Croydon’s bid to be London’s first ‘Borough of Culture’ has been delivered to the Mayor of London and, if successful, promises a huge range of new festivals and events for 2019.
With the title and the £1.1million that comes with it, Croydon has committed to staging over twenty new events and projects. These would be supplemented by many more which would be funded both from the award itself and also from other sponsorship and support that has already been pledged. In total it is expected that well over £2.5million would be available throughout the year.
The announcement of which borough will take the award will be made in February 2018, and, between now and the end of judging, local people are being asked to keep voting on-line and showing their support on social media using the hashtag #Croydon2019.
In an unofficial on-line ITV ‘people’s poll’ Croydon is one of the two front-runners for the prize, and with a single click readers can help ‘back the bid’. A link to the voting site is available at www.Croydon2019.London.
“Scores of local arts groups have been involved in putting this proposal together, and we’ve the backing of huge numbers of people and businesses across the borough. What we need now is for everyone to get behind the final push to persuade the Mayor of London that Croydon has the passion and drive to use the London Borough of Culture title and the money that comes with it to make a real and lasting change. It’s not just about what happens in the year itself, it’s about how that year changes people’s perceptions of Croydon and helps us build and sustain a solid cultural foundation that we can build on in years to come.”
Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport
Regardless of whether or not Croydon takes the first prize, 2019 still promises to be an exciting year as the £30million refurbishment of the Fairfield Halls is completed and the revitalised venue opens its doors once again. However, should the council take the title, a major part of the venue’s first year would include ‘Loyle’s House’ – a three-day event involving local Mercury Prize nominee, Loyle Carner, working with young people from across the borough.
As well as this, a detailed list of new events has been submitted as part of the bid, including, amongst many others, streets across the borough being brought to life with paint jams and block parties on every corner during Rise Gallery’s proposed international UpRISEing festival. By the end of the festival Croydon would be the proud home to the largest collection of permanent street art in the UK, with 10 new murals over 100 feet high and 50 smaller commissions on the cards. Croydon Tech City have also promised to provide augmented reality technology to bring the collection to life.
In Wandle Park a new festival of food and music – Jerk & Jollof – is planned to celebrate the sounds, styles, and tastes of African and Caribbean diaspora cultures. Food and demos from top UK, African and Caribbean chefs would be presented alongside 10 new commissions exploring contemporary culture and identity from collectives and artists including Urbanation BBOY and Yursa Warsame.
Throughout the year the council’s Cultural Development Fund will continue to support Croydon’s cultural sector with a new £100k fund, however, a new Creative Neighbourhoods Fund would also be set up to distribute an additional £500k and all decisions on these funds will be taken by panels of local people working in partnership with organisations including the CVA, BME Forum, and the Asian Resource Centre.
Croydon’s 2019 ‘Borough of Culture’ celebrations are set to launch and finish in light with amazing installations and associated performances. These will be part of a three-year partnership between the London Lumiere Festival and Croydon, which starts in January next year in Thornton Heath, led by local arts partnership CR7.