12,000 at Croydon’s biggest food festival – Mayor & traders call for more like it

Thousands of people celebrated “Croydon at its best” at the 6th annual Croydon Food and Music Festival in association with Leon House in South End on Sunday, June 25.

Over 12,000 people enjoyed dining alfresco and sampling cuisine from around the world while listening to top class bands. And as visitors and traders alike voted the 2017 event yet another success, there were calls to hold it more than once a year.

“The food and music festival has yet again been an amazing, wonderful and free day out – it is Croydon at its best,” said the Mayor of Croydon Councillor Toni Letts, who opened the festival.

“It showcases our great restaurants and eating establishments in south Croydon, and we need more events like it.  Croydon is changing – it’s become the place to live and for businesses to be. We are going to have 9,000 new workers in Croydon soon and they’ll want events like this where they can relax, have fun and bring the family.”

And street food trader and festival regular David Barnini of Italian fresh pasta favourites, Imbert (pictured right) agreed, adding: “This festival is amazing and should be held twice a year, not just once a year. We love to come here because we are always so busy – my staff haven’t stopped all day. It’s been great.”

Staged by the South Croydon Business Association (SCBA) the festival brings together local restaurants as well as streets food traders who set up stalls along the length of South End, which was closed to traffic. Two stages hosted live music, including bands Katie Hurt and the Healers and Asif Outlaws, from the Scream Lounge, who have professional music studios in the heart of the Restaurant Quarter.

“We’ve put on one of the biggest food festivals Croydon has ever seen and we’ve added more music and the bands this year as well,” said Peter Bagatti of Bagattis Restaurant and the South Croydon Business Association(pictured below right, with Mayor Toni Letts and SCBA chair Waseem Sherwani) .
“It’s been a fantastic day – the weather held up for us and thousands of people came out to enjoy themselves. It’s been a great advert for Croydon and for this community.”

It was a great day for the food traders too, with festival favourites Jam ‘N’ Jerk queued out solidly the whole afternoon, while many like Brown Sugar Dumplings and Urban Smoothie Bikes sold out.

“It’s gone brilliantly, we have been non-stop all day,” said Jam ‘N’ Jerk’s Robert Reid (pictured above, left). “Croydon is our hometown and we are always proud to be here at the festival, which is brilliantly organised.”

And Winston Facey of The Old Fashioned Chef said he was amazed at the numbers of people who came along. He said: “It’s been really excellent, the number of people who turned out was unbelievable.”

While Joanne Lennon of Croydon company Just Beautiful Cupcakes, who baked up until midnight the night before, said: “It’s our fourth year here and it always very busy with lots of happy people ready to buy cupcakes. We have customers who come back every year to see us.”

Alison Kenna who came along with her three children said: “We live locally and it’s our first time here, but I would definitely recommend it – it’s been really, really good – the food and music have been terrific and the kids have had a ball.”

South Croydon resident Ben Speller added: “I think this sort of thing is wonderful for Croydon. It’s a lovely atmosphere and it brings the community together which is a positive thing.”

The South Croydon Business Association thanked everyone who supported the event, including the visitors, the traders and the sponsors. The iconic, 21 storey Leon House, currently being redeveloped to create 263 luxury flats in the Restaurant Quarter, was headline sponsor. Other sponsors included Bagattis Restaurant, Scream Lounge, London Borough of Croydon, The Croydon Partnership, Quantum Homes, LNOCP, Keg & Grill, and Bryden Johnson. The event was managed by White Label.

SCBA chairman Waseem Sherwani, whose own restaurant Yumn Brasserie was kept busy baking desserts as they sold out of one dish after another, added: “It was wonderful to see the community pull together to make this year’s festival such a happy event. I want to thank the sponsors and the organisers at White Label for an amazing effort in making the festival a great success yet again.”