The Thornton Heath Festival 2014 took place on 7 September. It was an fun-filled day, packed with live music, dance and a variety of stalls and activities. There were about 6,000 revellers over the course of the day.
The Festival was formally opened by the Deputy Mayor of Croydon who spoke of the rich ethnic diversity in Thornton Heath and welcomed that the Festival would have something in it for everyone. She toured the stalls and amusements with Tony Rowland, Festival Organising Committee Chairman, staying for several hours to speak to revellers. She received a warm welcome from all.
American Dillon Wyte kicked of the live show with brilliant performances from his new reggae album VisionIrie and blew his audience away with his awesome Hendrixesque guitar solos. At times he played his electric guitar holding it behind the back of his head and even played it with his teeth.
Suzie Jay, Thornton Heath’s very own reggae queen performed ‘What goes around comes around’ among other songs. Thornton Heath R&B diva, the stunning Kimberley SK, sang songs like ‘Speechless’ and ‘Love on Cloud 9’. She was rushed at the end of her performance by one star struck fan asking for a shirt signing!
International artists Andrae Melody and Dan-I drew in the crowds with silky R&B performances from the former and some brilliant dancehall lyrics and vibes from the latter. They then surprised everyone with an impromptu reggae collaboration which drove the crowd wild. Tkayy Stanna added to the party atmosphere with his brilliant new dance hall tune ‘Wine and Kotch’.
The music genre was broadened further by performances from the Acts Church and Community Choir, Nathaniel’s Beat Box and Thornton Heath’s very own Russian Folk Band dressed in full ethnic costume. Adam Hughes and Affinity D closed the day performing one of their own songs and a brilliant cover version of Lego House.
Long before the Festival ended however, revellers enjoyed an equally awesome dance feist. The Flagz Mas Band, dressed in hand-made carnival costumes and straight from the Notting Hill Carnival, got the crowd pulsating with soca vibes. Thornton Heath got a first hand taste of how to party hard.
Not to be out done, the equally vibrant Tamil Cultural Dancers wowed the crowd with a riveting demonstration of Asian dance. Chantel with Hipsinc, a local belly dancing troupe, then showed the crowd how to pelvic rock, pelvic tilt and make pelvic circles in a master class of the middle eastern art. Both dancers and crowd alike were left breathless! Salsa-Naturally brought audience participation up on to the stage with a combination of irresistible Samba beats, swaying hips and rhythmic footwork.
Thornton Heath’s youngsters were not to be outdone! Children from April Christie’s Dance Studio,Crystal Palace, showed off their dance range with exquisite performances of modern dance, street dance and ballet.
The day was topped of with a carnival parade led by a bag pipe band – and a prize draw with local MP, Steve Reed OBE, doing the honours handing out gifts provided by Festival sponsors such as The Rotary Club Croydon, Jamaican National Money Transfer, Subway and Mayday Plant Hire.
Callton Young OBE was MC for the day; and Cassy M the DJ.
The crowd showed its appreciation with a rousing round of applause for members of the Thornton Heath Festival organising committee who put in so much hard work to deliver what was a splendid community event – not least Cllr. Pat Clouder, Hon. Alderman Adrian Dennis, Debbie Lehane, Andrea Cornwall, Everton Brown, Karen Barnett and Agnes Forbes.
One reveller left the event saying ‘roll on Thornton Heath Festival 2015!’ Here’s till then.