Eucharist, blues and roots

Festival founder Charlotte Harmer

The fourth St Michael’s Arts Festival, based in the church if the same name in Stockwell reaches a climax on Sunday (25 October) with a special eucharist service with blues and roots musical accompaniment.

This year’s programme has been amended to offer a range of online events and streamed content – all content free of charge.

They include an art exhibition – all entries are for sale.

Festival organisers are appealing for donations so they can continue to offer arts experiences in Stockwell.

Each year a painting of St Michael’s or the locality features as the theme image for the festival. This years’ is a watercolour by long-term local resident Jeremy Hunt, who died recently. His family donated his local works to the festival exhibition.

The festival was founded and launched in 2017 by local artist and photographer Charlotte Harmer and her husband Justin, director of music at Stockwell Parish, to promote and exhibit local talent. They raised more than £3,500 for the Friends of St Michael. 

Highlights of the 2018 festival included an evening with actor Simon Russell Beale, an entire short opera performance of Salieri’s Prima La Musica, and original photos of the Rolling Stones by Michael Joseph.

Last year saw three weekends of arts events in partnership with Morley College for the first time. They inluded more events for kids and the Brixton Chamber Orchestra, joined by Elena Valentine for Reinecke’s Flute concerto and the St Michael’s Festival Chorus for Mozart’s Mass in C minor.

Other new additions were original character comedy from President Obonjo and a jazz evening featuring a band of South London All-Stars.

The 2019 festival ended in style when BBC journalist Ed Stourton’s interviewed Nicholas Coleridge about his book, The Glossy Years.

The festival, sponsored by ludlowthompson estate agents, is now run by Matthew O’Keeffe, who is also a composer director of the Brixton Chamber Orchestra, and a committee of volunteers overseen by trustees chaired by Rev. Erica Wooff.

“We rely on volunteers to run each event and are always grateful for enthusiastic offers of help and support!” said Matthew.