2-4 August 2014
By Dieneke Ferguson
If you have seen or read Alice in Wonderland, that is how the Hackney WickED Festival felt. At times you would not know what is real and what is imaginary, but it really didn’t matter. It is a visit to enjoy and savour.
The description of the Hackney WickED festival is that it is as much about the celebration of Art as it is about preserving its creative community – their own ‘legacy’ shaped by the many artists who have lived and worked there.
The Festival organisers wrote that ‘ after momentarily handing the baton to the Olympics the Festival returned in 2013, resolutely akin to the cockroach in ‘an apocalyptic world where only the artists survived’, Run Riot 2010.
The map therefore has pictures of different cockroaches representing different sections of Hackney Wick.
When I decided to go this year and see the Hackney Wicked Festival, I didn’t know all of that. My main purpose was to visit one of the designers, stained glass artists Kate Baden Fuller, that has participated in Hidden Art events. I made the mistake of leaving too late and by the time I arrived at the Hackney Wick Overground Station it was very late and there was not much time left to see it all.
It seemed like at least half of the people in the full overground got off at the Hackney Wick station. We all descended on the street and there we all stood, not knowing what to do and where to go to. There were people all over, at food and drink stalls and you could see concentrations in other areas.
The area is still very industrial and run down. Industry is located next to often equally run-down buildings where the studios are located.
As there was so little time before the event closed I took the quickest route to Britannia Works where Kate Baden Fuller is located. Even so the streets were full with people visiting the studios, or the musical festivals. Many were dressed up whether in 60s style, or black dressed and with huge tatoos.
I also came across the most amazing bicycle bag, and being Dutch definitely my favourite.
Having arrived at Kate Baden Fuller’s studio it was so nice to see so many visit her studio and ask questions.
On my way back I took a rather more scenic route which took me past lots of graffiti, some of it old, some of it new and some of it in the process of being painted onto the buildings.
I loved the one saying Hashtags don’t save the world
And elsewhere they were still painting graffiti
Even the view from Hackney Wick towards the Olympic Stadium looked very colourful and in tune.
When I had time to read the information on the map which showed the huge variety of events taking place over the 3 days, I noticed that the Arts Council had commissioned site-specific works, which included a performance as well. There were music events, food areas, as well as performance and roaming areas as they were called.
It is definitely a festival that is worth longer than a couple of hours to take it all in.
I will be back in 2015.