Kings Cross hosts Earthfest

Preview: Earthfest to debut in King’s Cross

Camdenist speaks to the bold new eco event’s programme manager, Georgina McGivern

The latest event to make use of the unique urban charms of the King’s Cross estate is Earthfest; a 4-day summit of all things eco-conscious, aimed squarely at curious locals.

Offering a mix of free tickets to the public over the weekend of 20th-21st April, with a paid programme of speakers and special events for businesses (Fri 19th), you’ll be able to explore multiple areas and attractions including an expo of future-facing products and services from companies including Tesla, Ecotricity, CleanHub, Daye and Woodland Trust. Then there’s pop-up world music, art and fashion installations, wildlife workshops and even a chance to test drive the very latest e-mobility vehicles.

“We’ve been the team behind Camden Clean Air Initiative for over four years now,” explains Programme Manager for Earthfest, Georgina McGivern. “Our main mission is obviously to improve air quality around the borough, so we’ve been to quite a few sustainability events over the last few years, and we increasingly felt that we wanted to create something of our own that was going to inspire real, positive climate action.”

Set on the idea of an event that delivers genuine impact, the CCAI team made it their priority to create something that would appeal to wider audiences, and not just for existing eco-warriors.

“We wanted to put on something for normal people,” she says, “Londoners; Camdeners! Something really inclusive, accessible, but above all cool and fun. It’s really important for us that anyone – no matter where they are on that sustainability journey – feels welcomed. Our talks programme, for example, is massive. At Earthfest King’s Cross, we’ve got five different stages of speakers covering so many different topics from zero waste to biodiversity, air quality to eco anxiety. If people take away even just a small piece of learning from their visit, then that’s a win.”

Focus on: Loud Mobility

Cyclists of London Georgia and Caz

Find Loud Mobility at the Earthfest Innovation Expo in Lewis Cubitt Square, with e-bikes sessions running on the test track 11-5pm Thurs 19th, Friday 20th and Sunday 21st April.

On a mission to close the glaring gender gap in cycling, Loud Mobility is a Camden-based social enterprise that’s changing women’s perceptions of getting around by bike. “Our research shows women feel safer and more empowered when riding electric bikes,” says founder Caz Conneller, “so let’s grab this opportunity to inspire and support more women to make the change to more joyful – and sustainable – journeys.”

Her team will be bringing their latest She’s Electric experience to Earthfest, with a range of electric bikes to try, from front-loading family Cargo bikes to longtail compact cargo bikes and smaller folding models and accessible e-trikes.

“Our team will give guidance, advice and hands-on support to women wanting to give it a go, with child seats and helmets to ensure it’s a safe, enjoyable family-friendly experience. Plus there will be our boutique offering a chance for women to browse and try a selection of stylish clothes and accessories that can help them cycle in style – and get away from the ‘middle-aged man in Lycra’ cycling stereotype. We also support women on their next steps, whether that’s finding the perfect e-bike or connecting them with safety training, local community groups or finding a cycling buddy. We want to ensure their journey to e-cycling is a safe and supported one and that they feel 100% electric.”

King’s Cross is such an ideal location for Earthfest,” says Georgina of why this particular corner of Camden is so perfectly suited to host their debut eco-event. “Working with them [estate owners Argent] has been amazing in itself, with the sustainability credentials they’ve already got in place. The estate is carbon neutral, for example, and their buildings are all built really sustainably, with green heat and power systems. But also just in terms of the location; it’s obviously beautiful, with such a variety of open spaces for us to use, plus it is full of the most amazing tenants and stakeholders. These range from Camley Street Natural Park to Google and Samsung KX [hosting a summit and live podcasts respectively], so we’re really spoilt for great choices.”

Geographically, the area makes sense for the mission too, with thousands of visitors coming every weekend for the food and drinks, retail and entertainment on offer. “Hopefully be a lot of people will just stumble across Earthfest at King’s Cross, realise there’s something interesting going on, and then go and explore the festival,” hopes Georgina. And in terms of any carbon footprint in how all these humans converge there, KX is virtually car-free already. “You can get there by train and by bus, you can walk there, you can take your boat – there’s literally all of these different ways to travel to Kings Cross and therefore to Earthfest, which is just brilliant.”

Focus on: iRecycle

iRecycle barge

A partner and supporter of the Camden Clean Air Initiative since the early days, iRecycle reintroduced the use of barges on Regent’s Canal as a means to transport large quantities of commercial waste to recycling and waste-to-energy facilities. In doing so, they took many hundreds of truck journeys from Camden’s clogged roads, improving local air quality, too.

“We love them,” beams Georgina, “and we love everything they do, not just in terms of their sustainability credentials, but they’ve got amazing social impact pieces, too. They do a lot of work with homeless charities and employing people from the shelters to work with them. I’m really looking forward to seeing their barge moored up at Earthfest, which I think is going to be a big attraction for the audiences, too”.

Find out more about the amazing work of iRecycle here, and look out for them during Earthfest.

Despite the size of the issues being discussed (and the name) Earthfest remains something primarily for the people nearby, in and around Camden. Its steering committee has been made up of local residents, and there’s been a junior ambassadors programme too, featuring local school children. “50% of the students on the schools programme will be from Camden too,” says Georgina. “We were always keen not to lose our original Camden identity in all this. Earthfest at King’s Cross is for the local community, and that will always be a vitally important part of it.”

Camdenist readers can enjoy an exclusive 60% discount on Friday tickets with code ‘CAMDENIST’ through this link, bringing tickets down to just £20. This day is industry-focused and will feature expert panels and prime networking opportunities.
Free weekend tickets are going quickly, so book as soon as possible here.

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