The Stoke Newington Festival exposed

Preview by Paul Nelson

STOKE Newington Festival continues to grow into one of London's most diverse, community-based festivals, which last year attracted over 50,000 people.

This year heralds the inaugural directorship of Chris Westwood and it will run from Friday 14 - Sunday 23 June.

The Stoke Newington Festival exists with the two following key principles.

To commission and showcase the work of North and East London artists that is both high in quality and unusual, and takes place in non-conventional and local places, allowing spectators to have unexpected brushes with art.

To maintain a 40% focus in its programming, specifically encouraging and celebrating the wide range of people and groups that live and work in Stoke Newington, especially supporting the Turkish and Kurdish communities.

The Festival is also programmed to fully explore its multi-arts policy, programming everything from Shostakovich to skateboarding, providing audiences with a truly 'something-for-everyone' festival.

Highlights of this year's festival include All Live Sk8 +; a skateboarding festival and Hip Hop concert, relayed on huge plasma screens. Midsummer Night Dreams where Clissold Park will be beautifully lit and feature commissions including laser and light installations on the water, and a performance by the acclaimed Cinema Bizarre.

Further features include Word-On-The-Street, a literature day with a difference, including bedtime stories for kids and a late night ghost story session for adults, poetry slams and the longest letter in the world, in which people are invited to write in between two enormous chalk lines that will run down Church Street.

Throughout the Festival a lounge bar in the Assembly Rooms with featured DJs will run every night. In addition, a programme of evening gigs and concerts make up the series Sounds Like N16. The events will include The Pin Ball, a showcase for local bands incorporating vintage pinball and football tables; Global HeadFunk, a sprawling club night; classical concerts from young orchestra Flux and a circus/cabaret night organised by Continental Drifts.

The Stoke Newington Festival is funded by London Arts and Hackney Council and is supported by local businesses.