Toots and the Maytals to headline Walthamstow Garden Party 2017

Updated: 26 June 2017

Line up details of Walthamstow Garden Party including Toots and the Maytals and new additions Members of the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians

Walthamstow Garden Party
Lloyd Park, Walthamstow
Sat 15 Jul – Sun 16 Jul
12noon – 9.30pm (Sat) / 8pm (Sun)



- Members of the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians – brought together last year by Africa Express and reuniting refugee artists from the country – offer a joyous, uplifting set of Arabic classical music and beautiful melodies. 

- Award winning poet Kayo Chingonyi and DJ Cleanshirt headline the Earthy Paradise tent.


- Reggae and ska founding fathers Toots and the Maytals headline the Barbican Music Stage on Saturday 15 July. 

- International and local music acts including Doug Hream Blunt, The Heliocentrics, Janka Nabay, BNegão & Seletores de Frequência, DJ Katapila, La Mambanegra, The Ska Vengers, Britten Sinfonia Academy and a special guest artist still to be announced. 

- Theatre , dance and circus performances and workshops featuring Layla Rosa, Boy Blue Entertainment, Walthamstow Youth Circus, X7eaven Dance and MovE17.

Leading international arts centre, the Barbican and Create are partnering with Waltham Forest Council to present the fourth Walthamstow Garden Party on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 July. The free event, taking place across Lloyd Park, will host the best talent from around the globe and from Waltham Forest’s thriving creative and cultural communities. The two days of performances and opportunities to get involved will span music, theatre, dance, circus, film, spoken word, arts and crafts, food and family activity, and will be delivered in partnership with local organisations. Over 30,000 people have attended every year since the festival began in 2014.

Newly added to the line-up for 2017 are Members of the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians. Last summer 50 musicians and singers who had fled conflict in Syria were reunited as the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians for a European tour alongside guests including Damon Albarn, Paul Weller, Bassekou Kouyate and Julia Holter. For many of the Syrians, it was the first time they had seen each other since outbreak of conflict six years ago, and some of them, now settled in Britain and Europe, have continued working together. This smaller ensemble brings their energy and melodies to Walthamstow, offering a positive perspective on Syria and its culture.

Toots and the Maytals will headline the Barbican Music Stage on Saturday 15 July with a performance of classics from across their back catalogue. Releasing their first album in the early 60s, Toots and the Maytals quickly established themselves as leading purveyors of the reggae sound, and were pivotal in popularising the genre beyond Jamaica. Their take on the style, drawing on funk, rock, soul and country, revolutionised reggae and influenced countless others, with artists as diverse as The Clash, The Specials and Amy Winehouse covering their music. (Following their appearance at Walthamstow Garden Party, they will also be playing the Barbican Hall on 28 July.)

Also added to the Barbican Music Stage are Britten Sinfonia Academy, a dynamic chamber orchestra of talented secondary school-aged musicians playing alongside Britten Sinfonia musicians. Britten Sinfonia is a Barbican Associate Ensemble, and this will be the first time that Britten Sinfonia Academy has performed at Walthamstow Garden Party. The Academy will present a programme of music from two of the most influential composers working today – performing Steve Reich’s Clapping Music and Philip Glass’ Music in Similar Motion.

Louise Jeffreys, Director of Arts, Barbican, said:
“The Barbican is incredibly proud to continue its work with Create, Waltham Forest Council and the local people, groups and organisations that are integral to the success of Walthamstow Garden Party . We are committed to building on our long history of working across east London and showcasing local creativity at the event. The Barbican is passionate about ensuring the festival continues to be a catalyst for new ideas, ambitious thinking and innovative collaborations, and a fantastic day out for all ages in the heart of Walthamstow.”

Martin Esom, Chief Executive, Waltham Forest Council, said:
I am delighted that we are announcing our fourth annual Walthamstow Garden Party, continuing our fantastic relationship with the Barbican and Create. This event has gone from strength to strength and celebrates our diversity, culture and heritage within the borough. The event continues to attract an impressive array of talent, and creates unforgettable memories for our residents.”

