Looking to check out a family-friendly event of an eclectic mix of music, theatre, dance, circus, cinema, craft, design and poetry? Look no further than the Walthamstow Garden Party, a collective production of Waltham Forest, the Barbican and Create, now in its fourth year at Lloyd Park on Saturday and Sunday, the 15th and 16th of July. Headlined by reggae and ska founding fathers Toots and the Maytals, the festival—which is free—features a fantastic array of art and entertainment, including a sizeable slice of family-friendly fare.
The Art For All family area includes activities, games and entertainments such as Grow Wild, Lloyd Park Skate Jam and Drum Works. In the Kids’ Film Lounge, Kids On Screen celebrates children in cinema, with interactive mini-exhibitions, early examples of moving images, and a showing of classic and new clips of, yes, kids on screen. Children can create cinema trailers to be projected as well as soundtracks for silent movie moments. Under 5s can invent and build a world around them with Barbican Blocks, while Ready Steady GO! will invite young people to create, decorate and drive cardboard cars in an immersive musical theatre show.
Dance and circus performances and workshops will feature on the News From Nowhere stage, with local youth talent on display from Walthamstow Youth Circus along with professional artists Boy Blue Entertainment, as well as X7eaven Dance, whose performance includes audience participation.
The Earthly Paradise tent will showcase Barbican Young Poets, Young Songwriters and Waltham Forest Music Hub, among other young creatives. Plays written by pupils from primary schools in Waltham Forest as part of Soho Theatre Young Playwrights will also be featured, as well as comedy and performance extracts performed by the Soho Theatre Young Company.
Soho Theatre will also present a Storytelling Tour led by Amy Mason, previous writer-in-residence at Walthamstow Library, who will take guests on a creative journey around the park. On the Be Magnificent Craft Trail, family-friendly craft-making workshops put on by Create and the William Morris Gallery allow you to have a go at ceramics, woodwork, printmaking and textiles. Local crafts will also be featured from the E17 Designers Market.
There’s loads more for grownups as well, including DJs, a dance tent, local microbreweries and a bar; for the full festival rundown, visit the Walthamstow Garden Party website.