Sydenham Arts Festival 2013 Special

Posted Jun 10, 2013 by Alexander Baron
Sydenham Arts Festival is now in its fifth year. This year as last year we spoke with Creative Director Jonathan Kaufman in the run up.
Sydenham Arts Festival
AB: Hello again, time flies, it doesn't seem like a year since the last one. I've just downloaded the brochure from your website, and there is a lot in it, but what for you are the main attractions? Would you like to tell us a bit about your sponsors?
JK: Our most loyal, regular sponsors are local estate agents Property World. Brothers Dan and Richard Crowley have supported us since year 1 (2009) and we're delighted they're once again our main sponsors. Many other local businesses are again supporting us in 2013, and we have more advertising in our brochure than ever - so we've made a feature of them, called Our Supporters!
AB: This is a family friendly show like last year, I take it, but are there any events where people might like to leave the kids behind? I was thinking particularly of the comedy event and the protest singer?
JK: Yes, there are certainly a few events that might be described as unsuitable for children, including one woman show Through the Hour Glass, the comedy at The Hob, and Dick Gaughan: Agit Folk. But we try, as always, to strike a balance between events that are accessible to families with children, events aimed at young people, and events aimed at an older audience. I hope we've got it about right again this year.
AB: How many paid events are there?
JK: At a rough count, about 35 ticketed events, with more than 50+ completely free. Though donations are always welcome at our free events.
AB: What about catering, is there anything special on offer?
JK: There will be global food stalls at our launch event at Home Park on Sun 30 June, and we hope to have food for sale at the Street Celebration on Sat 6 July. I'm still looking for vendors for my free open-air theatre show on Sun 7 July in Mayow Park - The Remarkable Race of 1913 is described as Edwardian-style Wacky Races - pedal-powered vehicles, transformed into old-fashioned jalopies, being raced around the park by madcap contestants. But I hope to have ice-cream, lemonade and cakes on sale at that one!
AB: You have quite a lot of open air events, but the weather hasn't been very good of late. Hopefully things will have improved by then, but do you have any contingency plans?
JK: Staging open-air events in the British summertime is always a risky venture, obviously. But we would be hard pressed to have a wetter July than 2012's. Contingency? Apart from covered stages at most of the big events, not really - bring an umbrella!
AB: Are you still looking for volunteers?
JK: Yes, definitely. We always need volunteers - or Festival Makers as we're calling them this year. As we have more events than ever (90+) we estimate needing more volunteers than ever - at least 50-60 local people ideally, to act as stewards, box office staff, front of house ushers and tech crew. Anyone interested should email Tom Herbert at
AB: Anything you'd like to add?
JK: We'll be looking to expand our planning team next year, especially looking to recruit experienced event organisers and fundraisers, in order to increase our programme's range and develop funding opportunities. Anyone interested should email me at
Below are two photographs. More photographs from the Festival can be found in previous articles, and of course on the official website.
Sydenham Arts Festival
Sydenham Arts Festival