25 Jun Record-breaking crowds for Croydon Food and Music Festival
A record-breaking crowd enjoyed this yearʼs Croydon Food and Music Festival, with attendance said to be boosted by Englandʼs World Cup victory over Panama.
The event, held in association with Leon House, attracted its biggest audience yet – more than 12,000 – to enjoy great entertainment along with fantastic food and drink from more than 90 stalls dotted around Croydonʼs South End.
Sunday’s festival marked the event’s seventh year in the borough.
Addressing the crowd, Mayor of Croydon, Councillor Bernadette Khan, said: “It demonstrates the face of Croydon. It brings communities together, it brings cultures together, it brings families together, and everybody is enjoying themselves; there are so many happy and smiling faces. Families, a collage of cultures, people enjoying each other’s company together.
“Thank you to the people who organised this event. This took energy, time, money and commitment. I think I would like one of these events every day – it is a fantastic statement about Croydon. It is the best borough to live in.”
Peter Bagatti, of the South Croydon Business Association and Bagatti’s restaurant in South Croydon, believed attendance was boosted by “the beautiful weather and England’s victory” as people came out to watch the 6-1 triumph on big screens in various venues.
He added: “I am proud to say this is now our seventh year of the Croydon Food & Music Festival. It has developed massively. We started in 2012, when we had 4,000 people. We have more than quadrupled the size of the festival, the amount of people and the amount of stalls that we get.
“A big thanks to our organisers. A massive thanks to Leon House, our headline sponsor, to Croydon Partnership, Quantum, Bryden Johnson, Bagattis, Tre Fratelli and our ward councillors.”
Emma Leahy from Leon House, which is delivering 263 luxury one and two bedroom flats in Croydon, also remarked on the festival’s growth
“There’s nothing like this in Croydon, there’s nothing this big. It attracts people from all around,” she said.
Mark Russell, of the Cronx Brewery, added: “Croydon Food Festival cements the borough as a place to go for great food and drink.”
Nanny Outars, a Guyanese roti eatery, made the move from Boxpark Croydon to take part in the event.
Founder Chris Hogan said: “This festival takes us back to our roots. We used to run market stalls pre-Boxpark, so this festival makes us feel really in touch with the local community.”
Fern Champion, who travelled to Croydon from Tooting for the festival, said: “It’s such a fun and vibrant atmosphere. I’m not from Croydon but coming out here and seeing what the town has to offer has been fantastic. This festival really helps to put Croydon on the map.”
As well as food, crowds were wowed by the incredible talent on the main stage and music from the Scream Lounge, and Croydon FM.
Croydon FM founder Clive Campbell, said: “The festival has been an opportunity for us to reach out to people. We’re a community-led station and so this is a way for us to engage with the people of Croydon. Look how many people are out here, how many cultures, it’s so mixed, it’s a great vibe. This is a true representation of Croydon.”
Croydon Partnership, responsible for bringing Westfield to South London, were on site to remind people they’re here to drive community improvements as well as form part of the town’s regeneration.
Certainly, community spirit was in abundance at the festival with Facebook user Eliya Khan-Shukla summing it up, saying: “Thank-you to the organisers of Croydon food festival, it indeed was a lovely day with a fantastic atmosphere for our community.”