The day Carnival came to the streets of Thornton Heath

Callton YoungThe Thornton Heath Festival last Sunday was enjoyed by all who attended and acclaimed as a massive success. Here, the day’s Master of Ceremonies, CALLTON YOUNG OBE, pictured above with two of the young dancers who graced the main day, outlines the day’s events

As we were packing up and leaving last Sunday, I heard one reveller saying, “roll on the Thornton Heath Festival 2015!”

Last Sunday was an fun-filled day, packed with live music, dance and a variety of stalls and activities, and we estimate around 6,000 attended over the course of the day.

The festival was formally opened by the deputy mayor of Croydon, Councillor Patricia Hay-Justice, 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, the festival organising committee chairman, and stayed for several hours, speaking to the people attending.

American Dillon Wyte kicked off 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 playing it with his teeth.

Colourful entertainment was the order of the day at the Thornton Heath Festival last Sunday

Colourful entertainment was the order of the day at the Thornton Heath Festival last Sunday

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 dance hall 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”.

There were also performances from the Acts Church and Community Choir, Nathaniel’s Beat Box and a Russian folk band – based in Thornton Heath – all dressed in full traditional costumes.

Adam Hughes and Affinity D closed the day performing one of their owns songs and a brilliant cover version of “Lego House”.

Long before the festival ended however, revellers enjoyed an equally awesome dance feast.  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 outdone, the equally vibrant Tamil Cultural Dancers wowed the crowd with a riveting demonstration of Asian dance.  Chantel with Hipsinc, a local belly dancing troop, then showed the crowd how to pelvic rock, pelvic tilt and make pelvic circles in a masterclass 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.

Children from April Christie’s Dance Studio at 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 Croydon Rotary Club, Jamaican National Money Transfer, Subway and Mayday Plant Hire.

The crowd showed its appreciation with a rousing round of applause for members of the organising committee who put in so much hard work to deliver what was a splendid community event – not least Pat Clouder, Adrian Dennis, Debbie Lehane, Andrea Cornwall, Everton Brown, Karen Bennett and Agnes Forbes.

As the man said, here’s to the Thornton Heath Festival 2015.



Coming to Croydon


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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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