Your invitation to be part of Croydon’s first festival of peace

By - Monday 10th July, 2017

We’re crowd-funding a peace celebration for Croydon next summer – who wants to be part of it?

Image by Croydon Festival of Peace, used with permission.

In June 2018, we’re inviting everyone in Croydon to be involved in a cross-cultural, cross-arts, interfaith celebration of peace. As the world remembers the centenary of the end of the First World War, we can make a powerful, colourful, vibrant declaration of peace.

In the words of Father John Pritchard of St John the Evangelist church, Upper Norwood: “When we talk about peace, we have to talk about it in a way that we believe that it’s achievable, that it can be a real and tangible thing in our age. We have to be convinced that it’s possible and in being convinced, see it coming to some sort of permanent flourishing in our societies”.

If peace is to be possible, we must affirm it, we must declare it and we must celebrate it. Peace is not an utopian dream – it is, I believe, the baseline of our existence. We notice peace most when it is gone – when violent incidents happen or our body becomes unwell, then we notice peace has been disrupted. When we are in a state of rest, peace is easy, accessible and possible. It is as natural as a long sleep, a deep breath or a soak in the bath.

Croydon continually seeks out ways to come together

Every day, we all make simple choices which help our streets and communities become safer, happier, peaceful places, whether that’s smiling at someone on the bus, thanking those who serve us in shops or taking care of friends and family. Peace is possible, it’s within us and when we extend towards others peacefully, we help create a more peaceful world for everyone.

Whilst of course as a community we face many challenges here in Croydon, including violence, knife crime and poverty, we have also continually sought out ways to come together. Since the riots in 2011, pioneering arts, community and tech initiatives such as Matthews Yard, Croydon Tech City, Knives Not Lives and RISE Gallery to name but a few, have helped grow and change the narrative around Croydon. These projects are made possible by the support, goodwill and commitment of this community. I believe our diversity is our strength and that we can create a celebration of peace which includes everyone and inspires people around the world.

We must also remember to celebrate the multitude of daily actions which help keep the peace, from the people who clean our streets to those who save lives everyday in hospitals. Often these actions and the everyday heroes and heroines in our communities go unsung. So next June, we want to create a week-long celebration where everyone can dedicate their events and activities to peace.

“Declare it. Just the same way we declare war. That is how we will have peace – we just need to declare it” – John Lennon

I believe that music has a significant role to play in helping build peaceful communities. When we sing and play music together, we remember our shared humanity in a powerfully visceral way. We move, breathe and sound together in rhythm and harmony. We tune into the shared beating of our hearts and the tapping of our feet. We merge ourselves in a shared endeavour and enjoy a peaceful connection. Time and time again, I see people of all ages and backgrounds meeting in harmony to sing in choirs. Peace is real and peace is possible – and it sounds good!

Croydon’s resident chamber orchestra, the London Mozart Players, is commissioning an anthem of peace – a modern-day anthem created by a classical composer which can be played, rapped, sung, remixed or sampled by musicians of all abilities, ages, genres and backgrounds. The UK’s longest running chamber orchestra, LMP has a longstanding commitment to making music accessible to audiences from tiny babies to people in care in their twilight years. Since the closure of Croydon’s Fairfield Halls for renovation, the orchestra has been nestled in the heart of the community at St John The Evangelist Upper Norwood and has embarked on this summer’s highly successful and imaginative #LMPOnTheMove programme playing in festivals, libraries and community hubs which will culminate in a finale with Shift K3Y at Croydon’s Boxpark in Dingwall Road on Wednesday 19th July.

As part of its Harmony and Conflict series, LMP has commissioned this special anthem for peace and will be inviting everyone to get involved in community performances next year at Croydon’s first festival of peace. The piece will tour nationally and internationally, taking this special message around the globe – and you can be part of it right from the start!

“Declare it”, said John Lennon. “Just the same way we declare war. That is how we will have peace – we just need to declare it”. Help us sing, play, dance and declare peace. As we sing, dance, play and smile peacefully we declare that is it so, that is possible, that it is everyday, that it can be the foundation of the shared life that connects us all.

You can help support the festival and anthem for peace by pledging from as little as £2 (less than the cost of a cup of coffee) at our joint crowdfunder by clicking here.

Join the Chorus of Peace. You can also join the programme by dedicating your event, concert, class, choir rehearsal, faith meeting, class, sports practice, group, etc. to peace during the week of 16th-23rd June 2018.

To register your interest please email: .

Katie Rose

Katie Rose

Katie Rose - Singer, Composer, Conductor, Writer - Katie loves singing and helping people sing. Described by the Guardian as a 'fine singer' and by fRoots magazine as an 'eye (and ear) opener,' she has released three albums. Committed to creating uplifting, inclusive experiences of singing, Katie has led singing sessions in hospitals, hospices, festivals and community choirs across London. Convinced of the power of music to make waves in the world she has conducted mass choral events for Sing for Water and is directing Croydon's first Festival of Peace 2018. For more information visit

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