Land of Kids: a one day Family Festival in Dalston

Land of Kids hits Dalston this bank holiday weekend (6th May). I chatted to Gilly Fox, Creative Programmer to find out what we should expect.


What is Land of Kids and who is behind it?

Land of Kids is brought to you by the creative team behind the annual Dalston Take-over, Land of Kings, namely Nick Griffiths and Connie Harrison. Land of Kings was Launched in 2009 to celebrate the area’s established, new (then) and undiscovered spaces showing the best of the area’s music, performance and art scenes. Land of Kings is still going strong in its 5th year, but we wanted to try a new creative challenge as we appreciate the area is changing and to create something accessible to a broader audience.

Why was it started?

Land of Kings has always been very playful and we were often sad younger people had to be excluded. There are lots of creative individuals and organisations in Hackney to draw on, and loads of people with great ideas for kids. We wanted to pull together a line-up with a difference – odd, unseen, curious, magical, inspiring…. And right on people’s doorstep.

lotte reiniger 4

What ages is the festival aimed at?

Well kids of all ages really (and that means parents in their 40s as well) but from 2-13 – but we are an all inclusive festival and its just about coming down and getting everyone to get along and have some great fun.

What should parents expect their kids will get up to up the event?

Ah what won’t they is an easier question!! Land of Kids uses the same infrastructure as for Land of Kings and presents the likes of ceilidh, high tea with pearly kings and queens, Japanese crafts care of Café Oto, immersive theatre by Punchdrunk, a Pirate School, the Kigu Petting Zoo with exotic animals, speed birthday parties – pass the parcel, musical statues, cake and goody bag, all in 15 minutes. Takeaway Poetry will park up its van to offen poetry on demand to all our budding poet laureates. An array of sustainability workshops where you can get stuck in and get your hands dirty with clay and soil and coffee grounds and the Recycled Drumming Workshops are possibly going to be the bane of every parents life after this. The House of Hot Breath are bringing us an immersive music video in which you’re your own pop idol, while Lost Picture Show bring us Lottie Reiniger inspired Silhouette Cinema where you can make your own shadow puppets and create a new film. Reggae Nursery Rhymes put a new spin on some bedtime classics, and the mighty Disco Loco close the main stage with music for all the family. If that’s not enough, face paining, balloons, nail art care of Wah nails, soft play area of the very little ones and much much more… Street Feast market place… the list goes on, it’s a lot for a seven-hour day!

Poetry Takeaway

It looks like a great line up, are there any other events like this in the area?

Hackney Council programmes some great events for kids, as does Gillett Square, but Land of Kids is very different – it’s an intense one-day experiential event that will be action packed. We want people to treat it like you would an adult day festival. You arrive at 12 then plan to stay the whole day long just absorbing some of the incredible programming on offer and enjoying a festival atmosphere right in the heart of Dalston.

There are quite a few workshops, what are you planning on doing with what is made at the festival?

We have a great array of workshops from how to make play doh, facemasks and compost from your used coffee grounds to seed bombing – make a clay bomb full of flower seeds and throw on to waste ground near year to create a beautiful field of flowers – fun and spreading a glorious sustainability message to the next generation. Anything made will be taken away by participants and hopefully, lots of good messages about taking care of your own environment will go with them as well.

Why Hackney?

We love Hackney! This is where we are from, its one of the most creative areas in London, now and historically and we expect our youngsters to be equally full of ideas and creative ambitions. We’ve been having some great fun here with Land of Kings for the last five years, and its time we let the next generation in on it…

What are the plans for the future of Land of Kids?

Ask us on Tuesday!! But after a nice cup of tea, we think we will more than likely do it all over again next year…