Britain’s ‘third hippest street’ gets ready to party this weekend

Creative mayhem set to be unleashed on the site of a former monastery and birthplace of the Liberal Party.

Erupting like a dissident school boy from the depths of Finsbury, this weekend’s second annual Whitecross Street Party is a two-day celebration of the maverick spirit for which the area is well-known.

Recently named the third hippest street in Britain by Google, Whitecross Street’s daily food market make it a lunchtime favourite for many.

But dating back to 1603, the street is the former site of a monastery, the birthplace of the Liberal Party and has a long history of off-kilter politics.

This subtitle of this weekend’s carnival, Rise Of The Non-Conformists, gives a clue that the organisers are keen to keep this sprit alive - especially as they have apparently booked some of the world’s most creative pranksters and musical mischief makers.


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On Saturday and Sunday (July 23-24), the rooftops and walls of the street will be transformed into an enormous outdoor gallery, with musicians playing on the pavements, face-painting, fun gardening (is there any other kind?) and general creative mayhem.

Particular highlights include the Trans-Siberian Marching Band, international food stalls and the remote control bollards.

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Mark Bracegirdle, one of the organisers of the project, said: “The area has an unusual history, things like the non-conformist cemetery nearby where William Blake is buried and now a lot of artists live in the area, so we wanted to pick up on that. We liked the idea of non-conformity.

“It will be an artistic fiesta. People can walk along and enjoy the exhibitions and we will have a lot of street music, marching bands, local groups like the St Luke’s Community Choir and the EC1 Music Project and an eight piece brass band.

“Plus there will be a sound system controlled by kids, dancing workshops and a fire engine.

“It’s a real grass roots community effort. Plus, we have held it over two days, so if it rains one day hopefully the other will be fine.“

Mark is also artistic director of homeless charity SHP, and artwork by some of their clients will be on display at the street party.

He said: “We are trying to ensure that people who are socially isolated get involved in the local community in a positive way. Hopefully together we can develop and create something beautiful.”

And if you need any more encouragement to pop along at the weekend, Mark has it in spades. “We were recently named the third hippest street in the UK by Google,” he said.

“We were the only place in London to be a nominated finalist. By my reckoning, that makes us the coolest street in the capital, and I can’t help but think last year’s party had a bearing on that.”

To find out more visit www.wxstreetparty.co.uk

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