To Be Consumed, Leytonstone
In a nutshell: Put your shop firmly on the local map by participating in a festival.
Tell us more …
“Leytonstone has quite a good, solid local scene. There’s a lot of local support for the Leytonstone Arts Trail and things like that. Leytonstone Festival has been around for a few years. Basically you put yourself forward as a venue and then acts can contact you if they want to perform at your venue, or you can seek people out independently.”
What did you choose to do?
“We’d already partially organised a party on that Saturday anyway, then we realised it was the first day of the festival so we thought it would be a good way to get involved and get some added exposure, as you get listed in their programme.
“It was a collaboration with the Curry Cats and these guys called Apart Together, who have been doing gigs through lockdown and broadcasting them online. The Curry Cats were occasionally doing pop-ups out at the front of our bar anyway so we decided to do it live and together.”
How successful was it on the day?
“It was amazing! It was our best takings ever in a single day. We didn’t charge an entrance fee or take commission on the food, so that was all alcohol sales. We were in fact unprepared for how busy it was going to be. We should have had more staff on but, considering how abysmal the last couple of months had been, it kind of lulled us into a false sense of what the day would bring. It was the perfect storm of things reopening, people back from holidays, the Leytonstone Festival, and a really good local network.”
Did you make any special provisions?
“No. All the chairs and tables were ours. We took our indoor tables and chairs to join our outside seating stuff and that made room to form a dance floor inside. We are the only arch in use in our run. Most of the other arches usually have cars parked outside most of the time, but we spread out and had the front of our shop and a bit of extra space. The DJs brought their own kit along and set up, and I’ve got some kit too, and I plugged into it so it was all fairly straightforward.”
How did it feel to open your doors after Covid restrictions and collaborate with other people?
“We used to throw parties once a month before everything got locked down so it’s something I’m quite fond of doing anyway. It was really good to work with other people and it was nice to have the food and music more or less taken care of, as I was running around on the day trying to manage things. I DJed early on and then got back to work. I almost didn’t do it because you feel like you should be doing other things. But it was nice to play some tunes for the first time in a very long time.”
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