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Photograph: Underbelly Festival

Underbelly is putting on socially distanced street-food festivals now

All in picturesque, free-to-enter, open-air settings

Alexandra Sims

In the Before Times, Underbelly Festival was the place to go for the four Cs: cabaret, circus, comedy and children’s theatre. But these are not normal times. This year, Underbelly, whose big tent was a familiar summer fixture on the South Bank, is now pivoting away from its usual offerings and focusing instead on street food, with a new series of outdoor food and drink pop-ups across London this summer. 

Underbelly always had a small selection of food and drink stalls as part of its South Bank set-up, but now independent local food is taking centre stage. Its new StreetEat markets promise to bring together some of London’s top independent traders and bars in picturesque, free-to-enter, open-air settings.

The first site to launch will be on the South Bank near Gabriel’s Wharf on Friday July 24, shortly followed by StreetEat Wimbledon Park on Friday July 31. Further venues are set to be announced throughout the summer. 

Food traders already signed up include Lukumade Doughnut Tales, dishing up hot crispy Greek fried fodder, Kurbside Kitchen, with its gourmet hot dogs, and The London Grilled Fish Company, selling sumptuous seafood-filled baps. Simply Falafel, Smoketeers, Katsutopia, Coco Labelle and Hola Guacamole will also be making an appearance. 

Keeping in touch with Underbelly’s roots, the StreetEat sites will host free live performances from musicians, DJs, cabaret stars and singers who are all local to the site. Plus, rest assured you’ll be in a safe environment with socially distanced seating pods and strict physical-distancing and hygiene measures promised. 

It’ll certainly be a different experience to the Underbelly festivals of yore, but we’re all for creative ingenuity and a chance to support local businesses and performers in these uncertain times.  

StreetEat on the South Bank, next to Gabriel’s Wharf, runs from Fri Jul 24-Oct 10. StreetEat Wimbledon Park runs from Jul 31-Aug 23. Further sites will be announced in the coming weeks. All are free to enter.  

In more good news for the summer: Seven Dials is being pedestrianised from next month

Here’s exactly what’s reopened now in London.


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