Words, laughs and tunes at Hackney’s new ONE2 Festival

PUBLISHED: 08:00 25 April 2017

Nick Moran in 82, which is being screened at ONE2 festival

Nick Moran in 82, which is being screened at ONE2 festival


STEFANIA SARUBBA talks to the co-founder of a new arts festival in London Fields celebrating every aspect of human creativity

Music, poetry, comedy, debate and cinema all come under the same roof at a 12-day arts festival in Hackney next month.

Starting on May 12, at The Taproom and Brewhouse in London Fields, the ONE2 Festival bills istelf as a “celebration of human creativity” bringing together all artistic disciplines under one umbrella.

“We’ve got everything that we could think of in terms of arts,” explains co-organiser Douglas Karson. “This is a huge project! If you include the members of the band, we have 140 people so far. We’re excited to provide an arts festival that will add value not just to the community, but also to the artist involved,” he says.

“Those are the people who’ve always loved and worked in the arts. We’re doing this without paying anybody upfront since everybody who’s involved believes in this concept.”

Karson and fellow organisers, Athina Barka and Dmitrious Astrantinis, have been working on the festival since last August. The trio are co-founders of Diversity of Unit, which creates and promotes arts events.

Each is taking care of a different aspect, but the original concept was inspired by visual artist Barka.

“It was Athina’s idea in the first place. She wanted a place where artists could gather together outside the establishment,” says Karson, who hopes the event will raise money for refugee charity Care International.

“As it’s our first year, we’re making sure to get the artists and then have something to approach the charity with.

“We chose Hackney as it’s a vibrant place with a lot of growth that wants people like us to be there. It’s helpful and affordable,” says Karson. “We really like the brewery because it’s close to London Fields. We’d like the festival to become permanent, so that would be an easy transition to be in the brewery for two or three years and then move to a stage outside.”

“We are offering events of the highest quality. Every artist is established in their field.”

The line-up includes award-winning comedian Tony Law, who headlines the stand-up comedy night. While Cabaret Rouge appear on the opening evening, film. Other events include screenings and Q+A sessions.

“This festival is going to be amazing,” he adds.

A clearly ambitious project, the ONE2 Festival may well be the beginning of something.

“The title is basic, it’s not super hard to remember and we really like the ‘1-2’ combo. It feels like the ongoing process of putting one foot in front of the other.”

ONE2 festival runs May 12-24 at The Taproom and Brewhouse E8.


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