BBC reporter John Simpson to headline arts and music festival as it returns for fourth year

BBC reporter John Simpson is the star attraction at this year’s Kensington Olympia Festival of Music and the Arts (KOFMA).

The renowned BBC world affairs editor has covered more than 50 years of history and will be giving his first-hand-account of the many events which have shaped our world.

This year’s festival opens with a classical recital at St Luke’s Church in Uxbridge Road on Sunday (30 September) at 5pm. The Atéa Quintet is a wind quintet formed in 2009. The programme includes works by Mozart and Debussy.

“We are delighted that our festival is returning to H&F for the fourth year, with what I hope is our most ambitious programme yet,” said KOFMA manager Laura Lamph.

Festival returns


A concert marking the anniversary of the First World War and its armistice will be held on 10 November

Founded in 2015, KOFMA aims to promote music and the arts in the community and provides a platform for young artists to perform their talents in a series of concerts and events.

Laura says they’re trying a new format for the festival this year. Instead of having all events over just one week, they’re now spreading the events throughout the autumn, making sure as many people can come to events as possible.

BBC veteran Simpson will speak on 19 October on topics such as recent military conflicts, how countries are governed and how the UK has changed after the Brexit referendum – and even how the UK has altered its view on the royal family. The talk starts at 7.30pm in Pillar Hall at the Olympia exhibition centre in Olympia Way.

On 6 November, Shepherds Bush historian Caroline MacMillan will lead an architectural tour of W12. The walk around Shepherds Bush starts at 10.30am and will take you to the site of the stadium erected by a local builder for the 1908 Olympics, through a Japanese Garden built the same year for a major exhibition and to Lime Grove where Charles Dickens established a home for ‘fallen women’.

While a concert marking the anniversary of the Armistice will be held on 10 November at 7.30pm. The Remembrance weekend will commemorate the centenary of the First World War and its armistice in 1918.

The concert includes Haydn’s Mass in Time of War (or ‘Paukenmesse’) which reflected the unsettled nature of Europe during the war. It will be performed by the Kensington Olympia Festival singers and players and conducted by Jeremy Summerly at St Luke’s Church in Uxbridge Road.

For times, tickets and more details, visit the KOFMA website.

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