The festival’s music programme will feature international musicians from around the globe alongside the best of local talent across its stages and tents. Performers include:

- Toots and the Maytals , reggae and ska founding fathers bringing the summer spirit with a performance of classics from across their back catalogue.
- Members of the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians – offer a joyous, uplifting set of Arabic classical music and beautiful melodies.
- Janka Nabay , Sierra Leonean musician performing feel-good folk-dance music, melding polyrhythmic folk tunes and high-octane psychedelia.
- Doug Hream Blunt , the San Franciscan funk outsider who gained late recognition from artists such as Ariel Pink, David Byrne and Devendra Banhart is joined by The Messengers, a band formed through Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning and made up of people with experience of homelessness.
- The Heliocentrics , Walthamstow-based musical collective combining funk, jazz and psychedelia.
- BNegão & Seletores de Frequência , Brazilian collective fusing samba, rap, soul, reggae and afrobeat.
- DJ Katapila , Ghanaian DJ and producer renowned for relentlessly joyful DJ sets, splicing traditional dance music styles with the up tempo sounds of Detroit techno, Chicago acid and ecstatic 90s chart house.
- La Mambanegra , a.k.a The Black Mamba, a Columbian ensemble at the vanguard of modern salsa.
- The Ska Vengers , New Delhi band blending ska rhythms with dub, punk, jazz and rap.
- Britten Sinfonia Academy , a dynamic chamber orchestra of talented secondary school-aged musicians playing alongside Britten Sinfonia musicians, performing music from two of the most influential composers working today: Philip Glass and Steve Reich.
- One special guest headliner still to be announced

The News From Nowhere stage will be paired with a huge aerial rig to host dance, circus and performance of all kinds. Local circus artist Layla Rosa curates, performs, and runs circus workshops that everyone can take part in. Walthamstow Youth Circus will perform alongside professional artists and Barbican Artistic Associates and 2017 Olivier Award nominees Boy Blue Entertainment present a performance and workshop involving young people and adults from the company. X7eaven Dance showcases local youth talent with opportunities for the audience to get involved. MovE17 is working with the local community ahead of the festival to create a spectacular flash mob performance which draws on Rosas Danst Rosas, an iconic dance famously referenced in Beyonce’s Countdown music video.

The Earthly Paradise tent is the focal point for local and Barbican-based young creatives, hosting work by and for young people. Performers include Barbican Young Poets, Barbican Junior Poets, Young Songwriters, Waltham Forest Music Hub, and Creative Learning Associate School Greenleaf Primary Choir. Saturday headliners are award winning poet and emcee Kayo Chingonyi and DJ Cleanshirt with an hour of heartfelt, soulful, hip hop, sharing new songs alongside work from Kayo's ongoing collaboration with the producer Rapsz Katai. DJ Katapila rounds off the party on Sunday night with a relentlessly joyful DJ set, splicing traditional Ghanaian styles with the up tempo western dance music . They will be joined by Soho Theatre, who will present projects from their education programme, including a selection of plays written by pupils from primary schools in Waltham Forest as part of the Soho Theatre Young Playwrights scheme, and comedy and performance extracts performed by the Soho Theatre Young Company.

Soho Theatre will also present the Soho Theatre Storytelling Tour led by Amy Mason, previous writer in residence at Walthamstow Library, who will take guests on a creative journey around the park.

The Glittering Plains dance tent will be programmed by BringBackTheBeat with international talent playing alongside E17 DJs, including the Electronic 17 and Soul Picnic crews, as well as labels With Bells Records and Emperor Recordings.

Create and the William Morris Gallery team up to curate The Be Magnificent Craft Trail, a family friendly workshop programme inspired by the art school curriculum taught in the Walthamstow School of Art in the 1950s and 1960s, which focused on practical craft making skills. The programme is part of the summer-long event Be Magnificent: Walthamstow School of Art 1957 - 1967 and is supported by local business, The Stow Brothers. Presented both inside the Gallery and outside on the lawns, children and adults will be invited to take part in activities exploring the art of craft and try their hand at ceramics, woodwork, printmaking, textiles and more. Visitors can also purchase locally crafted items from the E17 Designers Market.

Ar tist Gayle Chong Kwan’s ambitious new sculpture The People’s Forest will sit in the centre of the lawn outside the William Morris Gallery. Inspired by the history, politics, and people of London’s ancient woodland, Epping Forest, participants can learn about tree management and create miniature sculptures which will be attached to a branch and inserted into the trunk of the tree which ‘grows’ as people add to it. The final sculpture will be installed in the Barbican foyers this autumn.

