Forman & Son MD Lance Forman wants Hackney WickED festival saved


- Credit: Archant

We are located in the heart of Hackney Wick and Fish Island, on the western side of the Olympic Park and in the heart of what is often described as the densest concentration of artist studios in Europe.

Whilst the east of the QE2 Park, has Westfield and all the big brands that go with it, and will soon have the new V&A, Smithsonian, UCL campus and so on – Olympicopolis, as Mayor Boris has named it – Hackney Wick is more of the urban cultural quarter, the Rive Gauche if you will, on the banks of the River Lea.

Each year for the last eight years or so, on the last weekend of July, the artists have opened their doors to the public through a grass-roots festival called Hackney WickED. This has been a wonderful artistic carnival, drawing people internationally to the area, with as many as 50,000 over the weekend of the festival in recent years.

Unlike all the heavily stage-managed events in the Park, Hackney WickED is more laissez faire, real and creative in a way one might expect of a diverse art community.

It is sad, therefore, to see that the organisers of Hackney WickED have just announced that they will be pulling the plug on this wonderful event this summer. The organisation is non-profit making, managed by local volunteers, but without the public or private funding needed and with the ever increasing burdensome regulations and restrictions being placed on them by the authorities, which are costly to manage and implement, they simply don’t have the resources to continue.

This is one of London’s gems; it brings tourism to the area, will continue to flourish as the word is spread, and people return bringing their friends and family.

Hackney WickED has (and hopefully not, “had”) great ambitions for the area, community building, network for artists, putting Hackney Wick and Fish Island on the map for arts and creativity internationally, creating a cultural destination. In the name of art, culture and regeneration, let’s revive this before it’s too late.

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