Saturday, 14 August 2021

The Saturday list #318 - The festivals of the Borough of Barnet - Past and Present

 The Borough of Barnet has a rich heritage of local festivals. This year may well be one of the best years for festivals in the history of the Borough, with the EU recovery fund supplying cash to Barnet Council to organise festivals across the Borough to help us get over the terrible covid pandemic. You can find out about these amazing events on the #DiscoverBarnetPresents page on the Barnet Website. The are major events in Burnt Oak, Edgware, East Finchley, Barnet and across the Borough. Many are free.  I've had teh pleasure of organising the music programme for the Edgware Community Carnival next week

Please come down and enjoy the fun. However this week we are looking at the various festivals that take place regularly in the Borough. 

1. The Finchley Carnival. This was the highlight of the year in the Borough, When Margaret Thatcher was MP for Finchley, she'd always put in an appearance. For some reason it fell out of favour with the powers that be in Barnet Council and no longer happens. There was a funfair, live music and a plethora of stalls. It took place in Victoria Park and there was a large parade through Finchley, with all manner of floats. 

2. Next up is the normally bi-annual Mill Hill Music Festival. This normally takes place every other year at various locations across Mill Hill. Highlights from former festivals include The BBC Elstree Concert Band, John Dankworth, Acker Bilk, The Polecats, Stacey Kent, Shir and of course my lot, The False Dots. As an organiser, I am increasingly confident that it will return next year. Here's a little reminder of festivals past. 

From the 2011 Indy night

And here is some excellent Klezmer music from the awesome Shir at The Mill Hill Synagogue from 2015

3. The Watling Festival. This was an annual event in Montrose Park, Burnt Oak for many years. Most locals loved the funfair, the candy floss and the music. My personal highlight was probably the 2007 appearance of Huw Lloyd Langton of Hawkwind at the festival.

4. Another amazing festival is the Barnet Summer Soulstice festival. One of the most innovative local festivals, they went virtual for 2021. We look forward to them returning in 2022. They raise money for Cherry Lodge Cancer Care. Follow them on Twitter for updates. Click on the button below to watch


Summer Soulstice 2016 - Extended Version from Summer Soulstice UK on Vimeo.

5. The East Barnet Festival. This is a wonderful festival. There is always a great line up of music and other things to do.

6. The North Finchley Festival. The brainchild of Helen Michael from Cafe Buzz and Senan Sexton at the Bohemia, the North Finchley Festival was due to happen again in 2020, however Covid got in the way. we hope it returns. Two days of music at venues across North Finchley. 

7. The Graham Park Festival. This has been going on for a very long time. I had the pleasure of playing at the Festival twice in the 1980's as this tweet. There was talk of putting something on this year. Not quite sure if it is going ahead, watch this space

8. MetalBrew. This was a local Metal festival put on by a bunch of young metal heads. A great opportunity for the local rock community to get together and for local bands to strut their stuff.  Follow them on Facebook to keep abreast of their plans

9. The East Finchley Festival. One of our local festivals that we are delighted is happening this year is the East Finchley Festival.

10. Cricklewood Festival. One of my favourite festivals was the Cricklewood Festival. Our company got involved supplying sound systems. It really was a lovely community event. I do hope it returns next year.


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