North London's Cultural Guide

Kentish Town Square: a summer of Alma Street Fair fun

Expect live music, poetry, cocktails, cakes and all manner of arts and crafts every Sunday afternoon this month

With the absence of the much-loved Alma Street Fair this year, one of its key organisers, legendary local hairdresser-cum-arty-type Michael Ptootch, has cunningly cooked up a Plan B.

“The good people of Kentish Town need somewhere to reconnect, gather and grow, somewhere in the open air, somewhere easy, safe and accessible,” he says. “It needs to be for us, by us, inclusive, nourishing – and fun for everyone.”

With that in mind, what he’s named Kentish Town Square launches this weekend at 19 Highgate Road, where the Think & Do garden is just north of The Forum.

For the uninitiated, it’s already a pleasing and super colourful community space (formerly on the high street) created to give local residents the chance to come together to develop ideas and projects tackling the climate and ecological crisis.


Back in the day: Alma Street Fair. Photo: Sally Lyall Grant

And, as the temporary Kentish Town Square inhabits this space, you can expect a whole load of typically NW5-style activities amongst the stalls and shenanigans, from arty happenings to science nerds, crafts to cakes, artisan ice cream to bespoke cocktails.

As with the pioneering Alma Street Fair, much of the emphasis will be on music, poetry and performance (note to thunderstorms: leave it!)

And there’s a great line-up for this Sunday’s inaugural event, including Alma superstar veteran Mr Hudson, rock band The Autistix, veteran poet-gardener The Hanging Gardener, poet Mary Dickins, vintage jazz combo the Tipsy Gypsies and songwriter Michael Storey. There’s even pop-up opera courtesy of Ben Seifert.

Anything else we should know? “Wear your gladdest rags, and bring your sunniest disposition,” says Michael, with a wicked smile. And don’t forget Kentish Town Square runs all month, with happenings most days, during the week as well as Sundays, so if you miss the launch, swing by when you can and see what’s going on.

Kentish Town Square launches 8th Aug at 19 Highgate Road NW5, 12 midday till 8pm every day in August, weather permitting. For the latest follow @flaxonptootch.

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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.