London's First Ever Denmark Street Festival Set for Saturday

For musicians, no trip to London is complete without a stop by Denmark Street—the historic epicenter of England's pop music industry. Over the decades, the neighborhood has been home to recording studios, music publishers, rehearsal spaces, and, of course, London's most famous guitar stores.

If you happen to be in London this weekend, you'll arrive just in time for the first annual Denmark Street Festival, which runs on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Co-organized by Dom Alari of Regent Sounds and Harry Napier and Jan Smosarski of Sixty Sixty Sounds—both music shops on the block—the festival promises to showcase the best of Denmark Street's legacy and culture with live music, food and drink, shopping, and plenty of guitars. Some of the featured performers include Chilean rock guitarist Miguel Montalban, soulful pop singer-songwriter Rhys Lewis, and Billy Watman, a finalist of Sky Arts' Guitar Star TV show.

Regent Sounds

"Our aim is to raise the awareness of the street and kickstart a feeling of a new community spirit emerging from Denmark Street," Dom from Regent Sounds told us. "We also would like to cross-pollinate into other areas of business and bridge the gap. We have deliberately targeted similar independent and like minded enterprises that we believe share our values and generally take pride in their work."

For Dom and the other proprietors of Denmark Street, this sense of pride in bringing music to the community is especially important as the historic retail district faces new challenges.

"Denmark Street has had some pretty bad press over the last few years," Dom told us. "With all the redevelopment work that is happening, most people think and have read that Denmark Street is being flattened and completely destroyed. This festival is to make people aware that although there is a lot of work going on (and some of the shops are having to move about like a giant game of musical chairs), we are all staying and will be here for many years to come. Once all the work is finished Denmark Street will be bigger and better than ever."

Sixty Sixty Sounds

In line with this new community spirit, the organizers have brought together many of the street's independent restaurants and shops to contribute to the festivities. Ferndandez & Wells, Arancini Brothers, and more will be providing food, while The Smoking Goat and The Yeastie Boys will be providing the drinks. Sixty Sixty Sounds will offer clothing designed from Nigel Cabourn, while Bens Leather Goods will be selling vintage threads.

To witness the newest chapter of Denmark Street, be sure to swing by the festival on Saturday. Reps from Reverb will also be on the scene handing out swag, enjoying the tunes, and likely ogling all the vintage guitars in the various shop windows.

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