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Beckenham event to remember David Bowie's Free Festival returns
David Bowie and The Beckenham Arts Lab organised a legendary Free Festival on August 16, 1969.
Exactly 45 years later, Memory of a Free Festival will be held at the same venue, Croydon Road Recreation Ground.
The festival was revived last September by fashion designer Natasha Ryzhova Lau and enjoyed by more than 1,000 people, with proceeds of more than £7,000 going towards the fund to restore the park’s iconic Victorian bandstand.
Natasha will again organise the festival, alongside volunteers, members of the Friends of Croydon Road Recreation Ground, Bowie’s Arts Lab and original Free Festival co-founder Mary Finnigan, and Roger Wotton, whose band Comus played every Sunday at the Arts Lab in 1969.
Again, money will go to the bandstand restoration fund.
Last year, David Bowie donated signed memorabilia which was auctioned at the festival and made more than £600.
Natasha said: “It is a beautiful bandstand with history and character.
“It was built as focal point to the park, to host musicians and performers. It needs to be brought back to its former glory.”
The best of last year’s live music returns, with performances from American folk and blues artist Amory Kane and guitar maetro Bill Liesegang – both of who played in 1969.
Roger Wotton will perform solo, while Raf&O and Bowie tribute Thin White Duke also return.
The day, from 1pm to 7pm, will also include new bands and aims to extend its reach with artists from different genres, such as poets, painters and photographers, invited to showcase their work.
More food and drink will be available and stalls will serve craft goods.
Though the 1969 festival was free, organisers will have to charge £5 for entry to cover costs, with voluntary contributions going towards the bandstand.
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