Descend into the warren of tunnels and chambers beneath Waterloo station right now, and you'll emerge into a Carrollesque wonderland, where burlesque dancers wear nothing but salad leaves, and drag queens called Khandirella croon saucy songs you wouldn't catch in any Disney musical.
This is VAULT Festival, and since 2012, it's staged over 3,000 eye-opening shows to more than 400,000 audience members — championing a diverse array of talent, and underrepresented artists.
Today though (15 February), VAULT has revealed that its landlord, The Vaults, is kicking the arts festival out of its subterranean home, in a bid to pursue more commercial projects. That leaves VAULT in the lurch, looking for somewhere to go in 2024 and beyond. The decision, says VAULT — run by not-for-profit charity VAULT Creative Arts — is a significant threat to the festival's survival and the wider creative industry.
A #SaveVAULT fundraising campaign has been launched, with the aim of raising £150,000 by 19 March 2023, in a bid to save the festival and secure a new home.
VAULT Director and Co-Founder Andy George says, "Over the past three years, as we've battled to survive through cancellations, postponements and a pandemic, it's become extremely clear that the creative industry needs VAULT Festival to thrive and the artists we champion need the festival to springboard their careers. This devastating blow comes after three of the harshest and hardest years of the festival’s life; but we’re determined to make sure this isn't the end."
Aside from donating what you can to the cause, make the most of VAULT at its current location — shows continue till 19 March 2023.