Taking the Silk Road


Shelley Marsden takes a look at what’s in store at this Cricklewood Festival

All roads lead to Cricklewood next month, as the North West London borough gears up to host its second annual Silk Road Festival, from September 1-7.

Events over the week form part of a £1.67 million investment in Cricklewood through the Mayor of London’s Outer London Fund, a three-year initiative that hopes to help increase the vibrancy and growth of high streets across London.

Chair of CricklewoodTown Team Danny Maher said: “Cricklewood came out in full swing to support and enjoy last year’s festival and we hope this year will be even better. The festival is a key part of changing the way local people think about the town centre. We are set for another successful festival in September with a great line-up of events on offer.”

“We want to revitalise the area and improve the high street, bring more business there. Before this, there was no festival as part of the annual calendar, there wasn’t much going on in terms of community activities. We’re surrounded by festivals in Kilburn, Willesden and Notting Hill, so we decided to have one for ourselves!”

The Festival will include a host of arts and cultural nights at venues across the town centre, culminating in an outdoor event on Saturday, September 7.  It will also feature community stalls selling food and drinks, arts and crafts, interactive workshops, and children’s entertainment, with performers representing not only Ireland but other countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia – a multi-cultural event that reflects Cricklewood’s extraordinary diversity.

Organiser Rennie Gallagher said: “We put a call out for potential acts and got a great response – particularly from the Irish section of the community. Confirmed for the line-up are Irish contry band Professor Moriarty Shamrock Band, local Irish Dance School Aaron Crosby, Aaron Gallagher from Sharon Kelly’s trad band Tir Na Nog with some other young musicians – all under 16 and finally one of our headliners The Good, The Bad and The Ginger, one of the best trad bands on the circuit.”

The term ‘silk road’ captures the present day role of the centre as a commercial route into and out of London, and the festival aims to celebrate the local area’s creativity, connect the communities that live on the three sides of the town centre, as well as increase footfall in the area. Local businesses getting involved can highlight their products and services through special promotions on offer during the week.

Highlights to look out for during the week-long festival include the Cricklewood Cruise classic car show and road rally; alfresco performances; open air cinema screening; salsa dancing; a Cricklewood heritage tour; stand-up comedy and an open mic night.

The outdoor festival on Saturday 7 September, which takes place from noon to 6pm, will be held at three locations: the green outside B&Q (The Green Isle); outside the Bingo Hall (the Casbah); and Oaklands Road, off Cricklewood Broadway.

On that day, as well as a children’s musician, the return of the Maypole with a performance by local children and street theatre, there will be live music representing the area’s various cultures, from Irish folk to jazz to Middle Eastern. Topping it all off will be a headline performance from British pop group Red Box.

For more details check out www.cricklewood.net.

POP! Eighties stars Red Box will headline the festival’s outdoor day


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