Finsbury street set to be transformed into massive outdoor gallery in community extravaganza

Street scene from the 2012 Whitecross Street Party NB this year's artworks are still being installed

Street scene from the 2012 Whitecross Street Party NB this year's artworks are still being installed - images will be available in the week leading up to the event - Credit: Archant

A giant open-air festival of free music, entertainment, mischievous art and family fun will take over a busy market street this weekend.

The Whitecross Street Party - The Rise of the Non-Conformists will see some 30 artists transform the walls and rooftops into an enormous outdoor gallery, with musicians and other entertainers lining the pavements for the community extravaganza, which is now in its fourth year.

Huge art installations have already started popping up in the Finsbury street – once named the hippest in Britain by Google – ahead of the event, which kicks off at noon on Saturday.

It’s set to build on the success of last year’s event which was one of Islington’s main Olympic projects.

Live music on Saturday includes a selection of acts presented by Soul Partizan, and Sunday will see performances by Lyrix Organix, LSO Community Choir, Key Changes, Barbican Drumheads and Hoop Driver.

Family entertainment includes drumming workshops, dancing, a kids zone with activities and classes, bouncy castle, face-painting, story-telling and sing-alongs.

Whitecross Street is famous for its busy street food market and some of its best-loved stalls will be selling food to party-goers.

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It has been put together by St Luke’s Community Centre and Trust, funded by the Arts Council, and is supported by Islington Council. It is curated by “co-disorganiser”, local artist Teddy Baden.

Cllr Janet Burgess, Islington Council’s executive member for health and wellbeing, said: “There’s something for everyone, from eye-catching art to incredible live music and activities for children - so come along and enjoy one of London’s most unusual and exciting free festivals.”

Keren Wiltshire, director of services at St Luke’s Community Centre and Trust, said: “We are thrilled to have worked with Teddy Baden organising the Whitecross Street Party and Exhibition from the very start. For us, it represents a very important chance for the local community to engage and participate with the arts and each other.

“St Luke’s would like to thank all of the funders, organisations, artists, entertainers and volunteers for helping to make this extraordinary event possible.”

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.

The event runs between noon and 6pm on Saturday and Sunday, and more information can be found at