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Event preview: Camden Inspire

Camden has been one of the most innovative and exciting areas of London for decades now. From the heady days of 70s punk and into the 90s with cultural moments such as Britpop, we’ve been enlivening the streets between Chalk Farm and Mornington Crescent for as long as anybody can remember. Camden market will always be legendary. The Roundhouse will always be one of our most important live music venues. Camden Lock will always be full of tourists.

Although a lot of hispters have headed further east, there’s still so much to see and do in the north London borough. Camden Inspire is here to remind us of that fact. The brainchild of Camden Town Unlimited, the festival will take over 17,000 sq ft just off Camden High Street, near the canal. Food and drink venders from across the capital will take over the road with seating, bars, and activities, for everybody. The two-day festival will host a series of activities, workshops, live music, film screenings and street performances, all with the aim of helping us to reimagine how we all use our public spaces. Inspire wants to celebrate its community of small businesses, and show others how much independent businesses bring value to the neighbourhood.

Camden Open Air Gallery will be opening its new art space for the first time over the course of the festival. Started during the pandemic, the Camden Open Air Gallery made what they could off the locked shutters in the local area, to add colour and vibrancy to the borough. From humble beginnings, the business has expanded exponentially – Camden Inspire is the next step in their journey. Film screenings will be hosted by the Camden Collective, and live music performed on an outdoor pop-up stage. Just some of the eateries on display at the event include London’s first ever Caribbean diner, Ma Petite Jamaica, which has been serving locals since 1985, the infamous vampire-themed pizzeria Lost Boys Pizza, and the not-for-profit enterprise Think Coffee, who will be hosting a temporary tattoo parlour.

Georgie Street, head of projects at Camden Town Unlimited, spoke to the Evening Standard: “Camden Inspire has always been about celebrating local small businesses, but this year we are taking the opportunity to do something more ambitious. We want to shine a light on the creative independents that make Camden Town such an exciting place to be, whilst showing how activating our local public realm should be a part of the future of our high streets – and our partnership with Camden Open Air Gallery perfectly fits this objective!”

“We are using this event to highlight the area’s heritage and history, the entrepreneurs who are bringing it back to life right now, and some incredible prospects like the revival of our live music scene and the Camden Highline, which pose a very bright future.”


Words by Rebecca Clayton