Sakari Mannisto’s Birch Festival brings live music, circus and magic to St Mary’s Secret Garden

St Mary's Secret Garden, Hoxton.

St Mary's Secret Garden, Hoxton. - Credit: Archant

A free festival of live music, circus and magic takes place in St Mary’s Secret Garden today.

Circus artist Sakari Mannisto is bringing Birch Festival to the community garden in Pearson Street, Hoxton from 2.30pm to 7.30pm.

He was inspired to start a festival in the UK where he now lives, thanks to the memory of performers coming to his school in a small village in Finland.

"There were only 100 kids in the school, but performing groups would often come in and perform," he said. "I'm not sure who paid for these artists to come into such a rural place, but we were exposed to some great, sometimes quite bonkers shows - from Russia there was traditional dance, someone playing a saw and circus.

"One called Gommi and Pommi was basically grown men in animal suits singing songs with an accordion and a banjo. It was amazing, and I was inspired by all these wild acts. I feel that there is a tacit need for performing arts, and I think it is a healthy thing for people to gather around."

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