Tooting bangs the drum as two year arts project gets underway

Published: Wednesday 15th July 15

World renowned street performers took over Tooting yesterday as a two year arts initiative was officially launched in the heart of the town centre.

Ben Walsh and his Wheel of Drums boom out from above Tooting Broadway Tube Station

Australian percussion star Ben Walsh brought shoppers to a stand still by playing his spectacular Wheel of Drums – created from recycled material – on the roof of Tooting Broadway Tube Station.

His sensational performance was followed up at street level by Brazilian musician and master percussionist, Adriano Adewale.


The event marks the beginning of an exciting two years arts project titled The Streets. The ambitious programme brings live music and performance to six London high streets, including Tooting.  The idea is to animate local streets, giving residents and visitors the chance to see and take part in something new and spectacular.

The programme is being run by music and event producer, Serious, in partnership with a consortium of boroughs – Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Croydon, Wandsworth, Richmond and Kingston-upon-Thames.

Wandsworth Mayor Cllr Nicola Nardelli was in Tooting to  celebrate the launch. She said: “Tooting is a truly unique and exceptional place with so much life, vibrancy and culture. This project will shine a spotlight on the town centre and help us attract the new investment and growth every high street needs to stay healthy.

“Here in Wandsworth we understand the vital role arts and culture play in our communities, and in particular in our bustling town centres. The arts support regeneration, they create jobs and they are critical to maintaining the  strong local economies we strive for. 

Mayor Nicola Nardelli at the launch

“The timing of this event is extremely good for Tooting.  The buzz of regeneration is in the air and The Streets programme has been specifically designed to showcase the very best of the town centre, its investment potential and the opportunities to make lasting improvements. I think people are going to love it!”

The project is funded by Arts Council’s Strategic Touring Fund with the core aims of reigniting high streets and linking cultural activity and commercial priorities.  

The programme will be back in Tooting in the autumn, becoming part of Festival on the Move in the EFG London Jazz Festival and surprising local residents with unexpected performances. 

Next year The Streets will continue with an explosive Summer Festival and will partner once again with the EFG London Jazz Festival in late 2016.

Stay up to date with the programme at




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Recent comments

I'm sure the street musicians at Tooting Broadway were most enjoyable. If I and others had been aware that this event had been planned we would also have had an opportunity to enjoy the occasion. Perhaps next time we could be notified before the event rather than afterwards.
Lorcan Farrelly

17 July 2015