Banquets, village fairs and giant cakes in Southbank Centre's Festival of Neighbourhood finale

By Culture24 Reporter | 23 August 2013

Event previews: Village Fair (August 24-25 2013); Southbanquet (August 31 – September 1); Grow Your Own Ideas (September 7-8), Southbank Centre, London

A photo of people sitting outdoors at a dining table on a riverbank at dusk
© Photo: Tim Mitchell
Perhaps the centrepiece of the closing weekend of the Festival of Neighbourhood, the Southbank Centre’s community-spirited festival of camaraderie, is the Southbanquet.

Across the final weekend of the month, Clare Patey – who has been compared to American silent film mastermind Cecille B DeMille when it comes to public food creations – will team up with esteemed Eco-Chef Tom Hunt for a meal of ethical food to be shared by 500 people on separate evenings within the Riverside Terrace, accompanied by live music and entertainment, demonstrations of wheat milling and pizza and baguette baking.

Konditor and Cook, a local bakery team, are cooking up a giant, 2000-portion, 1.7 square-metre cake on the day, which visitors can decorate with ginger bread flowers before sharing.

The ingredients for a roster of salad hats, made by Zoe Cameron and Damaris Booth and wearable while roaming the garden the artists have created, should be able to boast healthier ingredients than the giant treat. Sophie Herxheimer is using neither pastry nor parsnips – her drawings of food stories, collected from the public, will be fashioned in ink.

Food, music, art and stranger-meeting run amok among these three concluding weekends, encapsulating the key themes of activism, the ethical life, sustainability, utopias and idealism which have been explored by the banks of the Thames all summer.

Village Fair should prove exuberantly inspirational. A Super Bake Off takes on a Countryside theme, a Dog Show will be trying to keep hounds away from the baked goods and knitting, stitching and music aim to showcase the notion of urban villages, helped by the Vauxhall City Farm – a National Trust construct of 35 fruit trees in steel bins, thronged by chickens, goats and alpacas.

In September, Grow Your Own Ideas is inspired by the quizzical flags Bob and Roberta Smith has stumped above the roof of the Royal Festival Hall roof all summer, which might give you an idea of what to expect from the programme itself.

As well as film screenings, performances and workshops examining political idealism, alternative art, city gardening and beyond, the Sunday sees a mass singalong led by the resident Voicelab group. Visit to add your voice.

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