August 18, 2019

London’s urban culture festival @Streetfest smashes it again

Streetfest moved to Tobacco Dock this year but kept the same combination of urban arts and fun as last year. The new location means that most events are now under cover, which surprisingly wasn’t necessary as Bank Holiday Sunday was the balmiest day of the year. Dance, sports, art, music and sun – visitors had a enjoyable day out in East London.

Over 40 street artists were painting in the sunlight, including Don, Himbad, Lost Souls and Kaes. bSupreme curated some impressive dance battles demonstrating amazing skills and flexibility, interspersed with displays from crews such as Company B and Parkour Dance. Music came from the unsigned stage, Red Bull Soundvan and Adidas stage, with artists and DJs performing all day including Age of Luna, Hannah Faith and Charlotte Brimner.

Outside the half-pipe allowed skaters and skateboarders to show off their moves whilst a BMX demo from Kyle Forte and his team demonstrated that man’s struggle against the laws of gravity continues. Spoken word artists are also given a stage, including Hackney resident James Massiah and his political poems.

There’s some commercialism creeping in – the electronic graffiti wall was no longer freestyle, but allowed people to colour in a trainer. One room had artists working to a brief where their work had to be inspired by a pair of Adidas trainers – that were displayed like fine art sculptures.

If you wanted to learn to dance or beatbox, there were lessons with UK champions sharing the knowledge in fun workshops. There was also street food, face painting and the latest fashions from local labels, even live tattooing from Paperchase Ink. This was painfully fascinating. Scrolling through your phone seems to be the only way to cope.

Streetfest is inclusive, with artists mingling with the crowd after their sets. No one flies in by helicopter with an entourage and anyone can talk to the musicians and artists. Much of the artwork produced over the day is impressive and the effort involved in creation is eye-opening.

Streetfest has found an excellent home at Tobacco Dock. Bring on next year as soon as possible.

Recommended.

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