The Art For All family area will be filled with an abundance of lively activities, games and pop-up entertainments , including Grow Wild, Lloyd Park Skate Jam and Drum Works. Stow Film Lounge presents Kids On Screen in the Kids' Film Lounge, a family-friendly festival experience celebrating kids in cinema. The specially created children's cinema space will have interactive, mini exhibitions, early examples of moving images, refreshments and a ‘little big screen’ showing a collection of classic and new clips of young people on screen. Children can create cinema trailers to be projected and soundtrack silent movie moments. Barbican Blocks will encourage under-fives to invent and build a world around them while Ready Steady GO! will invite young people to create, decorate and drive cardboard cars in a madcap musical immersive theatre show.

Fellowship Island will be taken over by a passionate brigade of food and drink producers, urban growers and local organisations - including The Mill, E17 Arts Trail and Organic Lea – all exploring ways to cultivate a closer connection with nature and community in the city. The Real Food Festival will return with independent street food traders offering freshly cooked, quality flavours from around the world, and a number of Waltham Forest’s microbreweries will host a craft ale tent celebrating the best of local brews alongside a separate festival bar .

Fundraising campaign Keep It Free will continue this year. People who enjoy the festival will be invited to give what they can to help invest in local artists and organisations, and to keep the festival free for all.

Last year over 70 local arts organisations, businesses and community groups were involved in the event with more 1,000 people taking part across the weekend, including performances from more than 460 young people . Walthamstow Garden Party remains free to attend for all, however voluntary donations can be made at collection points on site. The funds raised will help ensure the Barbican, Create and Waltham Forest Council can continue investing in Waltham Forest artists and organisations. Find out more here .

Further details on the Walthamstow Garden Party programme are available on the website , with many more line up additions still to be announced.

Walthamstow Garden Party is a Waltham Forest Council festival, produced by the Barbican and Create in partnership with key local organisations in Waltham Forest.

The weekend is part of the Beyond Barbican offsite programme that reflects the Barbican’s long history of programming in partnership with artists and organisations in east London, and a part of Waltham Forest Council’s Get Together programme. Our joint vision is to support the local creative sector to develop quality arts experiences which are accessible to all.

Support for Walthamstow Garden Party comes from Arts Council England.


Notes to Editors

Barbican Box Office: 0845 120 7550

Press Information
For any further information, images or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Sagar Shah, Communications Officer
t - +44 (0)20 7382 7321,

John Kelly, Communications Assistant
t - +44 (0)20 7382 2389,

About Waltham Forest Council
2017 is the fifth year that Waltham Forest Council, an award-winning east London borough, has run its Get Together events programme. Packed with days out, festivals, fun and games and celebrations. The Get Together programme consists of six events for residents including the Walthamstow Garden Party. The remaining programme consists of Summer Fest, Chingfest, Leytonstone Street Fest, Mela and Fireworks night.
For more information visit
Connect with us online:
Follow us on twitter: @wfcouncil

About the Barbican
A world-class arts and learning organisation, the Barbican pushes the boundaries of all major art forms including dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts. Its creative learning programme further underpins everything it does. Over 1.1 million people attend events annually, hundreds of artists and performers are featured, and more than 300 staff work onsite. The architecturally renowned centre opened in 1982 and comprises the Barbican Hall, the Barbican Theatre, The Pit, Cinemas One, Two and Three, Barbican Art Gallery, a second gallery The Curve, foyers and public spaces, a library, Lakeside Terrace, a glasshouse conservatory , conference facilities and three restaurants. The City of London Corporation is the founder and principal funder of the Barbican Centre.
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About Create
Create exists to explore the ways artists can contribute to the lives of people in cities. We help artists to connect more closely with communities through an ambitious programme of projects.
Our work is primarily focused in east London, home to more artists and art organisations than anywhere in Europe, and one of the most economically deprived parts of the UK.
We commission art anywhere. Unlike a gallery or theatre we have no fixed public space, preferring to work in the places people encounter everyday. Working collaboratively informs everything we do and our projects are driven by artists, issues and places.
For more information go to or follow @Create_London

Press enquiries:
For any further information, images or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Sagar Shah, Communications Officer
t - +44 (0)20 7382 7321,

John Kelly, Communications Assistant
t - +44 (0)20 7382 2389,