Looking Back

A quick recap on the feedback we received for the 2018 Telegraph Hill Festival

Telegraph Hill Festival 2018

The core of Telegraph Hill Festival played out across 16 days from 10-25 March 2018.

Coming up from 7th July (till the 15th July) we’ll have Telegraph Hill Centre’s Branching Out Summer Exhibition at Goldsmith’s gallery at 310 New Cross Road, with an accompanying film from Branching Out participants talking about their lives and local memories.

And in between, we had the Open Gardens supported by the Festival to fund raise an astonishing £1000 (including a contribution from Telegraph Hill Festival) to plant four trees in the area.

Looking Back to the 2018 Telegraph Hill Festival

By any measure the 2018 Telegraph Hill Festival was a runaway success.

We started planning in Autumn 2017 with a concerted push for people to submit their proposals from late November 2017 to mid-January 2018 before retiring to pull the whole thing together into a coherent piece.

In tandem we worked with Telegraph Hill Centre and St Catherine’s Church, our main sponsors and hosts, to ensure that Health & Safety, Accessibility and Safeguarding policies were integrated into everything we did.

As part of the programming we pulled in time, talents, resources, equipment and venues from around the area to make a headier brew without losing the Festival’s core aim to celebrate the community in Telegraph Hill and involve ALL those who live here and maintain the voluntary ethos of the Festival.

We also made clear our aspiration to become a ‘leave no trace’ Festival, at least in terms of plastics. And in 2018, this took the form of making sure that we used less plastics, and where we did have these available (like cups at Festival bars), these were compostable and recyclable plastic made from vegetable matter.

And of course, we delivered the Festival … and all the while as volunteers, combining everything we did with working full-time.


  • More than 120 events, of which 74 were free, across more than 20 spaces (not counting Open Studios)
  • We sold as many tickets for events in 2018 as 2017, 2000 in total. But for us it’s not about the money, it’s about ensuring that as many people as possible can take part and enjoy art and culture on their doorstep in as easy a way as possible
  • More than 60% of Telegraph Hill Festival events were free to take part in (a proportion which has increased in recent years)
  • Many events with a ticket price were accessibly priced at either £2 or £3, and we have frozen concession pricing across the board for 2 years running (with no plans to change)
  • We had more than 7000 visitors to events (a 15% increase on 2017 and almost double the number we had in 2016)
  • Most events which were ticketed sold out, and those which were not ticketed were also very full

Which enabled us to:

  • Continue investing in the Community Production
  • Invest £1000 in new LED lights
  • Increase our contribution to both Telegraph Hill Centre and St Catherine’s Church (who bear the brunt of heat and light bills, as well as wear and tear in the lead up and through the Festival)
  • Set aside a contingency for next year …
  • Generate a surplus which we will use for investments in enhancing the Festival PA, a new website, re-polish the parquet floor at St Catherine’s Church which has taken quite a punishing, a ramp to improve year round accessibility to St Catherine’s Church, invest in the Telegraph Hill Soap Box Derby to ensure it can become a self-sustaining entity.

We also:

  • Recruited new Festival organisers and planners – ensuring that the diversity of the organiser team reflected the diversity of the area as much as possible and that younger voices were also being heard
  • Improved our Risk Assessments with an astonishing 100% rate of completed returns
  • Continue working with Centre & Church to ensure that the Festival’s policies align with their refreshed versions, and guide what we do
  • Keep up the work to draw in new venues
  • Carry on outreach to groups who don’t feel part of the Festival

Here’s what you said

Out of 5 for excellent and 1 for very poor, the average score across the Festival was 4.5!


Loved the new location for Punk. Thought the interactive orchestra was a delight. Classical evening was truly exceptional. The musical was great.

Nice to see a younger crowd

It has been amazing and I would like to thank you all for all the on-going hardwork and efforts to make TH Festival better and better each year! Well done everyone! You are all stars! xx

A thousand mimosa blossoms in thanks

Sonics the best in a long time. Classical night was beyond superb, it was transcendantal.

Mark’s talk was excellent- superb delivery of ideas new and stimulating.

Musical – really moving and well sung and choreographed.

Thank you so much Sanjit and the team for all of your effort in bringing another amazing festival to Telegraph Hill. Big thanks for all the volunteers and people who put in hours for the events, and opening their homes for Open Studios. We loved every event that we went to and meeting locals who share this beautiful gem as home.

Community getting together, high level of experience – west end experience for a community price ticket. Wonderful!

I had great fun at all the events I attended. I was able to sing, take part, meet new friends and bond with existing friends

Very well organised

… Loved the sense of fun and inclusion, the sense of collective endeavour and fresh ideas.

Fun, freedom, inventiveness, and sense of our diverse community.

The chance to see my local area differently and appreciate where I live …

I think the Festival is really broad and has a nice mix of ‘old favourites’ with new innovation. I couldn’t get to the folk festival thing, but that sounded good.

I just think the Festival is the most incredible event and everyone involved deserves a great deal of praise and credit. The benefits to the community are ever lasting, the creativity and goodwill that flows is awesome and it is a privilege and a joy to have been an audience member this year.

It seemed to be very inclusive.

Overall – absolutely fabulous yet again. Thanks to everyone for all the hard work.

I thought this year was a perfect template.

I can see that the festival is growing and reaching out. It was nice to see some women friendly spaces, trans and lgbtqi friendly spaces and events, plus issues like mental health and class being talked about …

Thought the program very wide ranging and interesting.

I thought the balance was spot on. In fact there was a really diverse programme this year and it’s clearly been developing over the last few years. Well done.

I have been to the festival for five years and this was the best yet as I felt more deeply involved and am becoming more familiar to people.

Well done. It’s not said enough. Well done.

We moved to the area two years ago and will now continue to support the festival every year.

Very impressed by your hard work and range of programming, thanks for putting so much into it!

… Glad the food offering has improved in recent years.

Love the way the Festival generates energy and a positive vibe. Really glad to see it changing and embracing more of the local population too. But must not lose momentum!

Curry at Classics was a classy touch I thought, and very welcome too …

Festival just gets better and better. Well done Sanjit and team, it’s quite something.

Great job! Love the festival and having so many great events going on right on our doorstep!

Classics on the Hill was very moving. West Side Story was also moving and Punk Karaoke were exhilarating. It was a privilege to be part of it and I hope I was able to contribute something to the singing and sense of occasion

It feels like the festival is getting better at reaching all parts of the community. I saw lots of people I don’t know, yet who I know live here as I’m now seeing them around on my way to or from work. It’s a beautiful thing. Keep it up.

Reinvention and reimagining it is good.

It’s great fun, do keep it as diverting and interesting as it’s become.

Final notes

We had a Festival wash-up meeting at Telegraph Hill Centre on Wednesday 16th May where we presented the accounts and outlined aspirations for 2019, including working with Telegraph Hill Centre to explore how we can make visual art more prominent, both within and outside the main window of the Festival.

There were no major issues reported. There was a shared understanding of the way the Festival has developed to embrace more venues and the wider community.

Thank you to those who came.

Last but not least – huge thanks to everyone involved in making Telegraph Hill Festival such a success.