We speak with SouthWestFest Festival Chair Jane Buttigieg ahead of this year’s festival fortnight which commences Friday 27 June….
What is the SouthWestFest?
The summer party starts in SW1 with the 10th Anniversary of SouthWestFest! Festival Fortnight will celebrate all the great creative and community work taking place in this unique part of London.
Festivities start in style on Friday 27 June with a stunning line-up for Pimlico Proms. Kew Wind Orchestra will be joined by international cabaret sensation Barb Jungr plus special guests Urban Voices Collective who performed at London 2012 Olympic Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies. The next day, Saturday 28 June the Carnival Parade takes to the streets of SW1 with the theme Musicals, followed by the big Gala Day. The Gala offers activities for all ages in St George’s Square Garden, including cooking demonstrations by chefs from The Cinnamon Club, Moo and Dolphin Square, animals from Vauxhall City Farm, a Silent Disco and performances from Jimmy Moore, The London Violin Orchestra, and DreamArts.
Inflatable fun returns with It’s A Knockout. If you’re an aspiring writer or artist take part in ourStories of SW1 creative writing and photography workshops and enter our exhibition at The Abbey Centre. There will be family fun at the Mad Hatters Teaparty in Millbank Gardens on Sunday 6 July, and Tate Britain has a Make It weekend over the 5 and 6 July. There will be Cheerleading taster workshops in Churchill Gardens, an outdoor performance of Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well and the party climaxes with the Festival Comedy Night at St James Theatre on Monday 14 July.
There is something for everyone who lives, works and studies in south Westminster. Make this an anniversary to remember, join in and enjoy your community!
How did the SouthWestFest start?
The idea for the SouthWestFest started 11 years ago when we realised what wonderful things people and groups were doing and we wanted to celebrate our wonderful community. So with the help of South West Renewal partnership, housing, charity groups and the local community the Festival was born. How did you become chair? I was chosen to be the chair because I was local was lucky enough to have the template from the old Pimlico festival which was held in the 70’s. The first being held where the Queen Mothers car park is now, which was just a derelict area. It was the Pimlico neighbourhood centre and the Pimlico Family workshop who staged it, and all the local estates had to make a float to take part in the parade. The festival has gone from strength to strength and this is because of the commitment from all who live and work in the area. This is my last Year as chair and I would like to thank Graham Whitlock for all his hard work as Director as it has been great working with him, the trustess for all their hard work – sometimes on the sea of confusion, and the local community for making it worthwhile.
This is the 10th anniversary of the festival, what do you think will be the highlights of this year’s event?
My highlight would be the Proms which happens on the Friday before the gala day, this event promises to be lots of fun for all ages. Guests bring their picnic and listen to some wonderful music. We finally have our own pyrotechnic which has always been a wish list for me, and to top it all they have finally asked me to sing this year. Is there something for all the family at SouthWestFest? Absolutely, this festival is held by the community for the whole community. All the acts and people involved either live or work in the area and it is a place where everyone gets a chance to showcase their talents and activities. We plan all year round to cater for all ages. The Mad Hatters tea party is a brilliant example of family fun. It will take place in the Milbank Gardens; we will be transforming the park into a world of fun and fantasy. We will be painting the roses red, mixing up the world of normality and introducing you to the characters from the world of Alice in Wonderland.
Dolphin Square is sponsoring Its a Knockout this year, can you tell us more about it? This year sees the return of “It’s a knock out” which if you were unable to see it or take part two years ago you missed something truly amazing. It was so funny and brilliant to watch. So it is back once again this year in St George’s Square Gardens