Stow Festival

Submitted by: Pamela Hutchinson

Did you know that Coldplay’s very first single was mastered in E17, and released by a Walthamstow label, the feted indie outfit Fierce Panda? That’s just one of several fascinating bits of local pop trivia that I picked up on a musical history walking tour during Stow Festival weekend this month.

Grime star, Lethal Bizzle, also hails from these parts, we learned; Primal Scream’s Screamadelica album was recorded in E17, and Pavarotti, Sex Pistols and the Beatles played Walthamstow venues over the years.

Will the Stow Festival earn its place in Walthamstow’s musical history? I think so. Like Coldplay, the volunteers who run the event also favour the colour yellow, so even if you missed one of the festival’s 36 events over the weekend, you surely can’t have failed to spot the posters, flyers and T-shirts in buttercup shades rivaling the late summer sunshine for brightness.

This year, the fourth installment of the Stow Festival welcomed an estimated 5,000 music lovers to gigs in a diverse range of venues featuring more than 100 performers, most of whom were locals.

Drum Workshop by Andy Charles

Drum Workshop by Andy Charles

Friday night saw a very arty night of electronica in the William Morris gallery, complete with projections featuring the designer’s work. Throngs of singers and musicians made a day of it in the town square on Saturday, curated by Walthamstow Acoustic Massive.

Household name, Barry Cryer, entertained a packed house at the Rose and Crown on Thursday with a night of musical comedy. The following evening, punk legend John Otway took to the very same stage, for an altogether more raucous evening.

Eastern Vibes at Le Delice Cafe by Martin Greaves

Eastern Vibes at Le Delice Cafe by Martin Greaves

There were more gigs across the weekend at pubs (The Warrant Officer, Chequers), and cafes (Le Delice, Bygga Bo, 56 St James), and even Queenie and Ted’s vintage boutique in the village.

Walthamstow has stamina, though: the dancing continued right until Sunday, when the Wild Card Brewery was bursting at the seams with revelers getting down to beats provided by Electronic 17.

Stow Festival was many things, but it was not a quiet weekend. Here’s to next year.