Last updated: 16th of Oct, 2009

So, it all kicks off tomorrow at around noon on Saturday, gaining speed throughout the early afternoon until it reaches an almighty karaoke crescendo around midnight. A loose running order will be posted up here tonight, for those many thousands of you interested to know. Meanwhile, the location of the event is:

The Chapel Room
3rd Floor
Oxford House
Derbyshire Street
Bethnal Green
E2 6HG


Last updated: 13th of Oct, 2009

We have a theme. It may change, it probably won't. The theme is "Autumn in a parallel universe", and there will be dressing-up to reflect this. We will provide plenty of garb, but please do consider bringing your own draperies and leaf-stitchings.


Also, don't forget our inaugural 'clothes swap'. Bring along a bag of skirts and boots that no longer fit, and swap for ones that might. More information about acts & talks to follow.


Last updated: 11th of Feb, 2009

Clacton comes to Bethnal Green! After much hand-wringing and Vietnamese-soup-eating, we have decided to hire the Chapel at the top of Oxford House, an arts venue on Derbyshire Street, just off Bethnal Green Road (E2 6HG).

We're open from Noon until Midnight, with the all-important Cake Contest being judged around 5pm. We're having Brick Lane beigels for lunch, and there'll be short films, craft tables, a clothes swap, poetry, Surprise Funk, and a Q&A about alternative money systems. What more could you want?

Bakers please note: the Victoria Sponge category is being retired for a year. The confirmed cake categories for 2009 are:

  1. Fruit.
  2. Novelty
  3. Battenberg Cup.
  4. Ginger.
  5. Chocolate.
Happy baking!


Last updated: 18th of Sept, 2009

This year's stripped-down extravaganza is taking place a little further from the sea than usual. In sunny CLAPTON!


Here's a handy print-out-and-keep map of the area:


Look closely and you should be able to spot the venue. Details of which will be released the very moment it's been booked, which isn't quite yet.

We're hoping it's going to be in a small industrial unit by the canal. Perfect for cakes!


Last updated: 3rd of Sept, 2009

One month from today! One calendar month exactly! That's how much time you have to gather your wits and ingredients and prepare for yet another Festival of Clacton. Begin stretching! Polish those ballet shoes!


Will there be dancing? Most likely. Will there be cakes? Most certainly. Will there be short films? Lots of them. With the much vaunted Golden Cockle award going to the best. Mainly 2009 is going to be cakes and films and modern dance. The three essentials of any small seaside arts festival.

Even at this late date, the exact location remains CLASSIFIED and shall not be divulged until such point as anyone knows what it is. It may be Clacton. It may be Clapton. It may be in the back room of the Paradise Cottage kebab shop on Bethnal Green Road. Who knows? At this point, nobody. We're not even sure if they *have* a back room. We'll find out and get back to you.


Last updated: 11th of Feb, 2009

One of the many things cut from the 2008 Festival due to time shortages and overbooking were the films. No award was made. No film was even shown. But we are hoping to remedy our error by holding a special out-of-season mini-festival of film.


Likely date: March 7th. Likely location: a function room in central London. We will keep you posted. Yes, you.


Last updated: 11th of Feb, 2009

Sneaking up on us through the meltdown (both economic and meteorological) of 2009, our next festival is peering over the horizon. But the big question is: where to have it? Twice we've been in a room above a pub, once in the function rooms of a hotel. The talk among the committee is for this year to take the whole thing and plomp it in a field somewhere. Probably near Clacton. That would make sense. Or maybe Portugal. Suggestions of a suitable location most welcome.


We have a large canvas tent sitting in a shed somewhere in Hertfordshire. But we would need a proper central marquee. Or some old plastic sheets pinned to a hedge. But the question remains: which hedge?


Last updated: 14th of Sept, 2008

It happened, we survived, Clacton didn't burn down, Stedman from Five Star turned up, Gerry Turvey bent us into strange shapes, dulcimers were hammered, the man who shouted at us in the hotel lobby for being too loud shut up and went away, a giant badger fell into a drum kit, the belly dancers caught their train, and tremendous fun was had by all. From a Russian folk tale told with puppets, through wild cabaret and the physiology of bees, to the closest ever cake competition. It was as if someone had grabbed a rhubarb crumble, sprinkled it with acorns and thrown it at the wall of a hair clinic. That's EXACTLY what it was like.


That was our opening act, the extraordinary puppeteer Drew Colby from the Objects Dart Theatre Company, who whisked us away in in umbrella in the company of some old spoons and a cake net. "Yo-oh, heave ho!" we sang, and the weekend had begun.



Last updated: 1st of June, 2008

The time has come, the walrus said, to talk about you getting up on stage and performing at this year's Clacton Festival. If you were at the Princes Theatre on Monday night you'll have seen top comedian and TV star, Jimmy Carr, the man they call "Il Duce" (or was that Mussolini?) talk about the Clacton Festival, and put out the request for acts. And that means you. Yes you. Particularly you. Whatever it is you think you'd like to do: read us a haiku or do some shadow puppetry or enter our photography competition, the Clacton Festival is waiting for you.


That was Jimmy at the last Clacton Festival, winning the Battenberg Cup for his Battenberg cake. Did we mention there's a cake competition on the Sunday? Well there is. So if you'd like to share the joy and climb bravely up onto our small and very unthreatening stage at the Comfort hotel on the 19th or 20th of July, in front of a very warm and encouraging audience, then get in touch this very second. The best way is via email: info@clactonfestival.com. Or you can phone us on 07960776813. Or leave a message under a pebble near the fourth pier leg on the left, and we will find it.


Last updated: 2nd of May, 2008

Finally, the dates for the 2008 Clacton Festival have been set in stone, and then embossed with platinum and mother of pearl, so whatever you'd like to do on stage, we'd like you to do it on July 19th & 20th in the back rooms of the Comfort Hotel. Another weekend-long dose of arts, crafts, drama, poetry, puppetry, music and cakes. And on top of all that, this year we're planning to feature hooping for the first And we hope to bring back the Regatta, last held in 2005. If you'd like to take part or help out in any way at all, please drop us a line here: info@clactonfestival.com


Last updated: 1st of May, 2008

Top comic, cake baker, and host of Channel 4's '8 Out Of 10 Cats', Jimmy Carr, is playing the Prince Theatre, Clacton, as part of the run up to this year's Clacton Festival. Carr is the proud holder of the inaugural Battenberg Cup (2006), but is unfortunately unable to defend his title this year, so he will retire undefeated. The show is sold out, but entries to the Battenberg Cup (Sunday, July 20th) are most welcome.


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