On the last Saturday in September, CoolTan Arts attended Walworth Festival at the new Elephant Park. The event was the fourth and final summer festival organised by the Walworth Society, for the purpose of promoting the heritage, creativity and diversity of the Walworth area.
Elizabeth, Gary, Aaron, Saffron, Jeff, Charlie and Peter all helped to showcase CoolTan’s poetry, photographs, paintings, postcards and other merchandise, which proved very popular. With its bright red stall near the entrance, CoolTan attracted a constant stream of intrigued passers-by, including Southwark’s new Mayor, Charlie Smith, who posed for a photograph with our volunteers.
As well as the CoolTan tent, there were local beekeepers, potters, gardeners providing advice on growing organic food, masseuses, London Animal Hospital and a variety of food and goods vendors. The main stage hosted an exciting array of singers and dazzling Latin American dance acts, a powerful reminder of the 150 Latin American and migrant and ethnic businesses in Elephant & Castle. The festival also coincided with Amigo Month, five weeks celebrating the UK’s five million Spanish and Portuguese speakers.
Regeneration was a theme talked about by many of the stall owners, with the area’s new developments receiving a balance of positive and cautious remarks. The festival itself had been regenerated, ending the near forty-year absence of the old Walworth Festival, which had been a regular feature in the calendar up until the early 1980s.
The revived festival was well-attended and despite the blustery weather, CoolTan enjoyed sharing their creative talents with the local attendees and communicating awareness. The crew can now get back to creating even more of the inspiring art that was displayed and look forward to celebrating it within the community.