Spitalfields Music Festival returns to East London, bringing the music, community and history of the East End to the fore.
The Spitalfields Music Festival returns to East London from 30 June to 12 July for its annual run. The festival showcases a wide array of music and performance across numerous East London venues, ranging from the gothic arches of the Tower of London to the brick interior of the former industrial warehouse Village Underground.
Founded in 1976, the Spitalfields Music Festival has been running for almost fifty years. It is one of many programmes organised by Spitalfields Music, a non-profit whose aim is to unite communities in the East End through music. The organisation also runs an industry-leading artist development programme and multiple award-winning projects in schools, care homes and community centres.
This year’s festival also features guided historical walks in East London neighbourhoods Limehouse, Mile End, Aldgate and Shoreditch. With the expertise of East London on Foot tour guides, participants can truly immerse themselves in the history, architecture and people of East London.
Here are some highlights from the coming fortnight of music and performance:
Kabantu at Shoreditch Church
FRIDAY 30 JUNE
Kabantu is a Manchester-based acoustic quintet. Their music combines folk with Western classical and African sounds. This celebration of fusion and diversity is set against the Grecian white pillars of Shoreditch Church.
Address: 119 Shoreditch High Street, Shoreditch, E1 6JN
Beside the Sea at Rich Mix
WEDNESDAY 5 JULY
Rich Mix presents the UK premiere of Beside the Sea, the latest work of acclaimed Irish composer Ian Wilson. Beside the Sea is an innovative piece of musical theatre. The story – which follows Ian’s late father’s long battle with Alzheimer’s – is narrated through the music of violinist Dušica Mladenović. In its combination of music, dance and theatre, Beside the Sea is a unique show.
Address: 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, Bethnal Green, E1 6LA
Try me, Good King at the Tower of London
SATURDAY 8 JULY
This performance takes inspiration and its title from the work of American composer Libby Larsen. Try Me, Good King is a piece of musical theatre from the final letters and gallows speeches of the first five wives of Henry VIII and the poetry of Sir Thomas Wyatt. This is accompanied by music from the Tudor court. This is one for fans of Tudor history – the performance is a mere metres away from where Anne Boleyn and Wyatt were executed.
Address: Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula in Tower of London, 35 Tower Hill, EC3N 4DR
The Women of Shoreditch Walking Tour
SUNDAY 9 JULY
This walk provides participants with the opportunity to engage with the history of Shoreditch and Hoxton through the stories of the remarkable women that inhabited and contributed to the East End. Learn about numerous pioneers from actress Alice Marriott to suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst.
Address: Starting Point- Shoreditch High Street Overground Station
If you enjoyed this, you may also like our guide to the Fashion District Festival.
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