Fun in the sun at Croydon Food and Music Festival 2018

By - Tuesday 3rd July, 2018

A really great vibe and a true representation of Croydon

Photo by Liz Sheppard-Jones, used with permission.

This yearʼs festival, on Sunday 24th June, may have coincided with Englandʼs World Cup game against Panama, but that still didnʼt stop the people of Croydon heading down to South End’s restaurant quarter to experience exquisite food from around the globe – as well as quality cocktails and amazing summertime vibes.

2018 marks Croydon Food and Music Festivalʼs seventh year in the borough, and it did not disappoint. Thronging crowds (the biggest that I ever remember seeing there) were treated to incredible menus from almost fifty stalls dotted down South End from Coombe Lane to Aberdeen Road.

Speaking on the importance of the event, newly installed Mayor of Croydon, Bernadette Khan, remarked on how “it demonstrates the face of Croydon. It brings communities together, it brings cultures together, it brings families together, and everybody is enjoying themselves. There are so many happy and smiling faces”.

Incredible offerings served up by a vast array of traders

Peter Bagatti, of Bagatti’s celebrated Italian joint, has been a key support of the festival from its inception. He’s proud to have helped to to cultivate an event that he feels “celebrates Croydon and its communities… the beautiful weather and of course the England football victory early in the afternoon helped to draw in people to Croydonʼs offerings”.

It’s also worth mentioning that there has never been a single incident or complaint about behaviour in the event’s seven-year history. Although Croydon sometimes struggles with a poor reputation, this event is a delight and does the town proud.

Photo by Liz Sheppard-Jones, used with permission.

So Croydonʼs appetites – and mine – were well and truly satisfied by the incredible offerings served up by the vast array of traders present at the day’s festivities. One such trader, Nanny Outar’s, is a favourite of mine, with its delicious roti wraps, so I was pleased to see that it had made the leap from its home in Boxpark by East Croydon Station to South End. “This festival takes us back to our roots”, the owner, Chris, commented. “We used to run market stalls pre-Boxpark, so this festival makes us feel really in touch with the local community.”

Just about every cuisine imaginable was on offer, but one of the stand-outs at this yearʼs festival came from Caribean caterers Jam N Jerk, whose authentic menu was forming long lines and leaving happy tummies. Another Croydon favourite of mine, Street Cocktails, was also on hand to shake up a storm to a fun-filled backing track of classic summer sounds. But forget your daiquiris and your margaritas – Street Cocktails serves up thirst-quenching drinks of a different order. How many cocktail bars do you know where they mix their rum with Um Bongo or Buckfast or coriander?

There was a host of incredible musical talent on the main stage as well as live music from the Scream Lounge and big beats from Croydon FM community radio. Commenting on the nearby crowd who had gathered to dance to their set, the founder, Clive Campbell, really captured the day when he said: “look how many people are out here, how many cultures. It’s so mixed, it’s a really great vibe. This is a true representation of Croydon”.

Lauren Furey

Lauren Furey

I was born in Croydon in 1988 and I've spent my life here, building friendships and experiences that have shaped me as a person. As a Croydon native, I have a big passion for local events, arts, history and culture... and the dearly departed Mexway. I now work as a freelance writer.

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  • Peter

    I agree – an excellent event. I do think there are some small changes that could be made to make it even better. Next year, get far more tables and chairs out there. People were looking for places to sit down. You could have supplied 200 chairs – not only would they have been filled but people would have settled and enjoyed the atmosphere. And given that it was at the same time as an England match, would a big screen have been too difficult to arrange. I would have loved to grab some of the amazing food and drinks and watch the match with follow Croydonites. And lastly, we need to get electriucity to the stalls. A couple were running generators. Not only does this create noise but it also pollutes.

  • Anne Giles

    Sad for us, because I am disabled and people with my disability are excluded from this event. Wheelchair users are able to attend. I am not. With a Blue Badge I would need to be able to park close by and then my limit for walking is 20 metres. My limit for standing is only a few minutes, so with no parking and no seating I would be really stuck.

  • Anne Giles

    Does anyone know who organises this festival?