Croydon's time to shine as 2023's Borough of Culture got off to an un-rushed start: the launch wasn't until mid-March, and since then there's been a smattering of events.
But things are about to shift up a gear. From June onwards, the south London borough is laying on a bounty of festivals, laced with trails, exhibitions — plus a huge Pride celebration. This really is the Summer of Croydon. Among the events coming up are:
- Croydon Food & Music Festival: a chance to gorge on goodies from the area's rich cuisine scene in its 'Restaurant Quarter' aka the South End, while having a little boogie. No word on exactly what'll be there yet, but on any day of the week, this part of south London offers everything from Indian to Nigerian to Galician delights — and for this fest there'll be cooking on all cylinders — so you're sure to be well fed. (2 July)
- Croydon PrideFest: Wandle Park turns all colours of the rainbow with London's second-largest Pride festival. Acts including Abbalicious and local drag queen Asifa Lahore perform on stage, with refreshment and info stalls scattered hither and thither. Things kick off with a parade through the centre of town. (15 July)
- Croydon Mela: Barely has the last whistle been blown for PrideFest, when Croydon Mela kicks off; also hosted in Wandle Park, this celebration of the borough's diverse range of Asian communities features music from the Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band, a dance programme hosted by Anush Subramanyam of Beeja Dance, and lashings of excellent food. (16 July)
- Croydon Carnival: Another parade through the town! This time, with West Croydon's London Road becoming the base for stages, which will host — among others — garage legend Artful Dodger. (30 July)
Elsewhere in Croydon this summer, there's a heritage trail marking Croydon's frankly incredible contribution to music (launching 17 June), CR Talent a festival showcasing Croydon's younger performers, all the way down to school age (13 July), and Croydon Stands Tall — in which 30 giraffe sculpture painted by local artists will spring up around the borough (21 Aug-27 Oct).
Various other events are planned for London Borough of Culture up until March 2024 — check out the This Is Croydon website for more info.