A year ago, London shifted its focus east, to a remote strip of land near Stratford newly inhabited by shining stadiums and some of the world’s best athletes. Londoners joined people from around the world exploring the new park, unrecognisable from its industrialised past.
Now that the medals have all been given out and the crowds have gone home, the newly-christened Queen Elizabeth Park is opening its doors once again to Londoners with the first Open East Festival. Visitors have the chance to catch over a dozen live musical acts along the River Lea, including the Waterboys, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 and Amadou & Mariam. Attendees can also visit the newly redesigned Floating Cinema and take in a screening or hunt for a masterpiece at the Art Car Boot Fair.
It will be difficult to go hungry, with the Real Food Festival featuring international food vendors and the Banquet Over the Bridge allowing visitors to mingle over a communal meal. To complete the experience, the Ten Mile Beer Festival will offer beers which have all been sourced from within 10 miles of the Park.
Kids can play in the House of Fairy Tales or meet Joey from the National Theatre’s production of War Horse. Parents and children alike can also enjoy Charlie Dark’s hip-hop poetry and puppet show, aimed at entertaining all age groups.
Festival planners have ensured that, once again, there will be enough to attract everyone to Stratford to spend a few hours (or days!) exploring what the Queen Elizabeth Park has to offer. (Words: Barbara Cole)
The Open East Festival takes place on July 27-28. For more info, visit: www.queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk/events