in the local areas are not able to survive.”

The online performances may return next year to cater for those who are not able to join the live shows.

You can check out the Brockley Max Festival daily shows on Twitter @BrockleyMax and its official website.

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