North London's Cultural Guide

Come to Camden Create

We've teamed up with a new annual 3-day festival all set to celebrate NW1 as a hub for creativity. And Kentishtowner readers get a handy 25% discount off tickets

It’s a thing of rare beauty for those in the know. And yet many Londoners persist in considering Camden Town difficult, tourist-swamped and unyielding.

The spiritual home of the capital’s “youth” culture, it’s really a snapshot of our whole city in miniature. Wealth lies side by side with poverty, art with business, mass tourism with creativity, history with street culture. And – unlike many long gentrified places – it still has that “edge”.

But as with any busy central London neighbourhood – but even more so in one as crazy as this – Camden Town’s secrets lie in its backstreets, sidestreets, and off the beaten track.


And it’s this off-centre creativity that a new festival in mid-May, simply called Camden Create, aims to celebrate. And moreover, we’re thrilled to have teamed up with the organisers as media partner.

Daytime and evening events are set to take place in iconic venues big and small, from the Roundhouse to The Hawley Arms and Collective 159. The idea is you can pop by for simply an afternoon or the whole three days – and lap up all manner of food, drink, entertainment, talks, walking tours and art. The programme is diverse, the aim to make locals look at the area with fresh eyes.

Look with fresh eyes: Camden Create

The festival will tell the story of creativity in one of the capital’s most exciting urban spaces through talks, workshops and events. Renowned Camden figures such as Alex Proud (see below) and Wayne Hemmingway (fashion designer and co-founder of Red or Dead) are just some of the local names that will be talking about their careers and offering advice to those looking to break into the creative industries.

There will also be a host of events showing Camden as a great place to play, as well as work. These include walks stopping at some of the best eateries in the area (see below) and a comedy night organised by performing arts venue The Roundhouse.

The festival is part of a wider strategy implemented by Camden Town Unlimited – a group of local businesses who have come together to improve Camden Town. Other success stories include preparing and delivering a £10 million streetscape regeneration plan and a local discount scheme, with over 100 local businesses and 5,000 employees taking part.

Kentishtowner Pick #1: Camden Cool

Alex Proud.  Photo by Perry Curties
Alex Proud. Photo by Perry Curties

Is Camden a poster-child for sustainable cool? It’s an interesting question. The regeneration of rundown areas has been picking up pace, what some have termed Shoreditchification. But if we could, is gentrification something we’d really want to stop? Would the nebulous idea of authenticity blossom, or would shops remain boarded up? Using Camden as a case study, this discussion hinges on the changing face of regeneration with local trendsetters and guests, including gallerist Alex Proud. Wednesday 14th May, 6pm, Lock Tavern. Duration 90 minutes. Buy tickets here

Kentishtowner Pick #2: Redressing the fashion industry

Mubarak from social enterprise Clime-it Brothers. Photo: Stephen Emms
Mubarak from social enterprise Clime-it Brothers.

Fostering healthy attitudes on sustainability is a huge challenge when many young people are out of work and unethically produced clothing is so cheap. This discussion is about the “social and ethical possibilities in the fashion industry”, featuring a panel of local upstarts and established change-makers including upcycling pioneer Orsola de Castro, Centre for Sustainable Fashion’s Alex Macintosh, and founder of socially-driven Camden fashion brand Clime-It Bros Mubarak Mohamud. Thursday 15 May Duration: 90mins. Buy tickets here

Kentishtowner Pick #3: Taste of Camden

Simple, classic, stylish: Market on Parkway. Photo: PR
Simple, classic, stylish: Market on Parkway. Photo: PR

Although ripe with culinary history, Camden is still an area that is often overlooked as a food destination in London. With more to the dining scene than the stalls around the Lock, let Fox & Squirrel guide you to visit lesser known restaurants and independent traders, where experiencing sensational flavour and colourful history, both old and new, is the order of the day. This culinary walk through Camden will celebrate the gastronomic traditions of the diverse ethnicities that have made Camden their home. Tasters at each location included. For up to 15 people. Daily 13//14/15 May at 1pm. Duration: 120mins. Buy tickets here

Kentishtowner Pick #4: Vestal Voyages

All aboard. The very first floating pop-up bar
All aboard. The very first floating pop-up bar

Come aboard a 50 foot cruiser stern Liverpool canal boat and be taken up from Lock Market to Little Venice and back with Vestal Voyages. We were guests last summer and had a blast on an evening canal ride, while trying some of the best concoctions in the capital. Drinks will be created using 2009 vintages and infusing them with some amazing flavours such as American oak, sherry woods, juniper and even raw coco. Ticket includes a welcome cocktail and personally designed blend by the on-board mixologist. Daily (13/14/15 May) at 6pm. Duration 120 mins. Buy tickets here

Kentishtowner Pick #5: Open studio With Ron Arad

Ron Arad. Photo: PR
Ron Arad. Photo: PR

Ron Arad’s constant experimentation with the boundaries and possibilities of materials, from metals to composites, and his radical re-conception of the form and structure of objects and buildings, large and small, has put him at the forefront of contemporary design and architecture. There’s a live Q&A plus RAA Director Asa Bruno presenting industry insights, and a review of the practice’s work. Thursday 15 330pm. Duration: 120mins. Buy tickets here

To conclude? “We’re highlighting Camden as a global cluster for the creative industries,” says Camden Town Unlimited’s CEO Simon Pitkeathley. “Camden Create Festival will celebrate the work and ingenuity of one of the most exciting business districts in the world. People will ask if you were at the first Camden Create – I’ll be proud to say that I was right here.”

We’ve teamed up with Camden Create to offer readers 25% off tickets. Just quote code ‘KTTicket’ at the checkout. More info on all these events and buy tickets here. It takes place from Tuesday 13th – Thursday 15th May 2014. Prices are £20 per day/ £55 for three days.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

About Kentishtowner

The award-winning print and online title Kentishtowner was founded in 2010 and is part of London Belongs To Me, a citywide network of travel guides for locals. For more info on what we write about and why, see our About section.