A programme of summer festivals is under way in Barking and Dagenham.
Supported by the council, the programme of free events started on the last weekend of May with Valence House Medieval festival, a series of live exhibitions displaying life in the Middle Ages.
The second weekend of June saw Barking Town Square, Abbey Green and Abbey Ruins host Barking Folk Festival, celebrating folk music and including dance, poetry and street theatre. Multi-million record selling folk star Seth Lakeman and Mercury Music Prize winner Badly Drawn Boy starred at the event, attended by an estimated 8,000 people.
Dagenham Village hosted DagFest on 18 June, an outdoor festival of circus, music, street theatre and dance featuring more than 280 performers from across the UK, France, Spain and Belgium.
In July, Barking-based Studio 3 Arts performs an adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice set on the streets of the town. To mark the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death, an outdoor performance around Barking town centre's key landmarks will take place until 10 July: at 7.45pm on Friday; at 3pm and 7.45pm on Saturday; and at 3pm on Sunday, starting at The Broadway Theatre.
Also on 10 July, the Summer Eid Festival at Barking Park will mark the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, with live music and food stalls.
On 30 July, the 50th anniversary of England winning the football World Cup will be marked by One Borough Community Day, an all-day family event at Parsloes Park featuring music, a football tournament and screenings of games from the 1966 World Cup.
Initiatives celebrating African cultures and sounds – Africanshowcase on 10 August and Afrobeats on 20, the borough’s rural and industrial heritage – Steam and Cider Fair on 13 August – and the history of music – Now That’s a Festival on 27-28 August and Roundhouse Music Festival on 29 – will entertain residents for the rest of the summer.
The festival will conclude with Barking and Dagenham Youth Parade on 18 September, celebrating the contribution young people make to the borough.
The complete programme of the Summer of Festivals is available here.
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