Silk Road Festival 2012

Saturday 15 September 2012, 12-6pm
Venues across Cricklewood Broadway

Cricklewood came alive on Saturday, 15 September. In blazing sunshine. the inaugural Silk Road Festival celebrated the unique diversity of cultures that share this illustrious stretch of the A5

Conceived and promoted by Cricklewood Improvement Programme (CIP), the festival not only brought together three London boroughs but at least as many local groups including Creative Cricklewood and NorthWest Two residents’ association. The funding was provided by the Outer London Fund of The Mayor’s office. This also covered the post of project manager Osita who took an active hands-on approach to ensuring the success of the day, organizing items ranging from generators to directing people to face painting. 

In the early morning sunshine teams of volunteers from CIP and Cricklewood Homeless Concern (CHC) helped transform the streets with the marquees and materials that made up the stands. These were supplemented by other teams in Hi Vis vests who looked after security and the smooth running of the event. 

As well as bringing people out from their homes, the festival brought to the area many people who would at best normally drive/walk through. In physical terms, the wrapping of barriers in bright silks, by CIP group Creative Cricklewood, helped transform the appearance of the busy thoroughfare, a trail of silk moths in shop windows added intrigue. For all of these people, the festival is a first step to redefining what Cricklewood means. 

Noticeable on the day was the atmosphere of joy – maybe it was the steel band at Beacon Bingo, the live music at The Crown or seeing the grassy patch by B&Q turned into our own village green complete with maypole. Indeed, that whole grassy area was like an amphitheatre with a sequence of great bands and musician holding attention of the crowds until darkness fell. Even the ambulance crew on first aid standby for the day remarked that they would have more to do on a normal weekend day in Cricklewood. 

Appealing to many cultures, the event offered something to all ages whether it was making silk moths or playing bingo in the sunshine. That this was all put together in under eight weeks was a minor miracle. An exhausted but ecstatic Danny Maher of Cricklewood Homeless Concern and founder of CIP said, “it shows what the people of Cricklewood can do. This sets the standard for future events and this is only the start. This shows that the Olympic spirit is still with us and burns brightly.” 

Not ones to miss an opportunity Danny and Osita were quick to thank the volunteers for their work as well as pointing out that if the festival is to grow, more help will be needed next year. They also mentioned that if anybody was feeling really enthusiastic, they may be able help with the Festive Lights. All people of all abilities will be welcome. 

Listening to comments from local residents and business people, the consensus was that the festival not only brought Cricklewood alive, it brought Cricklewood together. 

Special mention must go to Mapesbury, NW2, Railway Cottages and Fordwych Road resident associations and Mapesbury Ward Working as well. Their support is testament to the community spirit that is so alive in Cricklewood.