An interview with Peckham Festival’s Ian Graham

After it’s very successful inaugural year, Peckham Festival is back in 2017 bigger, better and louder – the Peckham Festival team took time to sit down and chat to its newest director Ian Graham about this year’s event.

Ian delivering Peckham Festival brochures

As the newest director of Peckham Festival what do you see as the main differences between last year’s event and this years event?
It’s just so much bigger and don’t get me wrong, last year’s was amazing. As non-profit, free to attend events go, the growth has been massive. Launching a live music stage, a carnival and growing the number of events to almost double on a shoestring budget was a challenge but I have to say the bands such as Little Cub, Sweat and The Honey Hahs deserve our respect for getting involved right from the off because they have bought into the ethos of it being a DIY festival, that isn’t profiting from putting it on.

So what excites you about the festival this year?
The people excite me, the volunteers, the artists, the bands. There really isn’t one single thing. I’m just so impressed at the people that are giving up their time to be a part of something that is an opportunity to inspire their community to do something. Additionally the sponsors have really bought into the festival, funding the infrastructure to put the events on, for instance (yes I am biased) Copeland Park, the traders on the street food market they are putting on, every penny made from pitch fee’s goes back into funding the festival, every drink bought from the Copeland Gallery bar or outside bars, sales of Peckham Festival T-Shirts and merch goes straight back into funding the festival.

Stop dodging the question
Ha, OK if I had to say one thing that excites me it is the Carnival on Holly Grove on Sunday. We thought we were setting up Peckham’s first carnival when we started it (apparently there has been a very small one previously). Taking the party outside of Copeland Park has always been the goal but in such a way that not one person profits from the move, as we are already seeing things pop up that want to cannibalize the revenues of the Festival.

Going back to last years festival what were the main objectives going into organizing this years event?
Having read all of the feedback in the post-festival review we knew exactly what we had to improve on, content, signage and we also had to develop revenue streams. We are supported by fantastic sponsors who believe in supporting this community event but we hope to balance the books this year and plough the funds straight into next years event. Don’t get me wrong there are so many other things to improve on but Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Lastly what is your favourite thing about Peckham?
One of the tag lines of the festival is ‘People Make Peckham’ and I totally believe this. It’s such an inclusive place that anyone can make a home, business or event and be accepted whatever it is or whoever you are (almost). I work in a little community in Copeland Park, my street in Peckham is a little community and it’s only that way because of the people. OK, so you don’t have to ask again, it has to be a burger at Slow Richies in Brick Brewery.