Ambition – Croydon to host a new festival on the fringe of London

By - Thursday 18th December, 2014

The centre of Croydon will burst into life next July as a major new festival, Ambition, takes over the town for four days of music, comedy, theatre, spoken word, dance and art. 

Image by Croydon Council, used with permission.

Release begins: The festival, running from 23 to 26 July, will be funded by the council but is to be largely curated and programmed by a diverse range of promoters and arts groups.

Alongside the ticketed parts of the programme, organisers promise some really special, secret, intimate performances in unusual locations, including rooftops or inside old and disused buildings around the edges of the town centre. As well as this, the two main nearby churches, Croydon Minster and St Michael’s, will play host to a series of unique gigs in spectacular settings.

There will be other free-entry performances and activities in open spaces and smaller venues throughout the town. These will feature activities for families as well as some less well-known performers who are being hand-picked for talent and originality.

The festival is welcoming approaches from other music and arts organisations with ideas about how they could take over a stage or venue for a day – or even the whole weekend.

Already on board are dub and reggae innovators Ariwa Sounds, street performance champions Busk in London, comedy experts Heroes of Fringe, specialist band booking agency GastroPub Live, spoken word promoter BoxedIn, and local live music club night, Stand.

Headline acts will be announced in the spring, when a limited number of discounted early-bird weekend wristbands will be available. One-day and single-event tickets will also be on sale closer to the event.

Councillor Timothy Godfrey, who has campaigned for several years to see a major festival return to the south London borough, said: “We chose Ambition as the name for this festival because it’s a word which conjures up a sense of dreams, aspirations, drive and commitment. Every successful artist has these qualities – and they’re also shared by us as a borough. Croydon is poised to take centre stage right now with more than £5bn expected to be invested in new offices, homes and retail space over the next few years.

“This festival celebrates that fact. It is a great way of getting people to change the way they think about the town.

“I also hope we get a full cross-section of the arts scene represented by offering these curation opportunities. We’d really love to see proposals from people who can showcase the cultural diversity of the many nationalities which make London such a vibrant place to live.”

One early booking for the festival is a student from the nearby Brit School, multi-award winning singer/songwriter, Natalie Shay. Natalie has been the Youth Category winner for the Londonwide ‘Gigs’ competitions in 2012 and 2014, and is an emerging star with a bright future. She said: “It’s great to be asked to play at Ambition Festival – Croydon has some fantastic venues just crying out for more to be done with them. This is a brilliant opportunity for bands and music fans to try out some spaces which deserve to be used more often.”

More information and contact details for the event can be found at

Release ends.

Release provider: Croydon Council.



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  • Stephen Giles

    It would be nice to see English Folk Music represented at the festival.