Ambition Festival is over and has proved that Croydon is open for business when it comes to music, dance and comedy.
The town was taken over for four days and the thousands who attended were spoilt for choice with a fantastic range of performances, installations and activities. Dozens of events in venues and open spaces drew large crowds and, despite the bad weather on Friday and Sunday, even the outdoor stages’ schedules continued largely as planned.
Supplementing established venues such as Fairfield, the Minster proved to be a spectacular spot for live music of all types; and over at Ruskin Square, the newly installed beach at Platform rocked with live hip-hop to a delighted crowd late into Saturday night.
Tucked away at the back of Matthews Yard, in Exchange Square, the rehearsal and performance space was packed with a capacity crowd enjoying yet more live music.
Outside, The Queens Gardens’ new bandstand stage, situated on the former fountain, proved to be a great focus of attention with a range of bands and solo acts providing great music. Across the road, the Mint Walk steps of council headquarters Bernard Weatherill House became a favourite with crowds – especially on Sunday as the covered spot offered festival-goers shelter from the rain while being entertained by top-quality bands.
The Blundabus – commissioned by the festival – was equally popular, and will be missed now it has trundled off on its way to the Edinburgh Fringe. While in town it hosted a range of top comedians, as well as debuting as a micro-music venue, and its popularity has ensured it will return later in the year.
With London facing a crisis in live music as venues close on an increasingly regular basis, Croydon showed it has the potential to reverse that trend.
“Croydon has been a fantastic place to be this summer, with all manner of events and attractions – the Pearl Izumi cycle race, the various district-centre festivals, and the Ping! table tennis event being just a few.
“Ambition 2015 had a lovely feel to it, with so many things going on, from the host of live bands and the special Croydon Youth Theatre Organisation production, to the International Playwriting Festival, and Soul II Soul and Tinariwen at Fairfield, to mention just a tiny part of the fantastic line-up.
“But this is just a start; we have real ambition for Croydon, and its cultural offer is key to how we regenerate our borough and bring more jobs and more opportunities to residents.”
For Ambition photos go to https://m.flickr.com/#/photos/98368930@N06/sets/72157655884282788/