Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information

The Crouch End Festival - May 4th - 13th - a well founded project?

I went to a committee meeting of the Crouch End Creatives Festival yesterday evening (Monday 2nd April) at the deceptively spacious Hornsey Vale Community Centre. It was the first such meeting I had attended, even though the organisers have been exhorting Crouch Enders to come along to the previous sessions, which they have held once a fortnight for some time now. This was not one of their standard meetings, but a special session, not just for the organising committee, rather an opportunity for some of the participants/exhibitors/performers to meet each other.

The Festival has many of the hallmarks of a successful project. A project is an undertaking which results in a change of state. At the beginning of this year there was no active Crouch End Festival, now it looks very much as though in May there will be. A distinct change of state.

What makes me think this project will be a success?

  1. The organising committee held this meeting - I am absolutely sure that the mechanisms 'The Crouch End Festival group' is putting in place need a lot of attention and will occupy a lot of time, and yet they gave up one of their fortnightly meetings to engage with the extended team. I'm not a participant/exhibitor/performer and yet now I feel engaged. I now know that lots of Crouch End residents are all working towards a common goal, that they can come together in one room, exchange ideas and telephone numbers and email addresses and feel part of something
  2. A sense of community - the idea of community has been built up over a number of months by various means, the Facebook page, posters around Crouch End, writing and art competitions, a mixture of virtual and real world social media, and it seems to have worked. This meeting was a community coming together.
  3. Delegation and trust - I think this is important. The first part of the meeting was run by Chris Arnold who handles a room well (though one of his colleagues did remind him at one point to get a move on). A second part was run by Marice Cumber who handles admin tasks well, and for the purposes of this meeting had put on a fairly fierce face to remind everyone that there are deadlines to be met. BUT the major point of delegation is that all the participants are being treated as adults capable of looking after themselves. So not only is there a sense of community, each  participant is also required to take on responsibility. There was at this meeting no project manager nannying every member of the project team, there was a project office enabling things to take place. If I were participating I would respond well to this approach.
  4. Project Office - if my inference about the style of leadership is correct, then the smallish team ('The Crouch End Festival group) building the website, managing the calendar, printing the flyers, doing the publicity etcetera is not a bossy management but an enabling source of support
  5. Strict definitions - if you are running a project where you've quoted a fixed price, then 'scope creep' is an absolute godsend - tell the client he's asking for something not in the original definition and you can put the price up and miss your deadline and still not get blamed. This project has a fixed deadline and hardly any budget. I spoke to the fierce face about the possible inclusion of a further aspect which might be added to the Festival. I was left in no doubt that the scope was not going to creep, and quite right too.
  6. Fixed budget - the Festival does have a main sponsor who has provided some budget to cover some unavoidable costs - I suspect that that's it for funding. For me the source of this funding and the outward signs of it are a slight negative to the overall picture. I'm not going to volunteer to sully my street with an estate agent's board on a house that is not for sale.
  7. Fixed Deadline  - the deadline can't slip. If there is to be a festival it will happen between May 4th and 13th

May God Bless Her and all who sail in her.

Tags: 2012, crouch end festival

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Thankyou for such a good write up that really captured the spirit of the festival and what we want to achieve for  the community.

We all hope it will be a success - even if I have to have a fierce face!


Having attended all the organising meetings since they resumed last year, can only agree that the success so far has been based on a loose 'self-organising' co-operative approach, without a 'boss', where the many hard-working people involved just get on with it - each to their own chosen skill.

There's a long history of Festivals here, producing enriching effects - the world-class Crouch End Festival Chorus was started as a Festival initiative by David Temple and John Gregson in 1984 and is stronger than ever.

I help with the website, leafleting, volunteers, participants, venues, dealing with community leaders and the Council (extremely helpful and positive!) and anything else I can do, including a creative contribution - it's rewarding.

Good to endorse the many people from previous festivals on whose shoulders we're standing. Met with the impressive Sally Mustoe, for instance, who was kind enough to pass me some of the previous publicity:

Be good to get back in touch with some of the ones not directly involved this year - anyone know any of them? As an unpaid volunteer for Transition Crouch End, I've seen many local community projects spring up and blossom over the years and encourage everyone to get involved - it helps us grow stronger and happier, like these Spanish people:

I too was buoyed by the energy and effectiveness of the meeting last night. Like you, I'm not a participator or exhibitor, and only went along as a writer and blogger who has just moved into the area and thought this would be an exciting project to be involved in. And I wasn't disappointed, I now feel much more part of the N8 community.

Great piece and great site. 


Actually, there's also some much appreciated funding from Thorntons Budgens Pennies for Plastic fund , which is to be used   for the 'Made in Crouch End' events which includes workshops, the guerilla bunting activity and the arts and crafts 'Trail' on 5th May

I remember the early Crouch End Festivals Chris Setz mentions,since I've lived in the area since 1964.Funding was obviously more generous then and  I heard a rumour that there was some funding left over from the last one! Could that not be passed to the organisers of this year's festival? Does  anyone know what happened to it?

I only mentioned the budget because going over budget is something that happens to projects, and in this case it can't.

I got no impression from the meeting that lack of cash is a problem. 

And I'm more than a little shocked to see my name on the organising committee for the Festival of 2000! Perhaps that helps to explain why its not still going.


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