BY TOBY PORTER
One of South London’s biggest community festivals attracted huge crowds in a celebration of local musicians, food and culture.
The Phoenix Festival was headlined by the chart-topping Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir (above), who have performed at Wembley and Glastonbury after having a Christmas number one hit with their cover of A Bridge Over You.
More than 3,500 people came to the party on Saturday, May 11, organised by Lewisham landlord Phoenix Community Housing.
Other local acts performing included Sienna, Vocal Velvet, and the Cosimo Keita Organ Trio.
There were young performers from the the D&B Academy and the Forster Park & Rangefield School Steel Pan and Choir Ensemble.
Attractions included climbing walls, a dog show competition, a graffiti workshop, a soft play area for the under-5s and a massage zone.
Danielle Taylor, who attended with her daughter, said: “We came last year and we really enjoyed it. I just think this kind of thing is amazing. “It’s really good to get the community together.”
Phoenix chief executive Jim Ripley said: “We look forward to this event every year because it’s as special every year.
The festival, and this year’s local theme, is our way of celebrating the incredible talent and potential of our community – and we can’t wait for everything else we have in store this year.”
Janet Daby, MP for Lewisham East and former Phoenix Board member who opened the festival, said: “Phoenix is clearly an example to other social housing providers and I am pleased to have them playing an active part in my community.
“I was delighted to open the Phoenix Festival on Saturday. It is such a great local event bringing the community together and offering many family activities. I look forward to the one next year.”
Phoenix uses its annual festival as an opportunity to meet residents to listen to views on its services and how it’s doing as a landlord.
The festival is the first in a series of consultation events the resident-led housing association is hosting this summer, including its popular Chat & Chips events where residents get a free fish supper in return for giving their views.
South London families can re-live the Phoenix Festival’s attractions at the organisation’s Summer Fun events over the school holidays.
Young people will be able to enjoy bouncy castles, face-painting and much more in parks and play areas every Thursday from July 25, with full details available at www.phoenixch.org.uk.