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Hidden River Festival Fun

The Music Audio Stories BIG marquee, Storytime and festival fun in Hackney!

The Music Audio Stories marquee at the Hidden River Festival 2022 image

It's almost a Big Top!

Last Saturday, we took part in the Hidden River Festival 2022 and after a two-year wait, it was absolutely brilliant! Back for its eighth year, the festival starts outside the Redmond Community Centre and continues along the New River Path to the Woodberry Wetlands. We were excited to be returning to this lovely festival with its ethos based on community spirit and family fun. We were even more excited when we discovered we had been given a large marquee, or as I liked to call it, our Big Top! This was in the Family Finches area which had other children's entertainment and fun things for families. We decided to extend our interactive children's space as we had two extra tables.

Music Audio Stories at the Hidden River Festival 2022 image
Children's author, Anna Christina, with the Billy Joins the Circus picture book at the Hidden River Festival 2022 image
The Music Audio Stories stall at the Hidden River Festival 2022 image

The Hidden River Festival is attended by hundreds of Woodberry Down residents and visitors from other areas of London, bringing the total attendance to over 2,000 people each year! Volunteers from the community are involved in creating a great day of community fun, local food, music, comedy, stalls and more.

Nestled beside the East and West Reservoirs at Woodberry Down, the New River creates a stunning backdrop for the festival. Built over 400 years ago, the New River was an engineering feat of its time. Dug by hand, it is still in use today, bringing Londoners fresh drinking water from springs in Hertfordshire. As well as enjoying the festival, visitors can walk along New River thanks to the New River Path which provides a unique green oasis in the area. It's teeming with wildlife and beautiful vistas for the public to enjoy. Children love the modern kids’ playground and there is so much in the area to explore.

Jenika and I did not get to explore! From the moment we set up, it was non-stop with a constant stream of visitors to our "Big Top" all day long.

Storytime at the Hidden River Festival

Storytime with Anna Christina at the Redmond Community Centre image
Children creating artwork at Storytime with Anna Christina at the Redmond Community Centre image
Storytime with Anna Christina at the Redmond Community Centre for the Hidden River Festival 2022 image image

This year, I hosted my Storytimes inside the Redmond Community Centre's dance studio. It's a huge space with amazing reverb, which is always helpful when one has to sing! The children loved my read-aloud of my picture book, Billy Joins the Circus, singing and dancing along to the music audiobook and my drawing activity.

Children's artwok at Storytime with Anna Christina

I invited the children to sit around a table and try to draw one of the characters from my book. They did an amazing job and it was so much fun seeing how they interpreted Jenika's illustrations. I know she also loves to see this!

I collected quite a few drawings and I will be posting them on our social media channels over the next few days. Make sure you keep an eye on them if you are looking for your child's drawing. Here is one from my morning workshop. I love the Ringmaster! ❤

Billy Joins the Circus Drawing Challenge

The Music Audio Stories marquee at the Hidden River Festival 2022 image
Anna Christina from Music Audio Stories at the Hidden River Festival 2022

After my morning Storytime, I headed back to our marquee and decided to continue with my drawing challenge! I put papers and colours on our two spare tables and invited children to join in. It was fantastic! Jenika offered pencil portraits of children (and dogs) and this was a lovely surprise for many families who popped into our marquee. This made it such a wonderfully creative space and we were kept busy all day long creating art and having fun with the kids.

The atmosphere at the Hidden River Festival was brilliant! It was made even more special by the beautiful sunny weather we had all day long. Everyone looked like they were having a great time and Jenika and I thoroughly enjoyed the day. I highly recommend attending this event next year if you missed it!

Thank you so much Mahri, and all of the volunteers for running such a lovely event. Well done for such a successful festival. We hope to see you all again next year!

???? Anna Christina

Library Book Signing Tour 2022


Next event - MCM London Comic Con

Shop | Billy Joins the Circus | Kindle ebook | The Making of a Picture Book | Limited Special First Edition Picture Book | On Audible | Silence at Storytime | Unboxing

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