Walthamstow Garden Party 2016

In Uncategorized on July 25, 2016 at 9:56 pm

When I started this blog during a period of unemployment I intended it to be a look into the stranger side of the stow. Well, I never made it to the fetish clubs and here I am writing up another Garden Party. Not really much in the way of rock n’ roll investigative journalism. Sorry.

But it does give me a place to talk about the fun, neat stuff we do have!

So there has been a lot of discussion online about the queuing on Saturday. I arrived with my partner and her elderly parents at 12:05 as we had scooched in quickly at this time last year. We arrived to find a long queue had already formed and joined it half way down Winns Terrace. It sat still for ages. Fortunately that whole stretch is shaded by trees in Lloyd Park so we were comfortable on a very hot day and my missus was quite happily catching Pokemon. Eventually we got moving and entered the park at 1PM. There was an odd segregation of families with prams/pushchairs and the rest. The reason soon became evident with the bag search and body scan at the entrance. We were swiped all over with a metal detector; a sad sign of the times. I suspect the sniffer dog was a bit overkill. But then we finally got in!


So by this point were were ready for lunch and wanted to get fed before the inevitable massive lines. My partner and I went for Peruvian burgers; which only really differed from regular burgers by virtue of the crunchy, vermicelli like fried potato. They were nice and and the in laws enjoyed their sandwiches.

Fuelled we progressed to some of the stalls. Rather shockingly this year while we were given a map at the entrance there was no listings of timed events! According to the Barbican stall the listing was available online or we could photo their lamianted hand made one. Maybe a budget cut?


The poetry tent

So we had a wander around South Field. The poetry tent seemed well attended and the blackboard outside listed a full day of performances. There was a ‘comedic’ trampoline act (sarcastic quotes intended). I took the opportunity to duck into the Wildcard tent to grab a pint of King of Hearts while they were quiet; £5.50 a pint feels like a festival price, but 50p of that does go to the Garden Party fund for next year.

Settling on the grassy knoll (sadly uncut on the sides; was such a nice perch last year for so many) we watched a Tai Chi group perform. Then the Walthamstow Acoustic Massive set up and launched into their cover of Hotel California. Sadly at this point my partner and parents had enough of the sun and voted to leave meaning I had to miss the WAM’s cover of ELO’s ‘Mr Blue Sky’, which was totally epic last year. Mind you, this year they were a bit smothered by the booming PA of the big tent a hundred meters away 😦



So off we wandered to the food tent, followed by the local groups tent. I had great chats with volunteers for the St James St and William Morris ward Big Local organisations which have both won £1 million development grants. As I live on the edge of the WM ward I’m really glad to hear of their work. St James St are already revamping shop fronts and interiors.

My partner wanted to look in the flower garden and we had a nice stroll through the flower beds failing to recognise any plants.

As we’d returned to near the entrance we took the opportunity to browse the arts and crafts tents (“The home of those who make an create”, y’know?) and checked out the Thams tile installation which was being built. It seems like visitors can make a tile using artefacts found along the Thames. It was a nice piece, I thought.


The Thames installation in the front garden

At this point we gave up and retreated to Peaky Blenders for tea and coffee and a much shorter queue than the beer tents. But the weather had taken it’s toll on the in laws and they bid us good day.

In an effort to see some music we went to the big main Barbican tent where a band consisting of two drummers and a keyboard player were playing some sort of dance music (remember, I can’t tell you who they are, no listing). The keyboard player at the front was trying to be a bit of a poser, but that fails unless you are Rick Wakeman. Anyway, it was a all a bit samey so we headed to the dance tent where my other half had a bit of a rave reliving her yoof. I sat on a bench and wrote my notes for this review; my yoof was all metal and mosh pits.

I have to wonder at the demographic mix; There seemed to be lots of young families, hipsters and, unlike the Stoneydown park festival, teenagers. With the event appearing in Time Out and being tweeted by Eurostar it was widely publicised. There were still long queues visible outside. Is is choking on its own success?

So, more food. We queued for jerk chicken. They were out of peas and rice but did us plain rice with a dumpling. They also had no soft drinks left. Hopefully that was indicative of all the stalls having a prosperous day.

At which point we felt worn out by a long afternoon in the sun. We left and meandered home, feeling good. Very well done to all involved in running the event!

  1. The Garden Party this year was really good. My family and I created good memories at this place. I hope next year will be even more fun.

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