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#VirtualDulwichFestival on the horizon

Green shoots can be spotted in gardens and hedgerows throughout Dulwich now, bird song is more plentiful, and the promise of spring is in the air. These signs are ones of hope as we emerge from a winter quite unlike any in living memory. The virus, which has quietened each and every corner of the world at some point in the previous year, has at least given science its time to shine with the development now of approved vaccines to help stem the tide of infections.

Although the whole Festival team is dismayed that we cannot bring everyone together in the usual way, one of the great joys of the Festival, we were so glad that we were able to re-group last year and put together an online offering in such a short time. It was also heartening to learn of all the ways in which artists and musicians were reacting creatively to lockdown from making masks to giving online tutorials, from portraits for NHS Heroes and participating in the Artist’s Support Pledge to presenting live rooftop performances in support of the Trussell Trust. The online Dulwich Festival meant that we could highlight all these endeavours.

Flash Fiction & Children’s Art Competition

As we write, the country is still urged to stay at home and that is exactly where we plan to bring the Dulwich Festival to everyone again this year, with a lively mix of music, poetry, art, history and literature online.The Flash Fiction Competition will be open to all and the Children’s Art Competition will provide a wonderful reason to settle any young person down to explore their visual creativity.

Artists’ Open House

Artists’ Open House, a highlight of each Festival which attracts over 250 exhibiting artists, will be presented in a searchable gallery of delights on the website with some artists offering remote workshops or online purchasable items.


There will also be a series of live streamed interviews, talks and music events. Art historian and writer, Dr Melanie Veasey along with fellow writer and artist Dawn Pereira and Loughborough University’s History Of Art Professor, Alison Yarrington, will be looking at the history of Oliffe Richmond’s Striding Man, soon to be restored to its former glory on the site of The Charter School, North Dulwich and reflecting on the role of contemporary art in post-war education.

Sam Lee Image: Penguin Random House

Image: Penguin Random House


Award-winning musician, folk expert and passionate conservationist, Sam Lee will also be joining the Festival to discuss his new book, The Nightingale which reveals in beautiful detail the bird’s song, habitat, characteristics and migration patterns, as well as the environmental issues that threaten its livelihood.

Herne Hill’s Velodrome annual Bushel Basket Championship in the 30’s


One of the annual highlights of the Festival is delving into our green enclave’s history and this year Ian McInnes, of the Dulwich Society, will be giving an illustrated talk; Sports and Sports Personalities in Dulwich 1870-1970. He will cover many of the individual players, teams, grounds and buildings, as well as introducing a selection of the historic national sporting personalities who called the area their home. Who knew that along with hosting the Track Cycling events for the 1948 Olympics, Herne Hill’s Velodrome was also home to the annual Bushel Basket Championship in the 30’s, which saw Market Porters run with baskets stacked on their heads!


Meanwhile on the music front, acclaimed indie-folk quintet, Patch and the Giant will be back by popular demand with their eclectic take on folk music fused with indie, rock and the blues.

More Information

For more events watch this space and if May seems some way away, why not hunt out Dulwich Festival on YouTube to find all our recent films, including the fascinating talk about VE Day given by local historian and author, Brian Green. You may also like to take a break from watching a screen, in which case search online for Sound Cloud and the Dulwich Festival page where you will find a soothing and enlightening podcast exploring the history of Dulwich Village.

The Dulwich Festival is a registered charity run by a team of dedicated trustees, a small number of freelance arts professionals and a band of wonderful volunteers. If you would like to offer your skills in some capacity, do contact the team via

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